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New measuring tools could bring improved refrigeration systems

New measuring tools could bring improved refrigeration systems

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 [email protected]

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