In a new study, researchers have developed an eco-friendly solid that could be used in most refrigerators and air conditioners.
The new green material can replace inefficient and polluting gases currently used.
The study was conducted by researchers from the UK and Spain.
Currently, the gases used in most refrigerators and air conditioners are toxic and flammable. They also contribute to global warming when they leak into the air.
Previous research has shown that refrigerators and air conditioners based on the gases are also inefficient.
In the study, the researchers reported the enormous thermal changes under pressure achieved with plastic crystals.
The word “plastic” in “plastic crystals” refers not to its chemical composition but rather to its malleability. Plastic crystals lie at the boundary between solids and liquids.
The researchers showed that when put under pressure, plastic crystals of neopentylglycol yield huge cooling effects.
In addition, the green material is inexpensive, widely available and functions at close to room temperature.
The team suggests that the discovery of the plastic crystal could bring barocaloric materials to the forefront of research.
It may help develop safe and environment-friendly cooling without decreasing performance.
The team now is working with Cambridge Enterprise to bring this technology to market.
The leader of the study is Dr. Xavier Moya, from the University of Cambridge.
The study is published in the journal Nature Communications.
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