One phone call to AIRzona Heating & Cooling Solutions. That is all you need to ensure that your home is warm during the months of winter. And that is all you need to keep your home comfortable during the months of summer when temperatures along the Colorado River soar.
But what does the future hold for air conditioning? For more than a century the basic principles of home air conditioning have not changed. A traditional air conditioner works by changing a liquid refrigerant to a gas, which absorbs heat from the outside air in the process. The gas is then compressed which induces cooling, and a conversion back to a liquid takes place.
But new technologies, new concepts, and new ideas have the potential to transform air conditioning as we know it. One of the more intriguing new ides is magnetic air conditioners.
The concept is based on the magnetocaloric effect first observed in iron samples by a German physicist named Emil Warburg in 1881. He noted that magnetic materials heat up when exposed to a magnetic field. And when the field is removed the materials cool. This phenomenon is known as the magnetocaloric effect. It was noted, however, that the change in temperature was minimal. It was to small for any practical application.
But recent discoveries have led to the development of magnetocaloric metal alloys. These alloys produce a significantly higher magnetocaloric effect at room temperature.
While this may seem quite futuristic experimentation is moving the idea closer to reality. A prototype designed by Astronautics Corporation of America in conjunction with the U.S. DOE’s Ames Laboratory in Ames, Iowa, uses a wheel containing the rare-Earth element gadolinium. This wheel spins through the field of stationary magnets. As the disk spins, the gadolinium alloy heats up. It cools as it passes through a gap in the field which in turn cools the water that surrounds it.
The National Laboratory for Sustainable Energy at the Technical University of Denmark is also developing a “MagCool” project. Additional research is ongoing at Penn State and other universities. These prototypes and research projects have dramatically advanced the understanding of magnetocaloric principles.
Recently BASF and Delta Electronics announced a corporate partnership to develop magnetocaloric cooling systems. In addition there is ongoing research pertaining to the use of magnetocaloric systems for power generation. While the future may be nearer than we think, systems such as this at a cost feasible price are still some years away.
What ever the future of air conditioning is, you can be assured that the professionals at AIRzona Heating & Cooling Solutions will be ready to install and maintain your climate control systems. For more than 15 years this company has provided professional service to residents and business owners along the upper Colorado River. And he president of the company, Jeff Wilson, has worked in the HVAC field for more than 18 years.
Written by Jim Hinckley of Jim Hinckley’s America