Add to favorite
Subscribe to our Newsletters Subscribe to our Newsletters Get Daily Updates RSS

Freon Free Refrigerator to Store your Food
February 27, 2007 19:30

Russian scientists have come out with a semiconducting material with thermal conductivity two times lower than any known analogue has. The material is a successful intermediate on the way to thermoelectric refrigeration, in other words, to safe noiseless refrigerators, which require no cooling agents.

These unique substances consist of geometrically adjusted cells, which contain single atoms or ions, having no strong covalent binding with neighbouring atoms. Not long ago clathrates (the word “ clathrate” origins from Latin “clatratus” meaning “protected with lattice”) were exotic even for expert chemists, but now scientists don’t use quotation marks while describing said compounds and consider clathrates to be highly promising thermoelectric materials. Scientists from Moscow State University have successfully developed semiconducting clathrates with anomalously low thermal conductivity (0.45 W/mK), which is 2.5 times lower than any known commercial material has.

If you imagine a simplest device, consisting of two connected semiconductors of n- and p-type, says the head of the project professor Shevelkov, you know that when electric current passes from n-semiconductor to p-semiconductor, charge carriers – electrons (n) or holes (p) – move away from operating contact and carry heat with them. Therefore, operating contact, which is also known as “active element”, cools down. A pile of such simple devices can provide cooling for about 150 degrees Centigrade.

To produce such devices, scientists need appropriate materials with seemingly contradicting properties – they should have high electrical conductivity and low thermal conductivity. Existing materials are not sufficiently effective – their characteristics allow making cooling devices for laser and electronic equipment and cool boxes. In order to compete with ordinary refrigerator compressors thermoelectric materials should be at least twice as effective as they are now. Semiconducting clathrates are one of possible solutions.


Simple description of suggested technique is that heat and electricity carriers in such units are separated in space: clathrate frame has electrical conductivity for moving charge carrriers and atoms, located in vesicles, dissipate heat with their fluctuations, thus providing low thermal conductivity for a material.

This type of materials – clathrates with tin and phosphorus atoms as a frame and iodine, chlorine and tellurium atoms sitting in vesicles – scientists from Moscow are currently studying. The work is a hard one – synthesizing clathrates with given composition and proving that all atoms are located strictly on their places is a difficult task. Gaining required properties, high thermoelectric figure of merit, for instance, is even more difficult. However, scientists announced first successful experiments on developing semiconducting materials with anomalously low thermal conductivity.

Current research of the think-tank is focused on several directions – development of materials, able to maintain their properties under extremely low temperatures (less than 160 K) for future development of thermoelectric cooling units for superconducting materials among them. And we should not forget about developing materials, which could be used in industrial cold-storage plants and household refrigerators of new generation. Mentioned refrigerators have one great advantage – they do not contain moving particles and hazardous cooling chemical agents – freons, thus being immensely safe and environmentally friendly.

    Russian Science News

Kizilova Anna

Tags: Russian Scientists     

Next Previous

You might also find interesting:

Space Oddity: Chris Hadfield Safely Lands to Millions of YouTube Views Diamonds Dismissed Nobel-Prize Winning Graphene Enters Top 10 Russian Innovations Morning Star Loses Its Mysterious Cover Clean as Lotus

Comment on our site

RSS   twitter      submit

Russian businessmen  Russian business  Dumplings  White Nights Festival  Cultural Center ZIL  Arkhangelsk region  Sergey Nikitin  Russian economy  Russian tourism  Latvia  Moscow Circus   Russian Antiquity  Museum  Modern Art  Russian hotels  Sheremetyevo  Russian fashio  Murom  Spartak Moscow  Sakhalin Region  Russian Arts and Crafts  Komi Republic  birth rate  Wassily Kandinsky  health  Events in Suzdal  Exhibitions in Moscow  Konstantin Kedrov  Leningrad Region  Ryazan  Russian Film Distribution  Russian scientists  Russian science  International Platonov's Arts Festival  Russian retirees  APEC  Russian artists  Fairs in Moscow  Orthodoxy  Alexey Friedman  Football  Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Russia  Chelyabinsk  Russian Cinema  Kemerovo Region  Baikal  Russian Literature  Jonathan Meese  Moscow  St. Petersburg 

Travel Blogs
Top Traveling Sites