Which Gas is Used in a Refrigerator [Old & Modern Refrigerators]

Have you ever thought about what makes your refrigerator’s air cool and chilled? Do you have any idea about how a refrigerator keeps all your desired stuff preserved? If not, then you are in the right place.

Well, actually, it is the refrigerant gas that is responsible for doing all the tasks. Now, before you start thinking about refrigerant gas, let us take you through the possible details about the same.

What is a Refrigerant Gas?

The refrigerant gas is a chemical gas that has extremely low evaporation points and is condensed under pressure for chilling the surrounding air. These gases undergo repetitive evaporation and condensation process and as a result, all their heat is pulled out and the temperature inside the unit is chilled out.

In the 20th century, fluorocarbons especially chlorofluorocarbons were used very commonly in refrigerators. But with time, they became phased out mainly because of their ozone depletion effects.

Do you want to know which are the Best Refrigerator in India?

History of the Refrigerant Gases Used in Refrigerator:

During the initial time of 1800 to 1920, only toxic gases were used in refrigerators. These gases were a mixture of chlorine, fluorine, and carbons. However, near the year 1970, it was discovered that these toxic gases were dangerous to the atmosphere.

When these gases leak into the atmosphere, they undergo a chemical change due to the UV rays of the sun and thus cause the greenhouse effect and ozone depletion. After that certain measures were taken to find such refrigerant gases which can overcome this problem.

It is then that refrigerant gases like HCFC (a mixture of hydrogen, chlorine, fluorine, and carbon) and HFC (a mixture of hydrogen, fluorine, and carbon) came into the picture. HCFC gases have a shorter lifespan when they get exposed to the atmosphere and thus cause very minimal harm in regard to ozone depletion.

On the other hand, gases like HFC have no chlorine and thus cause no negative or harmful effect on the issue of ozone depletion. Also, this is the reason why these HCFC and HFC gases are trending and are getting popular be used as modern-day’s refrigerant gases.

A quick glance at the various gases being used in the refrigerator:

  • R22 Chlorofluorocarbons – this gas was common in the older fridge but was ozone-depleting and thus is being phased out. It is not seen in any modern refrigerator
  • R134A Tetrafluoroethane – this gas can be seen in the present-time refrigerator. Though this gas is ozone-friendly it is a potent greenhouse gas and thus will be phased out soon. However, it is the preferred choice in the current situation
  • R438A Freon – this gas is used as a replacement for R22 gas as it is non-ozone depleting. It is one of the trending gases used in the refrigerator and can also be found in many repaired refrigerators which were earlier running on R22 gas
  • R600A Iso Butane – it is a flammable gas and is used commonly in small modern fridges

Gases used in the Modern-day Refrigerator:

Thanks to the advancements in technology, we are living in a time where we can create a needed balance between fulfilling our needs and taking care of the environment. There have been many improvements in the living standards of people which have helped in further improving the surrounding atmospheric conditions. One such visible improvement that is done in the same direction is the use of better and defined refrigerant gases.

While the earlier gases used were quite harmful to the environment due to their ozone depletion factor, the new refrigerant gases are chosen quite wisely. These gases are so that they give the required support to the refrigerator to perform its best along with taking good care of preserving the ecological balance.

So, which are the gases that are presently being used in modern-day refrigerators?

Interested in knowing? Have a look:

1. Tetrafluoroethane:

HFC-134a (1,1,1,2-Tetrafluoroethane) is one of the commonly used refrigerant gases which you can find in almost all present-time refrigerators. This HFC-134a (1,1,1,2-Tetrafluoroethane) gas is condensed effectively so that it can cool down the surroundings of the machine without causing the problem of ozone depletion.

The use of this gas started during the early 1990s and is still in progress in almost all machines and types of equipment. It is easily available and also preserves the condition of ozone depletion in the best possible manner.

2. Chlorofluorocarbon:

R134A () is yet another gas that is used in refrigerators in the present day. It is used as a pressurized liquid that expands as gas for absorbing the heat and cooling the temperature within the fridge. The heated gas is again passed through the compressor for removing heat after which it is yet again pressurized to be used as a liquid.

The use of chlorofluorocarbon in refrigerators began in the early 1970s and you still can see many brands using this refrigerant gas in their products.

3. Polystyrene:

It is a popular insulator that is used as internal padding in a refrigerator for keeping the heat out of the machine. As its advantage, it is less costly and also acts as an effective barrier between the surrounding heat and the refrigerator inside.

This, as a result, enhances the interior temperature of the machine and thus helps in delivering effective cooling. Polystyrene was first used in the 19th century as a refrigerant alternative.

4. Acrylonitrile:

You may find this effective insulator in some of the modern-day refrigerators which act as a perfect barrier between the surrounding heat and the machine’s interior. It is very easy and handy to clean this insulator which makes it a preferred choice to be used. The 19th century marked the use of Acrylonitrile which can still be seen.

This was some of the relevant information on the effective and popular gases used in the refrigerator for delivering the desired performance. With the introduction of each and every gas, not only the working of the refrigerator became advanced but also it helped to provide the best environmental balance.

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