Strange Science: Magnetic Refrigeration

Open refrigerator

Modern refrigerators use coolants that can be environmentally unfriendly and hazardous to human and animal life. But German scientists are working on ways to keep food and other things cold through the use of magnetism rather than coolants.

These scientists are exploring possibilities based on the magnetic memory of various alloys. Some metals can become more or less magnetic when they are heated or cooled, all depending upon the specific alloy.

This is not to say that magnetic refrigeration doesn’t have its fair share of problems as well. The alloys needed are expensive and sometimes rare, including neodymium, also known as a “rare earth” magnet, which has the additional issue of being environmentally unfriendly to mine. However, over time, the scientists may find solutions to these problems.

You can read more about what they are doing here.

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