Having your car’s air conditioner lose its cool on a hot day can make for an uncomfortable ride. A breakdown in thermal control in space is far more than a matter of comfort; on the Moon, for example, the temperatures can reach a scorching 260 °F during the day. In planning for future space missions, NASA aimed to improve the thermal control systems that keep astronauts comfortable and cool while inside a spacecraft.
From Spacecraft to Automobiles
In the late 1990s, Goddard Space Flight Center (Greenbelt, MD) awarded a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) contract to Mainstream En - gineering Corp. of Rockledge, FL, to develop a heat pump as part of the spacecraft’s thermal control system. (A heat pump provides cooling by moving heat out of one area and into another.) While working on the project, Mainstream Engineering came up with a unique liquid additive called QwikBoost to enhance the performance of the advanced heat pump design. QwikBoost circulates through a system like a lubricant, working to boost the available cooling capacity. This increases the performance of the system and results in faster heat transfer and the consumption of less energy.
Licensing agreements eventually led to IDQ Inc., of Garland, TX incorporating the NASA spinoff technology into the company’s line of Arctic Freeze products. According to IDQ, by using Arctic Freeze to replace lost refrigerant and oil in an automotive air conditioning system, the QwikBoost chemistry provides colder air up to 50% faster than conventional refrigerant products.
“Working with NASA technology bolsters our confidence that the chemistry has been thoroughly tested and proven to deliver the benefits and results promised,” said Vincent Carrubba, director of research and development at IDQ.
IDQ provides its line of Arctic Freeze products for the do-it-yourself (DIY) consumer and professional service technician. Sold at leading automotive and mass-retail stores, and through wholesale distributors in the aftermarket industry in the United States, Europe, and Latin America, Arctic Freeze restores cooling in a vehicle’s air conditioning system once the system is no longer cooling effectively. The addition of QwikBoost also reduces wear and tear on the system by lowering compressor temperatures and extending the useful life of the lubricant. Arctic Freeze also incorporates a leak sealer that conditions rubber o-rings, seals, and hoses, which are the primary source of minor system leaks.
In addition to delivering low vent temperatures, Arctic Freeze also delivers low costs. Recharging an automotive air conditioning system can cost approximately $15–$30, compared to $100 or more at an automotive repair shop. Each Arctic Freeze product provides DIY customers with everything needed to recharge a vehicle’s air conditioning unit.
Carrubba believes his company’s NASA spinoff has made a world of difference by providing a demonstrable and affordable solution to improve the efficiency and economy of operating air conditioning and refrigeration systems here on Earth. “The all-in-one solutions of Arctic Freeze make it possible for nearly anyone to safely, effectively, and affordably recharge their own vehicle’s air conditioning unit,” he said.
This article was written by Lisa Rademakers for Spinoff. Visit www.techbriefs.com/component/content/article/10655 for the full story.