LSU Physicist Discovers New Magnetocaloric Material

Bryan Kilgore for Zondits. Image credit: geralt

State of the art, patent-pending research into magnetocaloric materials may provide a breakthrough in refrigeration technology that is efficient and environmentally friendly. Led by Louisiana State University (LSU) physics Professor Shane Stadler, a team of researchers is conducting the efforts to bring this technology to market. A magnetocaloric material will heat up in the presence of an external magnetic field, which magnetically aligns the material. When the magnetic field is removed, the material returns to the equilibrium state and cools down. This technology could eventually replace traditional compressed gas refrigeration systems with a solid state system.

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The New Cool: LSU Physicist Discovers New Material Set to Change Cooling Industry

LSU Media Center, March 23, 2015

Refrigeration and air conditioning may become more efficient and environmentally friendly thanks to the patent-pending work of LSU physicists. The team of researchers led by LSU Physics Professor Shane Stadler has discovered a breakthrough magnetocaloric material that may change the energy industry, including air conditioning and food refrigeration.

Stadler’s research focuses on the next generation of magnetic cooling technologies, which are simpler in design, quieter and more environmentally friendly than conventional compressed-gas systems currently used.

In this new technology, a magnetic field magnetically orders the material at ambient temperature, which raises its temperature above ambient. The excess heat is removed through a thermal medium, such as water or air, bringing the material back to ambient temperature. The magnetic field is then removed, the material becomes magnetically disordered and its temperature drops below ambient temperature leading to a cooling effect. This “solid state” cooling process is significantly more energy efficient than the conventional, compressed gas systems currently on the market today.

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