Magnetic Refrigeration

Magnetic Refrigeration

        Magnetic refrigeration is a cooling technology based on the magnetocaloric effect. This technique can be used to attain extremely low temperatures (well below 1 kelvin), as well as the ranges used in common refrigerators, depending on the design of the system.

The effect was discovered in pure iron in 1881 by E. Warburg. Originally, the cooling effect varied between 0.5 to 2 K/T.
Major advances first appeared in the late 1920s when cooling via adiabatic demagnetization was independently proposed by two scientists: Debye (1926) and Giauque (1927).
The process was demonstrated a few years later when Giauque and MacDougall in 1933 used it to reach a temperature of 0.25 K. Between 1933 and 1997, a number of advances in utilization of the MCE for cooling occurred.
This cooling technology was first demonstrated experimentally by chemist Nobel Laureate William F. Giauque and his colleague Dr. D.P. MacDougall in 1933 for cryogenic purposes (they reached 0.25 K)
Between 1933 and 1997, a number of advances occurred which have been described in some reviews.
In 1997, the first near room temperature proof of concept magnetic refrigerator was demonstrated by Prof. Karl A. Gschneidner, Jr. by the Iowa State University at Ames Laboratory. This event attracted interest from scientists and companies worldwide who started developing new kinds of room temperature materials and magnetic refrigerator designs.
Refrigerators based on the magnetocaloric effect have been demonstrated in laboratories, using magnetic fields starting at 0.6 T up to 10 teslas. Magnetic fields above 2 T are difficult to produce with permanent magnets and are produced by a superconducting magnet (1 tesla is about 20,000 times the Earth's magnetic field).


The Magneto caloric effect (MCE, from magnet and calorie) is a magneto-thermodynamic phenomenon in which a reversible change in temperature of a suitable material is caused by exposing the material to a changing magnetic field. This is also known as adiabatic demagnetization by low temperature physicists, due to the application of the process specifically to effect a temperature drop. In that part of the overall refrigeration process, a decrease in the strength of an externally applied magnetic field allows the magnetic domains of a chosen (magnetocaloric) material to become disoriented from the magnetic field by the agitating action of the thermal energy (phonons) present in the material. If the material is isolated so that no energy is allowed to (e)migrate into the material during this time (i.e. an adiabatic process), the temperature drops as the domains absorb the thermal energy to perform their reorientation. The randomization of the domains occurs in a similar fashion to the randomization at the curie temperature, except that magnetic dipoles overcome a decreasing external magnetic field while energy remains constant, instead of magnetic domains being disrupted from internal ferromagnetism as energy is added.
One of the most notable examples of the magnetocaloric effect is in the chemical element gadolinium and some of its alloys. Gadolinium's temperature is observed to increase when it enters certain magnetic fields. When it leaves the magnetic field, the temperature returns to normal.The effect is considerably stronger for the gadolinium alloy Gd5(Si2Ge2). Praseodymium alloyed with nickel (PrNi5) has such a strong magnetocaloric effect that it has allowed scientists to approach within one thousandth of a degree of absolute zero.

       To develop more efficient and cost effective small scale H2 liquefiers as an alternative to vapor-compression cycles using magnetic refrigeration.

                   With the help of magnetic refrigeration our objective is to solve the problem of hydrogen storage as it ignites on a very low temperature. Hydrogen Research Institute (HRI) is studying it with the help of magnetic refrigeration. We provide the cooling for the hydrogen storage by liquefying it.

                    The hydrogen can be liquefied at a low temperature and the low temperature is achieved with the help of magnetic refrigeration.

                    Thus, the magnetic refrigeration also provides a method to store hydrogen by liquefying it. The term used for such a device is magnetic liquefier.

1.         Magnets
2.         Hot Heat exchanger
3.         Cold Heat Exchanger
4.         Drive
5.         Magneto caloric wheel
1.      Magnets : - Magnets are the main functioning element of the magnetic refrigeration. Magnets provide the magnetic field to the material so that they can loose or gain the heat to the surrounding and from the space to be cooled respectively.

2.      Hot Heat Exchanger : - The hot heat exchanger absorbs the heat from the material used and gives off to the surrounding. It makes the transfer of heat much effective.

3.     Cold Heat Exchanger :-The cold heat exchanger absorbs the heat from the space to be cooled and gives it to the magnetic material. It helps to make the absorption of heat effective.

4.      Drive : - Drive provides the right rotation to the heat to rightly handle it. Due to this heat flows in the right desired direction.

5.      Magneto caloric Wheel : - It forms the structure of the whole device. It joins both the two magnets to work properly.

The magnetic refrigeration is mainly based on magneto caloric effect according to which some materials change in temperature when they are magnetized and demagnetized.

Near the phase transition of the magnetic materials, the adiabatic application of a magnetic field reduces the magnetic entropy by ordering the magnetic moments. This results in a temperature increase of the magnetic material. This phenomenon is practically reversible for some magnetic materials; thus, adiabatic removal of the field reverts the magnetic entropy to its original state and cools the material accordingly. This reversibility combined with the ability to create devices with inherent work recovery, makes magnetic refrigeration a potentially more efficient process than gas compression and expansion. The efficiency of magnetic refrigeration can be as much as 50% greater than for conventional refrigerators.
     The process is performed as a refrigeration cycle, analogous to the Carnot cycle, and can be described at a starting point whereby the chosen working substance is introduced into a magnetic field (i.e. the magnetic flux density is increased). The working material is the refrigerant, and starts in thermal equilibrium with the refrigerated environment.

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