Energy saving and environmental protection are topics of growing interest. In the light of these aspects alternative refrigeration principles become increasingly important. Shape memory alloys (SMA), especially NiTi alloys, generate a large amount of latent heat during solid state phase transformations, which can lead to a significant cooling effect in the material. These materials do not only provide the potential for an energy-efficient cooling process, they also minimize the impact on the environment by reducing the need for conventional ozone-depleting refrigerants.
Our paper, presenting first results obtained in a project within the DFG Priority Program SPP 1599 “Ferroic Cooling”, focuses on the thermodynamic analysis of a NiTi-based cooling system. We first introduce a suitable cooling process and subsequently illustrate the underlying mechanisms of the process in comparison with the conventional compression refrigeration system. We further introduce a graphical solution to calculate the energy efficiency ratio of the system. This thermodynamic analysis method shows the necessary work input and the heat absorption of the SMA in stress/strain- or temperature/entropy-diagrams, respectively. The results of the calculations underline the high potential of this solid-state cooling methodology.