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Denmark's Risø Developing Magnetic Refrigeration Prototype
Jun 2, 2006
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Researchers in Denmark are attempting to develop the technology for a silent refrigerator with revolutionary energy efficiency levels and more environmentally friendly materials use. The Risø National Laboratory in Roskilde is trying to find ways to make refrigeration practical using ferrite- and manganite-containing magnetic ceramic materials.

Researchers are exploiting the magnetocaloric properties of the ceramics, which cause a temperature change when an external magnetic field is applied. Using such materials would also provide price, robustness and corrosion-resistance advantages, according to the research center.

Risø explains how magnetocaloric material might be used as the active element in refrigeration:

  • A magnetic field is applied to the magnetocaloric material, causing the temperature of the material to rise.
  • The material cools by surrendering heat to a heat exchanger.
  • The magnetic field is removed and the temperature of the material drops further.
  • The material takes up heat from the cold-side heat exchanger - that is, the inside of the refrigerator – and cools it.
  • The cycle repeats.

    Risø is now developing a prototype magnetic refrigeration apparatus.

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