The Physics of Cooling Techniques

There are many reasons for wanting to cool things:
  • to keep leftovers cold,
  • to chill drinks (because no one wants to drink a beverage that's
          at the ambient temperature on a hot day),
  • to keep computer parts from fusing together,
  • or to just see what happens to materials when they are much
          (much, much, much) colder than they normally are.
Whatever the reason, the Second Law of Thermodynamics dictates that cooling something will take effort (sorry, no spontaneously cool sodas).

Different techniques have been developed to address
this issue, each having its own limitations and ideal uses.


The Peltier Effect and
Thermoelectric Cooling

Laser Cooling and
Optical Molasses

Magnetic Cooling

S H Price      26 March 2007     Physics 212 Web Project