Scientists Discover New Energy Efficient Cooling Method

Monday, April 22, 2019 - 12:51

Physicists of University of Zurich have created a device which can cool down a hot object without consuming energy.

Theoretically, researchers of University of Zurich claimed that the simple device can turn boiling water into ice without the use of an external power supply, Techtimes reports. Moreover, the researchers said the process that enables cooling without energy consumption does not contradict the fundamental laws of physics.

The second law of thermodynamics states that heat can move from a warmer object to a cooler object, not the other way around. For example, a teapot full of boiling water placed on a kitchen table will gradually cool down, but it will not be any colder than the temperature of the kitchen table.

However, in their experiment, the researchers were able to cool down a piece of copper, which was heated to 100 degrees Celsius, to below room temperature. They did not use any external power to achieve this.

Instead, the team employed the Peltier element that has components that are able to transform electrical currents into differences in temperature, creating a heat current that flows from hot to cold and vice versa.

The team reported that the process cooled down the nine-gram piece of copper that was heated to a hundred degrees Celsius to 2 degrees Celsius below the room temperature.

"With this very simple technology, large amounts of hot solid, liquid or gaseous materials could be cooled to well below room temperature without any energy consumption," said Professor Andreas Schilling from the University of Zurich.

The researchers admitted that large-scale application is still not possible since the ideal Peltier element does not exist. Instead, the team believes that their study is a proof-of-principle that challenges the traditional understanding of how heat flows.

The researchers described their experiment in a paper published by Science Advances.


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