Haldane Builds First Heat Pump (Great Events: 1900-2001)
Article abstract: T. G. N. Haldane demonstrated how to produce low-grade heat economically using a heat pump.
The Heat Pump
A heat pump is a device that takes in heat at one temperature and releases it at a higher temperature. When operated to provide heat (for example, for space heating), the heat pump is said to operate in the heating mode; when operated to remove heat (for example, for air conditioning), it is said to operate in the cooling mode. Some type of work must be done to drive the pump, no matter which mode is being used.
There are two general types of heat pumps: vapor compression pumps and absorption pumps. The basic principle of vapor compression cycle heat pumps is derived from the work of Sadi Carnot in the early nineteenth century. Carnot’s work was published in 1824. It was William Thomson (later to become known as Lord Kelvin), however, who first proposed a practical heat pump system, or “heat multiplier,” as it was known then, and he also indicated that a refrigerating machine could be used for heating.
Thomson’s heat pump used air as its working fluid. Thomson claimed that his heat pump was able to produce heat by using only 3 percent of the energy that would be required for direct heating. Absorption cycle machines have an even...
(The entire section is 955 words.)
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