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The refrigerant temperature differences and specific heats in the paper looked impressive, as did the temperature deltas, though I'm not well versed in the field.


It will be interesting to see if this type of material, and possibly even better 'plastic' material phase transitions (plastic meaning a deformable solid, not polymer) can be developed into efficient commercially viable heating and refrigeration devices and heat pumps in place of refrigerants like R134a.


I'm sure it will take some years if it's not abandoned as unpromising at an early stage, but superficially there looks to be enough potential with this paper and the one by Li (reference 50 also in Nature) for some serious R&D to take place in the next few years to thrash out whether it can be made into viable products for specialist niches (e.g. high reliability/long life to be used in places where it's very hard or expensive to re-gas conventional refrigerants like R134a that might leak over time, so a solid state material could be worth slightly higher cost or lower efficiency) or whether it might even outcompete gas refrigerants for more general uses like freezers, refrigerators, air conditioning and air and ground source inverter heat pumps, etc. It might even allow quieter devices to be made if no hydraulic pumps are required, giving other possible niche uses.

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