The basic refrigerator hasn’t changed very much in the last fifty years. It’s still essentially a cabinet with a lot of pipes and hoses in the walls, most of which are full of toxic chemicals that aren’t great for the environment. Scientists, however, have found a new way to keep your yogurt cold, using magnets.
It’s actually a well-known effect in the scientific community: If you run a ferrofluid (tiny magnetic particles suspended in a liquid) by a magnet, and then pull it away, the ferrofluid cools. This is thanks to its motion being slowed down. It’s called the magnetocaloric effect, but while it’s pretty neat from a physics perspective, it’s also fairly inefficient as these things go, since you’ve got to keep yanking the ferrofluid in and out of the field. That’s where a new material comes in.
Well, “new” is probably the wrong word: HoMn2O5 has been around for a while and is a ferrofluid well known for its oddball insulating properties. The researchers were just looking to see how it handled the magnetocaloric effect… and discovered that by rotating a crystal of it in a magnetic field, they got it. They don’t even need to take it out of the field, and can just run water by the resulting cold to cool a fridge.
There’s still a lot of work to do; they need to work out how to miniaturize the system and spread the cooling effect as efficiently as possible. But it’s a fascinating idea, and more important, it cuts out the toxic chemicals your fridge needs to be recharged with. It also ensures you can keep your fridge around for longer, as magnets don’t need to be replaced and take a much longer time to wear out. Keep an eye out for this green tech soon.
Also why not check out:
- Best French Door Refrigerator
- Best Refrigerator Brands
- Bio Gel Fridge Gets Built…Sort Of
- Canadians Can Only Open Molson Sochi Beer Fridge (video)
- French Door Refrigerator Vs Side-By-Side
- Fridge Locker Prevents Unwanted Fingers From Slipping Into Your Stash Of Cold Goodies
- Gadget of the Week: Sub-zero PRO 48 Refrigerator with Glass Door
- Gorenje iPod Fridge
- How to Clean Stainless Steel Refrigerator
- Keurig and GE Create Refrigerator with Built-In Coffeemaker
- LG Double Door-In-Door Fridge
- Marshall Fridge
- Medicine Cabinet Refrigerator
- Photoshop Fridge Magnets
- Samsung Family Hub Smart Fridge is Affordable…But Will It Sell?
- Samsung’s RFG299 Fridge Sports French Doors & A 7-inch LCD
- Smart R2-D2 Refrigerator Delivers Beverages Right To You
- SodaStream Partners with Samsung for Carbonated Beverage Refrigerator Integration
- The Han Solo Fridge Will Put Your Drinks In Carbonite
- The Solar-Powered, Portable Anywhere-Fridge Nixes The Need For Ice (video)
- The Ultimate Bar Fridge
- What is a Counter-Depth Refrigerator?
- What is a Standard Fridge Size?
- What Should Your Refrigerator Temperature Be?