Anatomy of a Refrigerator

  • By Richard Pommier Swanson
  • Posted 01.08.08
  • NOVA

The workings of your average refrigerator are actually quite simple. In essence, you only have to understand two general concepts—that by compressing or expanding a gas, you can raise or lower its temperature; and that heat only flows in one direction, from hot to cold. In fact, as this interactive reveals, your refrigerator provides a great everyday example of the science of cold.

Launch Interactive

You likely have one, but do you know how it works?

Richard Pommier Swanson is the former Science Content Director for PBS's DragonflyTV. He holds degrees in Education and the History of Science and Technology from the University of Minnesota.



Courtesy Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, Gottscho-Schleisner Collection, LC-G613-T-59454

Related Links

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  • The Conquest of Cold

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  • States of Matter

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  • Absolute Zero

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