International. A team of researchers from the Metal Research Institute of the Chinese Academy of Sciences discovered that a class of materials, plastic crystals, had variations of high temperature at low pressure and almost at room temperature.
These barocaloric effects (effects of cooling of phase transitions induced by pressure) occur when the entropy is exchanged between a material and the environment due to the change in pressure.
In the study led by Professor Li Bing, the team of researchers found that typical changes in entropy with plastic crystals reach several hundred J / kg.K (joules per kilogram per kelvin).
For example, the entropy change announced for the "neopentyl glycol" plastic crystal near room temperature is around 390 J kg-1 K-1, resulting in a high temperature change (50K).
The materials generally tested are approximately ten times less efficient.
The applications of these plastic crystals could be very promising because they are cheap, easy to produce, light and non-toxic.