Things are cooling off between the US and China — but this time, it’s a good thing!
An international team led by Chinese and American researchers developed a new refrigeration method that can substantially increase the efficiency of freezing while lowering costs, CGTN.com reported.
The study published on Thursday in the journal Science described the new method that is based on twisting and untwisting fibers, which is better than that of traditional air compressors.
The “twist fridge” works due to the fact that twisting rubber fibers and then release the twist resulted in surface temperature cooling, according to the study.
Researchers from China’s Nankai University and the University of Texas at Dallas stretched rubber fibers, then twisted them until they supercoiled, the report said.
Releasing both the twist and the stretch produced the cooling of 16.4 degrees Celsius at certain point, according to the study.
The cooling caused by untwisting worked for fishing line as well. They found that stretching the coiled fiber caused heating, while stretch release produced a maximum surface cooling of 5.1 degrees Celsius.
The heat engine efficiency of conventional refrigerators is less than 60% while the new method efficiency could achieve 67%, said Liu Zunfeng, the paper’s co-corresponding author and a professor with Nankai University.
The refrigeration and air conditioning consume about 20% of global electrical energy, according to the International Institute of Refrigeration. They also release gases that significantly contribute to global warming.
This alternative cooling technologies could in the future increase refrigeration efficiency, lower costs and reduce size, according to Liu.