Energy News  





. Tiny High-Frequency Cryocooler Is Cold And Efficient

An example of a lightweight, high efficiency cryocooler.
by Staff Writers
Washington DC (SPX) Feb 21, 2007
A new cryogenic refrigerator has been demonstrated at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) that operates at twice the usual frequency, achieving a long-sought combination of small size, rapid cooling, low temperatures and high efficiency. The cryocooler could be used to chill instruments for space and military applications, and is a significant step toward even smaller, higher-frequency versions for integrated circuits and microelectromechanical (MEM) systems.

The new cryocooler, described in the current issue of Applied Physics Letters,* is a "pulse tube" design that uses oscillating helium gas to transport heat, achieving very cold temperatures (223 degrees C or -370 degrees F) in a matter of minutes without any cold moving parts.

With cold components about 70 by 10 millimeters in size, the device operates at 120 cycles per second (hertz), compared to the usual 60 Hz, which enables use of a much smaller oscillator to generate gas flow, as well as faster cool-down. Because changing the size of one component can negatively affect others, the researchers used a NIST-developed computer model to find the optimal combination of frequency, pressure and component geometry.

The new cryocooler is as efficient as the low-frequency version because it uses a higher average pressure and a finer screen mesh in the regenerator-a stainless steel tube packed with screening that provides a large surface area for transfer of heat between the gas and the steel.

This is a key part of the cooling process. The helium gas is pre-cooled by the screen in the regenerator before entering the pulse tube, where the gas is expanded and chilled. The cold gas reverses its direction and carries heat away from the object to be cooled before it enters the regenerator again and picks up stored heat from the screen.

Then it is compressed again for a new cycle. Compared to a prototype NIST mini-cryocooler flown on a space shuttle in 2001, the new version is about the same size but gets much colder.

Pulse tube cryocoolers are more durable than conventional (Stirling) cryocoolers typically used in applications where small size is essential. These applications include cooling infrared sensors in space-based instruments used to measure temperature and composition of the atmosphere and oceans for studies of global warming and weather forecasting, and cooling night-vision sensors for tanks, helicopters, and airplanes.

With continued work, the NIST researchers hope to increase operating frequencies to 1,000 Hz, which could enable development of chip-scale cryocoolers. Many difficult technical challenges need to be overcome to attain frequencies that high while maintaining high efficiency, such as the design of regenerators with pores just 10 micrometers in diameters.

*S. Vanapalli, M. Lewis, Z. Gan, and R. Radebaugh. 120 Hz pulse tube cryocooler for fast cooldown to 50 K. Applied Physics Letters. 90, 072504 (2007)

Community
Email This Article
Comment On This Article

Related Links
National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)
All about the technology of space and more
Powering The World in the 21st Century at Energy-Daily.com
Powering The World in the 21st Century at Energy-Daily.com




Tempur-Pedic Mattress Comparison

Newsletters :: SpaceDaily Express :: SpaceWar Express :: TerraDaily Express :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News
Scientists Convert Heat To Power Using Organic Molecules
Berkeley CA (SPX) Feb 20, 2007
Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, have successfully generated electricity from heat by trapping organic molecules between metal nanoparticles, an achievement that could pave the way toward the development of a new source for energy. The discovery, described in a study published today (Thursday, Feb. 15) in Science Express, an electronic publication of the journal Science, is a milestone in the quest for efficient ways to directly convert heat into electricity.

.
Get Our Free Newsletters Via Email
  



  • Tiny High-Frequency Cryocooler Is Cold And Efficient
  • Scientists Convert Heat To Power Using Organic Molecules
  • Wild Grass Could Hold Key To Clean Fuels Of The Future
  • For US Global Warming Is Now Hot

  • Swedish nuclear reactor shut down
  • Britain Forced To Rethink Nuclear Power Plans
  • Russia Set To Launch First Unit Of NPP In India In 2008
  • Second Romanian Reactor Loaded With Nuclear Fuel

  • Global Assimilation Of Ionospheric Measurements Model Goes Operational
  • Airborne Dust Causes Ripple Effect on Climate Far Away
  • U.S. wood-fired boilers cause concern
  • Climate Change Affecting Outermost Atmosphere Of Earth

  • Malawi Ropes In Army To Save Its Forests
  • Afghan Women Grow Trees To Lift Their Own Lives
  • US Hails Borneo Rainforest Deal
  • Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei Agree To Save "Heart Of Borneo"

  • European Ministers Uphold Hungary's Right To Ban GMO Crop
  • Ban Subsidies To Deep-Sea Fishing Bandits
  • Roses Are Red But Chocolate Can Be Green
  • Architectural Plan Revealed Of Doomsday Arctic Seed Vault

  • Posh Areas Cough Up As London Expands Traffic Toll Zone
  • Robot-driven cars on roads by 2030
  • Talking Urinals Discourage Drunken Driving
  • Fuel-Efficient Car Gap Growing In The US As Choice Strangled By Regulation

  • Can UABC Take Russian Aircraft-Makers Out Of Spin
  • Superjet To Be Tested For Strength
  • Anger As Britons Face Air Tax Hike
  • Bats In Flight Reveal Unexpected Aerodynamics

  • Could NASA Get To Pluto Faster? Space Expert Says Yes - By Thinking Nuclear
  • NASA plans to send new robot to Jupiter
  • Los Alamos Hopes To Lead New Era Of Nuclear Space Tranportion With Jovian Mission
  • Boeing Selects Leader for Nuclear Space Systems Program

  • The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2006 - SpaceDaily.AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA PortalReports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additionalcopyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by SpaceDaily on any Web page published or hosted by SpaceDaily. Privacy Statement