Building a Functional, Energy-Efficient Refrigerator

Engineers at Purdue University designed and tested a potentially space-friendly refrigerator. The team tested their fridge on parabolic flights to simulate a microgravity environment.

via Smithsonian

Recently, a team of researchers from Purdue University, Air Squared Inc. and Whirlpool Corporation overcame these challenges to design a fridge for space, adapting the cooling technology of a household fridge to make what they claim to be the most energy-efficient model for space. Theirs has the storage capacity of a microwave and reaches temperatures as low as -4 degrees Fahrenheit. Moreover, it uses water cooling to compensate where Earth’s natural convection would have helped to remove heat from a fridge’s backend. After three years of tests, the microgravity-proof contraption is ready to be deployed on missions. Not only will the appliance extend the shelf life of space food, but it will also give long-term space travelers a few more options in what they consume, and how.

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