LSU Physics Professor Shane Stadler and colleagues discovered a breakthrough material that may change the heating and cooling industry. A Louisiana company called Magnetic Cool LLC licensed this material and is developing a prototype that could provide more efficient and environmentally friendly refrigeration and air conditioning systems. Stadler’s invention eliminates the use of harmful fluorocarbons and can reduce energy usage by 20 to 50 percent in residential and commercial heating and cooling systems.
Stadler discovered a material whose temperature will increase through application of a magnetic field, a property described as a magnetocaloric effect. The excess heat is removed through a thermal medium such as water or air, which brings the material back to ambient temperature. For cooling, the magnetic field is removed, and its temperature drops below ambient temperature. Throughout the process, the material remains in a solid state, which is significantly more energy efficient than the conventional, compressed gas systems currently on the market today.
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