History of Refrigeration

RefrigerationIn its natural state, heat flows from higher to lower temperature regions. Refrigeration cycles are utilized to modify or reverse this cycle, using work obliging heat to flow with the direction that is desired, and align with increasing temperature from low temperature region to higher.

During the earliest records of the “cooling” process being invented, people harvested ice to refrigerate, cool and conserve food. As time progressed, humanity’s basic needs changed and new ways to manipulate temperature started being explored. Major research into refrigeration began with the creation of pup to create a partial vacuum container which absorbs heat from the air. That being said, while the experiment was successful it did not have any practical applications.

In the early 1800’s, people preserved their food by storing food and ice in iceboxes. General Electric decided to design a refrigeration unit that was powered by gas which eliminate the use of motors, decreasing the size,  and soon moved to a refrigeration system which was powered by electricity. The first commercial use of refrigeration was used to produce ice in regions with hotter climates. Refrigeration systems became the solution to ice shortages by enabling areas with environmental limitations to produce their own ice, thus reducing the products scarcity.

With the invention of chlorofluorocarbon, Frigidaire was able to make home and consumer use refrigeration systems better, cheaper, lighter and smaller. Of course, this was back in the times when CFC and Freon were still considered safe choices. Since then, many other refrigerants have been chosen to replace R22.

The thermodynamic cycle which is associated with the refrigeration process is known to be Carnot cycle -a reversible isothermal cycle, where heat is transferred at a constant temperature. To learn more regarding thermodynamic cycle of refrigeration please refer to one of our older post or contact our engineering team for our heat balance course and tool!

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