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Cool Magnet: A little bit of iron gives magnetic refrigeration a boost

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5:58pm, June 23, 2004

Magnets are big-time materials, finding roles in products ranging from motors to medical-imaging systems. Now, a team of engineers' improvement of a custom-made magnetic material increases the odds that refrigeration will soon join the roster of magnet-based technologies.

With the goal of making refrigerators and air conditioners more efficient, several groups around the world are developing magnetic-refrigerant materials. A magnetic-cooling system could also be less polluting than current systems because it wouldn't use environmentally harmful chemicals, such as ammonia or chlorofluorocarbons.

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