Design and Analysis of a Nested Halbach Permanent Magnet Magnetic Refrigerator




Tura, Armando

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A technology with the potential to create efficient and compact refrigeration devices is an active magnetic regenerative refrigerator (AMRR). AMRRs exploit the magnetocaloric effect displayed by magnetic materials whereby a reversible temperature change is induced when the material is exposed to a change in applied magnetic field. By using the magnetic materials in a regenerator as the heat storage medium and as the means of work input, one creates an active magnetic regenerator (AMR). Although several laboratory devices have been developed, no design has yet demonstrated the performance, reliability, and cost needed to compete with traditional vapor compression refrigerators. There are many reasons for this and questions remain as to the actual potential of the technology. The objective of the work described in this thesis is to quantify the actual and potential performance of a permanent magnet AMR system. A specific device configuration known as a dual-nested-Halbach system is studied in detail. A laboratory scale device is created and characterized over a wide range of operating parameters. A numerical model of the device is created and validated against experimental data. The resulting model is used to create a cost-minimization tool to analyze the conditions needed to achieve specified cost and efficiency targets. Experimental results include cooling power, temperature span, pumping power and work input. Although the magnetocaloric effect of gadolinium is small, temperature spans up to 30 K are obtained. Analysis of power input shows that the inherent magnetic work is a small fraction of the total work input confirming the assumption that potential cycle efficiencies can be large. Optimization of the device generates a number of areas for improvement and specific results depend upon targeted temperature spans and cooling powers. A competitive cost of cooling from a dual-nested-Halbach configuration is challenging and will depend on the ability to create regenerator matrices with near-ideal adiabatic temperature change scaling as a function of temperature.



magnetic refrigeration, magnetocaloric effect, optimization, active magnetic regenerator, exergetic analysis