2 Revolutionary Advances In Air Conditioner Technology

5 November 2015
 Categories: , Blog

Air conditioners are an incredible convenience--yet one that comes with a significant price tag. Thankfully, rapid advances in technology offer the prospect of much more efficient cooling machines. If you would like to learn about some cutting edge breakthroughs in air conditioner design, read on. This article will introduce two exciting new technologies.

 Shape-memory Alloys

Shape-memory alloys--or smart metals, as they've been popularly dubbed--are an exciting class of material. After a shape-memory alloy has been bent, it can then be returned to its original shape simply by heating it up. This incredible ability has significant implications where air conditioning is concerned.

An air conditioner constructed using smart metal works in the following manner. First, thin sheets of smart metal are bent out of shape by the application of mechanical force. After absorbing ambient heat from the room, these sheets return to their original shape. The cycle is then repeated over and over in order to achieve the desired degree of cooling.

In principle, this is fairly similar to how a traditional air conditioner works. Only in that type of system, it is liquid refrigerant that absorbs heat from the room. In order to return the refrigerant to its "base" state, a motorized compressor must then kick on. This requires a significant amount of energy--especially when compared to the relatively simple method using smart metal.

In fact, it has been estimated that the efficiency of air conditioners using shape-memory alloys may be up to 175% greater than that of traditional types. They will also be much more environmentally friendly. That's because refrigerant-based air conditioners rely on toxic coolants to do their cooling. Smart metal units, on the other hand, will not contain any such destructive materials. 

Desiccant Enhanced Evaporative Technology

One significant drawback of refrigerant-based air conditioners is the amount of humidity they generate. This moisture is generate when hot air is cooled rapidly through condensation. To combat this, most air conditioners double as dehumidifiers--a dual role that drastically increases the amount of energy they consume.

Desiccant enhanced evaporative technology--often shortened to DEVAP--offers an interesting twist on this traditional model. In this system, excess moisture is removed from the chilled air by a liquid desiccant. Special technology then evaporates the water back into the air, allowing the desiccant to perform its role over and over.

The efficiency of DEVAP technology is best expressed in the amount of energy they save--as much as 80% of the energy consumed by traditional air conditioning systems. Early DEVAP systems will likely be carry too high a price tag for the average consumer. As a result, they will likely first be implemented in large commercial buildings. However, expect to see residential models appearing once the technology has been further developed.

For further assistance, contact local air conditioning installation professionals.