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Raghottam Sattigeri: on 9/23/14 at 13:28pm UTC, wrote Great video about refrigeration... Video is awesome explaining the...

Henri De Roule: on 9/14/14 at 22:25pm UTC, wrote Entropy is fun, no???

Kristen Hamilton: on 9/11/14 at 21:22pm UTC, wrote HFC-134a started to become common in the 90s as a replacement for the...

Douglas Singleton: on 9/11/14 at 19:02pm UTC, wrote Hi Kristen, Nice video and a very clear explanation of the underlying...

Marc Séguin: on 9/11/14 at 19:00pm UTC, wrote David and Kristen, Thank you for watching my trilogy of videos "This Is...

Kristen Hamilton: on 9/11/14 at 16:11pm UTC, wrote Thank you!

Kevin Knuth: on 9/11/14 at 4:26am UTC, wrote Dear Kristen, I really enjoyed your video. What I appreciated most was...

Kristen Hamilton: on 9/10/14 at 20:30pm UTC, wrote That is very interesting. I'm surprised I didn't run into that during my...


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October 6, 2022

CATEGORY: Show Me the Physics! Video Contest (2014) [back]
TOPIC: The Cool Physics of Refrigeration by David Hamilton [refresh]
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Kristen Hamilton wrote on Aug. 12, 2014 @ 21:06 GMT
Video Image

Video URL

Video Description

This video gives a basic explanation of how the 2nd law of thermodynamics and the compression and expansion of liquids and gases play a role in how refrigerators work.

Video Creator Bio

I am a 16 year old homeschooled student who enjoys making videos with my siblings. I live in North Carolina, and besides making videos, I also enjoy running.

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Member Marc Séguin wrote on Sep. 5, 2014 @ 20:35 GMT

Thank you for a charming video that explains very clearly how a refrigerator works. The narrative was easy to follow and hit all the important points, the natural tendency for temperatures to equlibrate (2nd law of thermodynamics), the refrigerant path, the fact that the refrigerator doesn't create cold but sucks up heat... and the animations were to the point and really helped to understand was was being explained.

Congratulations! I hope your video does well in the contest!


P.S. If you have a chance to view, comment and vote on my trilogy of videos entitled "This Is Physics" --- where I try to convey the "fun of physics" by focusing on some of the greatest moments of its history --- it would be quite appreciated. Only one week left to vote! (Don't forget just before voting to enter the video creator code FQXi sent you, so your vote properly registers in the community category.)

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Member Tejinder Pal Singh wrote on Sep. 6, 2014 @ 22:14 GMT
Hi. Really nicely done! My compliments.


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James Lyons Walsh wrote on Sep. 7, 2014 @ 07:46 GMT

Your narrator is very talented, and the video is well produced. The explanation is very clear. I hadn't appreciated the importance of condensation and vaporization in heat exchange, although I had a vague sense from the term "condenser." I think that a blanket statement that temperature is proportional to kinetic energy is problematic, but I'm not finding a good reference on it right now. Thanks for the chance to see your very nice video.


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James Lyons Walsh replied on Sep. 7, 2014 @ 09:15 GMT

I made a mistake. You say that temperature is a measure of average kinetic energy, not proportional to it. If you'd like to see an example of when this is not true, take a look at the Nuclear Spins section of the Wikipedia entry on negative temperature at There the energy involved is potential. This is not at all a criticism of your video, just me being pedantic.


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Kristen Hamilton replied on Sep. 7, 2014 @ 19:01 GMT
Yep. I actually did see that article during my research, but decided, since I wasn't really going quantum or dealing with entropy, to stick to the classical definition of temperature. Thanks!


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Mark Edward Prince wrote on Sep. 8, 2014 @ 14:05 GMT
Great Stuff! Incredibly impressive stuff from such clever young people! Keep up the great work! The students at my school where I teach were very impressed and they are 18 years old and want to know how you are cleverer than them........Our video "Convection, heat transfer, who cares?" was also in the comp! You can see it here...hope you like it..

