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May 03, 2019 Friday 03:11:49 PM IST

Green refrigeration material

Science Innovations

Researchers from the UK and Spain have identified an eco-friendly solid that could replace the inefficient and polluting gases used in most refrigerators and air conditioners. When put under pressure, plastic crystals of neopentylglycol (NPG) yield huge cooling effects - enough that they are competitive with conventional coolants. NPG is widely used in the synthesis of paints, polyesters, plasticisers and lubricants. NPG's molecules, composed of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen, are nearly spherical and interact with each other only weakly. Due to the nature of their chemical bonds, organic materials are easier to compress. In addition, the material is inexpensive, widely available and functions at close to room temperature. Details are published in the journal Nature Communications. The gases currently used in the vast majority of refrigerators and air conditioners - hydrofluorocarbons and hydrocarbons (HFCs and HCs) - are toxic and flammable. When they leak into the air, they also contribute to global warming. 

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