As it starts to warm up, staying cool will become a growing need. Now, thanks to a polymer, air conditioners will stay more efficient.
The nanotechnology polymer, polytetrafluoroethylene, is a key component of a trademarked product, Cold-Plus, an oil and bonding agent, that is used on exchanger coil surfaces. The polymer is in the same family of polymers that are used on surfaces of non-stick cookware.
One of the ways the compound is useful is that it limits the reduction of an air conditioners’ capacity. A study in the 1990s by the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration, and Air-Conditioning Engineers found that on average, air-conditioning and refrigeration systems lose 7% cooling capacity in their first year, 5% in their second, and 2% each year thereafter. This means that a five-ton system would produce only four tons of cooling but still consume enough energy to produce five tons of cooling.
The reduction in cooling capacity occurs when refrigeration oil forms a plaque on the exchanger coils. However, that buildup can be reversed by adding Cold-Plus, reports Refrigerated Transporter. On new systems, the product will prevent the oil buildup from ever occurring. Other benefits include a reduction in the electricity needed to start up the compressor, colder evaporator temperature, better moisture removal, less run time, and less system maintenance.
Refrigerated Transporter discusses other benefits of the product:
Addition of Cold-Plus will increase refrigerant flow 5% to 8% on new and older systems while using slightly less horsepower, and improving heat transfer and efficiency. Cold-Plus is a permanent, one time metal treatment that lasts the life time of the system and prevents restricted or plugged capillary tubes or sticky expansion valves.
Installation of the product requires that the technician be EPA-certified. The installation process takes about 30 minutes. The manufacturer claims increases in performance of the air-conditioning system of between 15% and 20% are common.
Source: “Better Refrigeration, Air-Conditioning Performance Through Nanotechnology,” Refrigerated Transporter, 5/10/12
Image by Achim Hering, used under its Creative Commons license.
Dale McGeehon has been a journalist and editor for more than 25 years, covering chemical regulation and testing for Pesticides and Toxic Chemical News and innovations in material sciences for the National Technology Transfer Center. His writing credits include Omni and College Park magazines and The New York Times.