The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has invented two new methods of measurement that could lead to better designs for cooling systems. Agency engineers devised a way of using fluorescent light to help choose the best lubricant for keeping a compressor running smoothly. Research indicates that certain lubricants that partially mix with the refrigerants and have high viscosity can improve the performance of the refrigerants as much as 18%. NIST researchers also developed a calorimeter that measures heat conducted through a new class of insulation panels and around their edges. The device recently measured new vacuum insulation panels that use a novel fill material developed by Dow Chemical Co. The calorimeter found that the panels have an R-value about six times higher than traditional glass-fiber insulation. A panel 2.5-cm thick had about the same R-value as 15 cm of glass-fiber. Get details from Piotr A. Domanski of NIST at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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