Research Grants/Fellowships/SBIR

Preparation of Superferromagnetic Lanthanide Nanoparticulate Magnetic Refrigerants

EPA Grant Number: R828132
Title: Preparation of Superferromagnetic Lanthanide Nanoparticulate Magnetic Refrigerants
Investigators: Wagner, Michael J. , Bennett, Lawrence H.
Institution: George Washington University
EPA Project Officer: Karn, Barbara
Project Period: June 1, 2000 through May 31, 2003
Project Amount: $254,557
RFA: Technology for a Sustainable Environment (1999) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Nanotechnology , Sustainability , Pollution Prevention/Sustainable Development


The goal of this research is to develop a magnetic nanocomposite that will be important to the construction of a magnetic refrigeration system that can operate in the range of ambient atmospheric temperatures and be applied to practical consumer refrigeration systems. A relatively new and unexplored method, the reduction of metal salts by alkalides and electrides, is being employed to synthesize supported Gd and Dy nanocomposites and a number of alloys. Magnetic nanocomposites offer important advantages over either paramagnetic or ferromagnetic materials for magnetic cooling, producing large entropy changes for smaller magnetic fields, having a more uniform distribution of S(T) as a function of temperature, and allowing high cycling frequency to be utilized while minimizing any eddy current losses. The magnetic properties of these materials are being tested as is their ambient temperature cooling capability in a magnetic refrigerator.

The major advantages of magnetic refrigeration technology, with application to automobile air conditioners, household refrigerators, and heat pumps, are:

  1. The prevention of environmental damage caused by harmful working fluids often involved in existing refrigeration systems.

  2. The reduction of energy consumption resulting from the significantly improved energy efficiency inherent in the utilization of the magneto-caloric effect. The ability of the magnetic refrigerant to transfer heat during the isothermal magnetization stage is an important advantage over conventional gas refrigerators. Non-isothermal compression is the most serious cause of inefficiency in conventional refrigerators.

  3. Potentially dramatic reductions in the complexity, size and mass of the cooling unit.

Expected Results:

Each of these advantages have potentially significant ecological benefits. The elimination of ozone depleting gases currently employed in cooling applications is of direct benefit while both improved energy efficiency and reduced mass will result in the abatement of pollution associated with fuels used to operate cooling systems and the vehicles on which they are mounted. Success of this project will provide materials with promise for implementation of ambient temperature magnetic cooling and the consequent realization of the inherent ecological benefits.

Publications and Presentations:

Publications have been submitted on this project: View all 6 publications for this project

Journal Articles:

Journal Articles have been submitted on this project: View all 2 journal articles for this project

Supplemental Keywords:

alternatives, clean technologies, innovative technology, waste reduction, waste minimization, environmental chemistry, physics, engineering., RFA, Scientific Discipline, Air, Ecosystem Protection/Environmental Exposure & Risk, Sustainable Industry/Business, POLLUTION PREVENTION, air toxics, cleaner production/pollution prevention, Environmental Chemistry, Ecosystem/Assessment/Indicators, Sustainable Environment, Energy, Technology for Sustainable Environment, Ecological Effects - Environmental Exposure & Risk, Environmental Engineering, magnetic cooling, ecological exposure, cleaner production, stratospheric ozone, superferromagnetic lanthanide nanoparticulate magnetic refrigerants, consumer refrigeration systems, electrides, household refrigerants, energy efficiency, engineering, Refrigerants, alkalides, heat pumps, tropospheric ozone, ecological benefits

Progress and Final Reports:
Final Report