An innovative surface treatment that encourages water droplets could improve refrigeration technology and reduce energy use.
Typically, fluids used as refrigerants have a low surface tension and will spread when applied to a surface—which actually creates insulation that can inhibit heat transfer. As a more efficient alternative, the team at MIT developed a coating made of a specialized polymer that is deposited on the surface via initiated chemical vapor deposition. The coating is thin enough to not block heat, and will cause condensing fluids to form small droplets and roll the heat away—improving the heat transfer process by almost eight times.
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