Torsional refrigeration by twisted, coiled, and supercoiled fibers

Journal: Science

Published: 2019-10-11

DOI: 10.1126/science.aax6182

Affiliations: 15

Authors: 30

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Research Highlight

Eco-friendly fridges do the twist

© Mint Images/Getty

© Mint Images/Getty

Twisted wires could provide a more efficient and environmentally friendly way to cool refrigerators.

Air conditioners and fridges are ubiquitous, but keeping things cool currently relies on harmful greenhouse gases and a lot of electricity.

A team that included researchers from Nankai University investigated the cooling effect of releasing twisted and coiled strands of stretchy materials such as rubber and fishing line. They found that rapid release of twisted rubber caused up to 15.5 degrees Celsius of cooling, and that by coiling fishing line in the opposite direction to the twists, the material cooled when stretched.

The team built a prototype ‘twist fridge’ using a twisted nickel–titanium strand inserted through a plastic tube with water flowing through. Releasing the twist just once cooled the water by nearly 5 degrees Celsius.

The researchers calculated that nickel–titanium twist fridges could be up to 10% more energy efficient than conventional fridges.

Supported content

  1. Science 366, 216–221 (2019). doi: 10.1126/science.aax6182
Institutions Share
The University of Texas at Dallas (UT Dallas), United States of America (USA) 0.33
State Key Laboratory of Medicinal Chemical Biology (SKLMCB), NKU, China 0.12
Nankai University (NKU), China 0.12
MOE Key Laboratory of Functional Polymer Materials, NKU, China 0.12
State University of Campinas (UNICAMP), Brazil 0.07
Tsinghua University, China 0.03
Taiyuan University of Technology (TYUT), China 0.03
Lintec of America, Inc., United States of America (USA) 0.03
University of Science and Technology Liaoning (USTL), China 0.03
China Pharmaceutical University (CPU), China 0.03
Wuhan University (WHU), China 0.02
Tsinghua-Berkeley Shenzhen Institute (TBSI), China 0.02
Georgia Southern University, United States of America (USA) 0.02
MilliporeSigma, United States of America (USA) 0.02