The electrocaloric effect describes a reversible temperature change in dielectric materials submitted to an applied electric field. Adiabatic polarization raises their temperature, and adiabatic depolarization lowers it, analogous to temperature changes that occur when a gas is compressed or expanded. For refrigerator application, the reverse Brayton cycle is currently the most promising for practical implementation. The electrocaloric effect provides a large material efficiency. However, existing refrigerator prototypes lack from the absence of efficient heat switches for thermal linkage to the load and the heat sink. Cooling power densities of a few W/cm2 and temperature spans in the order of 20 K (in regeneration systems) are achievable at a cycle time of 100 ms.
Part of the book: Refrigeration
Whole-body cryotherapy (WBC) is a highly effective treatment method of a number of serious diseases. The therapeutic effect of WBC is achieved by stimulating cold receptors of the patient’s skin, which provide supercooling of the skin surface to the level of −2°C. To achieve such a temperature of the skin surface, it is necessary to ensure heat removal with intensity not less than 3500 W/m2. Such a heat flux can remove gas with the temperature not higher than −130°C. Procedures lasting less than 2 minutes do not form therapeutic effect. Procedures lasting more than 3 minutes are dangerous for the patient’s health. WBC procedures are carried out in single- and multi-seat devices. Due to the compact placement of the patient in the WBC area, the share of useful heat load on the cryostatting system is up to 70%. In multi-seat installations, the useful heat load share is not more than 50%. During the WBC procedure, consumption of liquid nitrogen per patient is 3.77 kg. For the effective use of WBC technology, it is necessary to determine the general requirements for the power of cooling systems and the temperature of cryostatting of the WBC area.
Part of the book: Low-temperature Technologies