The regulation of the temperature, humidity, circulation, and composition of the air in a building, room, or vehicle, to meet the requirements of the conditioned space.
Conventional air conditioners work on the same principle and use the same basic components as a refrigerator (see top illustration). A refrigerator uses electrical energy to transfer heat from the cool interior of the refrigerator to the relatively warm surroundings of a room; likewise, an air conditioner uses electrical energy to transfer heat from the interior of a home to the relatively warm outside environment. In colder weather an air conditioner may be run in reverse to act as a heat pump.
Air conditioners are of two main kinds: room air conditioners or window air conditioners and central air conditioners.
A more environmentally-friendly form of air conditioning is solar cooling (see lower illustration), which utilizes excess solar energy to cool buildings at the hottest times of day.
History of air conditioningThe first commercial air-conditioning installation dates from 1902, when Willis Carrier designed a cooling and humidifying system for a New York printing plant. During the 1920s, motion-picture theaters and then office buildings, department stores, and hospitals began to install air-conditioning equipment. After World War II, home units became available resulting in the rapid growth of the industry manufacturing the equipment.
Related category• COOLING, REFRIGERATION, AND AIR CONDITIONING
Home • About • Copyright © The Worlds of David Darling • Encyclopedia of Science • Contact