A team of researchers from the University of Cambridge in England and the Catalunya University of Technology in Spain have found that Neopentyl Glycol’s plastic crystals have excellent properties as refrigerants.
Until now, the refrigerant has been a gas, but the new material is solid, making it difficult to release in the air, and even cheap and environmentally friendly. Freon gas, which has been used as a refrigerator or an air conditioner, destroys the ozone layer, and now uses hydrogen fluoride (HFC) gas, which is an alternative Freon, as a refrigerant. However, alternative Freon has also been required to develop new materials that will become refrigerants because of the destruction of the environment with its powerful greenhouse gas.
Professor Xavier Moya of Cambridge University and Dr. Josep Lluís Tamarit of Catalunya University focused on fluidity determination as a new material to replace gas refrigerants. A weakly viscous crystal is a liquid and a solid in the middle because the constituent molecules are constantly lined up like solids, while the molecules are oriented in different directions like liquids. Liquid crystals are similar to liquid crystals, but contrast to soft viscous crystals, molecules are oriented like liquids, while molecular orientations are solid.
Moya measured the temperature change by applying pressure to neopentyl glycol oily crystals of 100 micrometer powder. It was said that it showed a temperature change comparable to the gas refrigerant used in the past. The gas refrigerant compresses and expands by decompression under pressure, and it is cooled by the property of endothermic and exothermic. However, the temperature changes by a different principle. Milky crystals are cooled using a barocaloric effect that applies pressure and brings about a rapid thermal change that has a grain direction that makes up the crystal and causes phase transformation. It is also possible to generate the same effect by electricity and magnetism as well as pressure.
Neopentyl glycol is widely used for paint and lubricant synthesis and has a high safety and a low environmental load. It is also solid rather than gas, so it is relatively easy to collect and manage. There is no worry about destroying the ozone layer and causing greenhouse effect. Dr. Moya says in the paper, one fifth of the world’s energy produced is used for cooling, such as cooling or freezing, but pointed out that the efficiency of air conditioners and refrigerators using gas refrigerants is poor. It is expected that environmentally friendly cooling technology will be established when solid coolant is spread. It is said that it aims to commercialize new technology in cooperation with Cambridge University’s commercialization department. For more information, please click here .