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A Fridge in Space

A Case Study in Thermodynamics


Author(s)

Lok C. Lew Yan Voon
Department of Physics
Wright State University
lok.lewyanvoon@wright.edu

Abstract

This case analyzes the principles of thermodynamics and the operating cycle of an adiabatic demagnetizing refrigerator (ADR), a piece of equipment NASA uses to keep x-ray detectors cold enough to work.  A synthesis of all the basic principles of thermodynamics, the case would be appropriate for students enrolled in a thermal physics course, typically taught at a sophomore level.


Objectives

  • Provide students with a stimulating real-life application of thermal physics.
  • Develop critical thinking and reasoning skills.
  • Train students to synthesize facts from various portions of a course.
  • Illustrate the variety of physical parameters.
  • Illustrate the difference between textbook and real-life physics.

Keywords

Thermodynamics; heat energy; heat engine; adiabatic; isothermal; adiabatic demagnetizing refrigerator; magnetic refrigeration; magnetocaloric effect; x-ray spectrometer; cryogenics; NASA

Educational Level

Undergraduate lower division

Format

PDF

Type Methods

Analysis (Issues), Interrupted

Language

English

Subject Headings

Physics  |   Aerospace Engineering  |   Engineering (General)  |  


Date Posted

04/15/00

Teaching Notes

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