Graduation Year

2006

Document Type

Thesis

Degree

M.S.E.E.

Degree Granting Department

Electrical Engineering

Major Professor

Shekhar Bhansali, Ph.D.

Co-Major Professor

Muhammad Rahman, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Sangchae Kim, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Elias (Lee) Stefanakos, Ph.D.

Keywords

magnetic refrigeration, magnetic materials, gadolinium, permanent magnet, adiabatic demagnetization

Abstract

This thesis documents the work and research effort on the design, fabrication and testing of a magnetocaloric MEMS microcooler, focusing on the testing of the microcooler at low magnetic fields. The phenomenon of magnetocaloric effect (MCE), or adiabatic temperature change, which is obtained by heating or cooling magnetic materials due to a varying magnetic field, can be exploited in the area of magnetic refrigeration as a reliable, energy-efficient cooling system. In particular, its applications are being explored primarily in cryogenic technologies as a viable process for the liquefaction of hydrogen. The challenge for magnetic refrigeration is that the necessary MCE is most easily achieved with high magnetic fields (5-6 Tesla) provided by superconducting magnets. However, a significant magnetocaloric effect can be exhibited at lower magnetic fields (1-2 Tesla) by carefully controlling initial temperature conditions as well as by selecting, preparing and synthesizing the optimal fabrication process of Silicon (Si) wafers. A microcooler was integrated based on previous works of others and tested. Finally, testing of the magnetocaloric effect was conducted and results analyzed. Experimental results in these domains demonstrate that magnetic refrigeration can be part of the best current cooling technology, without having to use volatile, environmentally hazardous fluids. The MEMS magnetocaloric refrigerator demonstrated a ~ -12°C change in the temperature of cooling fluid at a magnetic field of 1.2 T.

Share

COinS