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The use of solid-state refrigerators to cool appliances and electronic devices is a possible technological application for a theoretical study conducted at the University of Campinas (UNICAMP) in São Paulo State, Brazil.
Although this application is not considered in the study, which was based on computer simulations, such applications are on the horizon and could be an efficient and environmentally friendly alternative to vapor-compression refrigerators, which currently dominate the market and contribute to ozone depletion and global warming.
Study - Alexandre - Fonseca - Participation - Student
The study, led by Alexandre Fonseca with participation by his former student Tiago Cantuário, was part of the project "Carbon nanostructures: modeling and simulations," supported by São Paulo Research Foundation—FAPESP. The results are published in an article in the journal Annalen der Physik.
"Solid-state cooling is a young field of research with promising results. The method we investigated is based on the so-called elastocaloric effect (ECE), which makes use of temperature variations in a system in response to mechanical stress. We performed computer simulations of this effect in carbon nanotubes," Fonseca said.
Macroscopic - World - Effect - Rubber - Band
In the macroscopic world, an analogous effect is observed when a rubber band warms up as it is rapidly stretched and cools down again as it is released. The effect occurs if the deformation is applied to the material so that there is no heat transfer into or out of the system, i.e., when the process is adiabatic.
"We began our research on the basis of an article entitled 'Elastocaloric effect in carbon nanotubes and graphene', published in 2016 by Sergey Lisenkov and collaborators. It described a computer simulation study showing that when a small deformation was applied to carbon nanotubes, corresponding to up to 3% of their initial length, they responded with a temperature variation of up to 30 °C," Fonseca said.
Contrast - Lisenkov - Research - Strain - Force
"In contrast with Lisenkov's research, which simulated only simple strain and compressive force...
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