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Sorana Dana Stoica wrote on Sep. 10, 2014 @ 07:27 GMT
Dear Kristen,

I watched your cool video and I liked it a lot! I learned very interesting things about heat and refrigerators and conditioning air. Good luck in the contest!


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madeleine richter wrote on Sep. 10, 2014 @ 20:02 GMT
Hi David,

I think I watched your video two or three times in a row and then looked at my refrigerator with new eyes. It is cool to see how through basic processes like condensation and vaporization make it work. I was reading a bit about cooling techniques afterwards and found this article. Apparently there is a refrigerating method that uses the magnetocaloric effect to create the heat pump needed for the cooling process - which could save a lot of energy in the future. I thought you might find it as interesting as I did.

I hope we make it both among the finalist and wish you best of luck! Of course we will vote for you and hope you do the same - if you haven't done yet. We would greatly appreciate it :)


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Kristen Hamilton replied on Sep. 10, 2014 @ 20:30 GMT
That is very interesting. I'm surprised I didn't run into that during my research! I did rate your video, immediately after commenting; thanks so much for rating mine!


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Member Kevin H Knuth wrote on Sep. 11, 2014 @ 04:26 GMT
Dear Kristen,

I really enjoyed your video. What I appreciated most was that while I am well-versed in the physical principles involved, I had never taken the time to sit down and see *exactly* what how the refrigerator was transferring the heat. The detailed explanation is not simple, and yet you did an excellent job of walking us through the basic principles and relevant details. Out of all the videos I have seen, I shall be watching this one again for my own edification.

Thank you.

Kevin Knuth

PS I am happy to see that I am Community Vote #10... good luck in the finals!

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Kristen Hamilton replied on Sep. 11, 2014 @ 16:11 GMT
Thank you!

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Member Marc Séguin wrote on Sep. 11, 2014 @ 19:00 GMT
David and Kristen,

Thank you for watching my trilogy of videos "This Is Physics" and for the comment you left on the forum of part 2. I am glad to see that your amazing video has gotten at least 10 votes and is doing so well in the community ratings!

The first two parts of my trilogy have already gotten at least 10 community votes, but part 3, "Physics Into Darkness", is still one vote short... You probably already gave ratings for all 3 parts... but just in case you haven't gotten to rating part 3, it would be quite appreciated! Here's the direct link:

Thank you, and good luck in the finals!


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Douglas Alexander Singleton wrote on Sep. 11, 2014 @ 19:02 GMT
Hi Kristen,

Nice video and a very clear explanation of the underlying thermodynamics involved. Is there a special reason to use HFC-134a as the working fluid? I assume it has some good properties that make it well suited for refrigeration. Alternatively are there other fluids that can be used?

Another cool way of cooling things is via a peltier cooling device which also leads to heat transfer but via an electrical current.

As a non-physics comment we also used a Kevin Macleod piece for the music in our video ("Moment of Inertia...."). I've seen several other videos that use his music.

Good luck with the contest.

Mike, Max, Dan, Simon, Doug

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Kristen Hamilton replied on Sep. 11, 2014 @ 21:22 GMT
HFC-134a started to become common in the 90s as a replacement for the banned Freon-12. It does not have the the ozone-depleting properties of Freon, but unfortunately it is a potent greenhouse gas, so it is likely to be banned eventually as well. Like any good refrigerant, HFC-134a has favorable thermodynamic properties, and it is also relatively non-toxic and noncorrosive. There are various alternatives, including other HFC blends, ammonia, and even water. It is actually possible to use air as a refrigerant, but this is not very efficient since there is no phase change. Madeleine Richter posted this link about an interesting new method that takes advantage of the magnetocaloric effect.

Thanks for the rating and comment!


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Henri Vonn De Roule wrote on Sep. 14, 2014 @ 22:25 GMT
Entropy is fun, no???

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Raghottam Manoj Sattigeri wrote on Sep. 23, 2014 @ 13:28 GMT
Great video about refrigeration... Video is awesome explaining the thermodynamics...

Please go through my video also and rate it and give me your valuable suggestions... The topic of my video is - PHYSICS THE ODYSSEY...


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