Is there a chemical that can act as a heat sink?

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Scott Lucero

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Is there a chemical that can act as a heat sink?
« on: 28/05/2010 19:30:03 »
Scott Lucero  asked the Naked Scientists:
Hi Chris -

Back in my physics class in high school, the teacher always talked
about barrels of salts that would go through a phase transition at
room temperature, acting as a big heat sink. 

Then we would have to calculate how many barrels of salts we would need to maintain that temperature given certain conditions.  My question is whether there are such salts, and if there are, why don't we use them as a big heat sink?  It seems to me that we could save quite a bit money on heating and cooling.

I should note that my teacher also talked about being in the middle of
frictionless lakes and throwing around objects of certain weights, so
I'm not sure whether such salts exist.

Many thanks,
Scott Lucero (pronounced "loose-arrow")
Fairfax, Virginia

What do you think?
« Last Edit: 28/05/2010 19:30:03 by _system »


Offline RD

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Is there a chemical that can act as a heat sink?
« Reply #1 on: 28/05/2010 23:15:06 »
There are chemical "ice" packs ...

Another type of ice pack uses the endothermic reaction of ammonium nitrate and water to cool down quickly. When one breaks a tube inside the pack the ammonium nitrate is released allowing it to mix with the water. Other chemicals which produce a similar effect include calcium chloride (exothermic reaction) and ammonium chloride.