Active magnetic regenerator (AMR) refrigerators represent an alternative to vapor compression technology that relies on the magnetocaloric effect in a solid refrigerant. Magnetocaloric materials are in development and properties are reported regularly. Recently, there has been an emphasis on developing materials with a high entropy change with magnetization while placing lower emphasis on the adiabatic temperature change. This work uses model magnetocaloric materials and a numerical AMR model to predict how the temperature change and entropy change with magnetization interact and how they affect the performance of a practical system. The distribution of the magnetocaloric effect as a function of temperature was also studied. It was found that the adiabatic temperature change in a magnetocaloric material can be more important than the isothermal entropy change for certain conditions. A material that exhibits a sharp peak in isothermal entropy change was shown to produce a significantly lower cooling power than a material with a wide peak in a practical AMR system. © 2010 American Institute of Physics
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