Which Gas is Used in Refrigerator?

You cannot imagine a kitchen without a refrigerator in today’s world. Modern refrigerators are of vital help in the kitchen. It enables fruits, vegetables, and other food products to remain fresh for a long time without getting decayed.

It happens primarily because a low temperature is maintained inside the refrigerator, which significantly reduces the reproduction rate of bacteria. Hence, the food remains fresh for a long period of time. However, one such exciting fact that you might have always wanted to know is how cold air is formed inside the refrigerator and what type of gas is used in a fridge.

Hence, to quench your thirst for these questions, in this guide, we will discuss which gas is used in a refrigerator and its history, variety, etc.

What is Refrigerant Gas?

The refrigerant gas is a chemical gas comprising a low evaporation point and significantly condenses to cool the surrounding air. The condensation of the refrigerant gas occurs under pressure.

This gas is made to pass through a repeated condensation and evaporation process in which all the heat present in the gas is effectively absorbed, and the temperature of the gas is thereby cooled down.

Usually, the refrigerant gas comprises tetra fluoro ethane instead of ammonia, sulphur, and chlorofluorocarbons, which are considered harmful to the ozone layer.

History of Refrigerant Gas

From the 1800s to 1920, only toxic gases were used as refrigerant gas in refrigerators. The gases were nothing but a mixture of carbon, fluorine, and chlorine, and they were known as chlorofluorocarbons.

But in the 1970s, it was discovered that this gas was harmful to the ozone layer, resulting in its depletion. When these toxic gases get leaked into the atmosphere, they tend to undergo a chemical change due to the sun’s ultraviolet rays, thereby affecting the greenhouse effect and causing depletion of the ozone layer.

As the ozone layer protects us from the sun’s harmful UV rays, the lack of the ozone layer will also affect our health. Hence, to safeguard people’s health and ensure that the ozone layer is not affected, scientists took several measures to find the perfect refrigerant gas which would act as a suitable substitute for chlorofluorocarbons, which might also be safe for the ozone layer. 

After numerous research processes, gases such as HCFC, a mixture of gases such as hydrogen, fluorine, chlorine, and carbon, and HFC, a combination of gases such as hydrogen, fluorine, and carbon, etc., were found. These two gases were found to be safe for the ozone, and they did not pose any threat to it.

The HCFC gas is short-lived, and when released into the atmosphere, they cause very little or negligible loss to ozone depletion. Similarly, the HFC gas does not comprise chlorine; hence, it does not negatively impact the ozone layer and is regarded as a safe option for the ozone layer.

Different Gases Used in Refrigerators

The advancement in technology has resulted in various improvements in the world. And one such modification is visible in the variety of refrigerant gas. The initial refrigerant gases were harmful to the environment and thus have been replaced with environment-friendly options. Let us have a look at the different gases used in refrigerators. 

  • Chlorofluorocarbons– Started in 1970, this pressure-sensitive gas expands to absorb heat, reducing the temperature inside the fridge. This gas then passes through the compressor, eliminating heat, and again undergoes a compression process to turn into a liquid state. 
  • Polystyrene- This refrigerant gas is a powerful insulation medium usually used as internal padding in refrigerators. This gas is comparatively cheaper and effectively acts as a barrier, separating outside heat and the fridge’s inside heat. The padding increases the temperature of the inside of the appliance, which aids in effective and uniform cooling. 
  • Tetraflurocarbons- Tetraflurocarbons or HFC 134a is one of the most commonly used refrigerant gas used in most fridge models. This refrigerant gas undergoes rapid condensation, effectively cooling down the fridge’s interior. One of the significant benefits of this refrigerant gas is its eco-friendly nature. This gas does not cause the depletion of the ozone layer. The use of this refrigerant gas first began in the 1990s and is used till date in various refrigerators due to their high capability to preserve the ozone layer. 
  • Acrylonitrile- Introduced in the 19th century, this famous refrigerant gas is currently used in several fridge models. This gas acts as an effective barrier between the inside and outside heat. 
  • Iso Butane– IsoButane is naturally flammable and primarily used in small refrigerators. 
  • Freon –This refrigerant gas is mainly used as an alternative to R22 refrigerant gas. Freon is usually found in refurbished refrigerators already working on R22 gas. 

Types of gases used in Modern-Day Refrigerators

We are living in a modern technological world, where the emphasis is not only laid on improving the living standard but also much concern is laid on preserving the environment. Many refrigerant gases are not eco-friendly and harm the environment tremendously. The modern-day refrigerant offers the necessary support for protecting the ozone layer. Let us discuss in detail the types of gases used in modern-day refrigerators. 

  • Chlorofluorocarbons- One of the most commonly used refrigerant gas in modern-day refrigerators is chlorofluorocarbons. This gas gets compressed, which then disperses heat in the inside of the fridge. 
  • Acrylonitrile- Many modern-day refrigerator models use this gas as an ideal insulator. 
  • Tetraflurocarbons- This type of gas is quite famous as refrigerant gas since it effectively cools the surrounding of the machine without causing depletion of the ozone layer. 
  • Polystyrene– Another popular refrigerant gas used in modern-day fridge models is polystyrene. One of the primary reasons behind its popularity is its low price. 

Conclusion

Refrigerators are essential electrical appliances that have greatly improved our everyday life. A refrigerant is a compact appliance which consists of several parts and features. One of this cooling appliance’s essential and crucial elements is refrigerant gas. The refrigerant gas determines the cooling of the inside of the fridge.

With the development of technology, refrigerant gases have undergone an impressive evolution. These days, most refrigerant gases are eco-friendly in nature, which does not cause depletion of the ozone layer. Chlorofluorocarbons, polystyrene, tetrafluoro carbons, and acrylonitrile are commonly used refrigerant gases.

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