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Magnetic Refrigerator

Magnetic Refrigerator

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Published by hayat umar bhat
seminar material
seminar material

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Published by: hayat umar bhat on Nov 29, 2009
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09/02/2010

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Magnetic Refrigeration
Magnetic refrigeration is a method of refrigeration based on the magnetocaloric effect.This effect, discovered in 1881, is defined as the response of a solid to an applied magnetic fieldwhich is apparent as a change in its temperature.
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This effect is obeyed by all transition metalsand lanthanide-series elements. When a magnetic field is applied, these metals, known asferromagnets, tend to heat up. As heat is applied, the magnetic moments align. When the field isremoved, the ferromagnet cools down as the magnetic moments become randomly oriented.Gadolinium, a rare-earth metal, exhibits one of the largest known magnetocaloric effects. It wasused as the refrigerant for many of the early magnetic refrigeration designs. The problem withusing pure gadolinium as the refrigerant material is that it does not exhibit a strongmagnetocaloric effect at room temperature. More recently, however, it has been discovered thatarc-melted alloys of gadolinium, silicon, and germanium are more efficient at roomtemperature.
2
Using the magnetocaloric effect for refrigeration purposes was first investigated in themid-1920’s but is just now nearing a point where it could be useful on a commercial scale.
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Themain difference associated with this process is that it is void of a compressor. The compressor isthe most inefficient and expensive part of the conventional gas compression system. In place of the compressor are small beds containing the magnetocaloric material, a small pump to circulatethe heat transfer fluid, and a drive shaft to move the beds in and out of the magnetic field. Theheat transfer fluid used in this process is water mixed with ethanol instead of the traditionalrefrigerants that pose threats to the environment.A majority of the successful magnetic refrigeration research done to this point wascompleted by the Ames Laboratory at the University of Iowa and by the Astronautics
 
2Corporation of America in Madison, Wisconsin. Karl Gschneidner and Vitalij Pecharsky of theAmes Laboratory and Carl Zimm of the Astronautics Corporation have led this research. Theteam has developed a working system that uses two beds containing spherical powder of Gadolinium with water being used as the heat transfer fluid. The magnetic field for this systemis 5 Tesla, providing a temperature span of 38 K. The maximum values obtained from this unitinclude a cooling power of 600 Watts, Coefficients of Performance near 15, and efficiency of approximately 60% of Carnot efficiency.
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Due to the high magnetic field, however, this systemis not applicable for use at home.The ultimate goal of this technology would be to develop a standard refrigerator for homeuse. The use of magnetic refrigeration has the potential to reduce operating cost andmaintenance cost when compared to the conventional method of compressor-based refrigeration.By eliminating the high capital cost of the compressor and the high cost of electricity to operatethe compressor, magnetic refrigeration can efficiently and economically replace compressor-based refrigeration. The major advantages to the magnetic refrigeration technology overcompressor-based refrigeration are the design technology, environmental impact, and operatingcost savings.The process flow diagram for the magnetic refrigeration system is shown in Figure 1. Amixture of water and ethanol serves as the heat transfer fluid for the system. The fluid firstpasses through the hot heat exchanger, which uses air to transfer heat to the atmosphere. Thefluid then passes through the copper plates attached to the non-magnetized cooler magnetocaloricbeds and loses heat. A fan blows air past this cold fluid into the freezer to keep the freezertemperature at approximately 0
°
F. The heat transfer fluid then gets heated up to 80
°
F as itpasses through the copper plates adjoined by the magnetized warmer magnetocaloric beds, where
 
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