Compressor-free Refrigerator

Posted on August 11, 2008  Comments (1)

Compressor-free refrigerator may loom in the future

Refrigerators and other cooling devices may one day lose their compressors and coils of piping and become solid state, according to Penn State researchers who are investigating electrically induced heat effects of some ferroelectric polymers.

“This is the first step in the development of an electric field refrigeration unit,” says Qiming Zhang, distinguished professor of electrical engineering. “For the future, we can envision a flat panel refrigerator. No more coils, no more compressors, just solid polymer with appropriate heat exchangers.”

Zhang’s approach uses the change form disorganized to organized that occurs in some polarpolymers when placed in an electric field. The natural state of these materials is disorganized with the various molecules randomly positioned. When electricity is applied, the molecules become highly ordered and the material gives off heat and becomes colder. When the electricity is turned off, the material reverts to its disordered state and absorbs heat.

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One Response to “Compressor-free Refrigerator”

  1. Curious Cat Engineering Blog: Student Invents Solar-Powered Fridge
    January 29th, 2009 @ 8:23 am

    “Employing a combination of conduction and convection, the refrigerator requires no electricity and can be made from commonly available materials like cardboard, sand, and recycled metal…”

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