Introduction: Cool: Quirky Science (01:03)
We owe air conditioning to the mosquito. In this program, we'll learn the crazy path that led to the invention of the cooling system.
Early Attempts at Cooling Machines (02:55)
In the mid-18th century Dr. William Cullen set out to develop a cooling machine in hopes of curing malaria. But cold air didn't cure malaria, and his machine was forgotten. Many other designs were patented over the next century.
You Can't Create Cold (01:01)
You can move heat from one place to another. When energy is applied to liquid, evaporation occurs. The process of evaporation is explained. As you perspire, energy is taken from the skin, cooling you down.
Willis Haviland Carrier Invents the Air Conditioner (02:23)
Observing fog, Carrier theorized that cooling humid air could reduce its moisture content. He converted a heater so excess moisture condensed on the coils. Though designed to control humidity, the device also cooled and cleaned the air.
Early Industrial Uses of Air Conditioning (01:11)
Rail was one of the first industries to benefit from Carrier's invention. The first industrial air conditioning installed by Carrier was for a printing company in New York. Other industries soon followed, including tobacco and textiles.
A Necessity of Modern Life (01:41)
Air conditioning is essential to technologies like computers and pharmaceuticals. Without it, cities with a hot climate could not flourish. Soon movie theaters, shopping malls, and offices were air conditioned. Homes and cars were next.
Cooling Food (02:07)
Air conditioning and refrigeration developed entirely separately. Before the refrigerator, ice houses were used to provide cool storage. Frederick Tudor pioneered the ice industry. Soon refrigeration with ice became widely available to ordinary households.
The Icebox and the Refrigerator (02:27)
Thomas Moore, a dairy farmer, invented the icebox and coined the term refrigerator. Years later, Jacob Perkins harnessed the compression cycle to build a true refrigerator. There were thousands of such patents. The compression cycle is explained.
Early Refrigerators Rejected Due to Safety Concerns (01:44)
Refrigerators from the late 1800s used toxic gases as refrigerants, leading to fatal leaks. This motivated Einstein to design a cooling machine with no moving parts to avoid coolant leaks. But it wasn't made commercially available.
Dirty Ice Leads to Safe Refrigeration (01:57)
When reliable sources for clean ice became scarce in America, research into safe refrigerants took off, leading to the discovery of Freon. In 1921, mass production of refrigerators began. Freon was proven nontoxic and nonflammable.
The Refrigerator Goes Mainstream (01:04)
The killer image of the fridge was put to rest with the discovery of Freon, which was standard for over 50 years, until concerns over damage to the ozone layer led to a search for another way to refrigerate.
The Search for a Replacement for Freon (02:48)
Hydrofluorocarbons were a less than perfect solution. DSO Laboratories is studying thermoacoustic chilling, using sound waves and inert helium gas. The same technology is being studied for air conditioning.
The Eco-Friendly Refrigerator of the Future? (01:37)
NASA developed a solar-powered refrigerator. Sundanzer machines plug into a solar panel. They need five hours of sunlight per day. The downside to consumers is the costly installation of solar panels.
Credits: Cool: Quirky Science (00:44)
Credits: Cool: Quirky Science
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