Thermodynamic magic enables cooling without energy consumption

Mar 2019
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590
Texas
The results of a recent experiment carried out by the research group of Prof. Andreas Schilling in the Department of Physics at the University of Zurich (UZH) appear at first sight to challenge the second law of thermodynamics. The researchers managed to cool a nine-gram piece of copper from over 100°C to significantly below room temperature without an external power supply. "Theoretically, this experimental device could turn boiling water to ice, without using any energy," says Schilling.
phys.org

Great stuff. Just proof of concept at this point. Will be interesting to see how far this goes.
 
Nov 2013
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393
El Paso, TX
I don't see the big deal. While the mechanism is never explained, the basic idea is that a temperature gradient can produce energy and energy can produce a temperature gradient, so if one uses the energy produced by a temperature gradient to reverse the gradient, one gets this result. So what?
 
Mar 2013
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11,271
Middle Tennessee
If they can get it to commercial scale, just think of the applications !!! Mostly refrigeration even in the most remote areas. Everyone would have access to cold food storage greatly reducing wasted food world wide. Not to mention medications that need to be kept cool. Refrigeration and home cooling are major energy consumers. How much would this reduce the our eco foot print ?
 
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Mar 2019
2,574
590
Texas
i am dumb to this but i think since the flow of heat goes from point a thru the oscillator to point e the oscillator is givin a charge after the transfer has taken place thee is still that initial charge that is then used up at the end. a powers b to c and when a is done b still has the force from a to be out put to c.

i am not sure if any can follow my thought here though.
 
Jun 2018
6,661
1,551
South Dakota
I got what was happening but not why.
Looks like the old question of how electricity is generated. We know that a magnetic field excited electrons to move creating current flow. Unless physics research has changed that since I studied physics, what we don't know is why.
 

imaginethat

Forum Staff
Oct 2010
69,570
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Colorado
Looks like the old question of how electricity is generated. We know that a magnetic field excited electrons to move creating current flow. Unless physics research has changed that since I studied physics, what we don't know is why.
Science excels and gets better all the time at describing what is going on, but falls flat at explaining why. Within the bounds set by the laws of physical science, why appears to be untouchable. Of course, that may be an illusion.