Air Conditioning HISTORY 3
Early commercial applications of air conditioning were manufactured to cool air for industrial processing rather than personal comfort. In 1902 the first modern electrical air conditioning was invented by Willis Haviland Carrier in Syracuse, NY. Designed to improve manufacturing process control in a printing plant, his invention controlled not only temperature but also humidity. The low heat and humidity were to help maintain consistent paper dimensions and ink alignment. Later Carrier's technology was applied to increase productivity in the workplace, and The Carrier Air Conditioning Company of America was formed to meet rising demand. Over time air conditioning came to be used to improve comfort in homes and automobiles. Residential sales expanded dramatically in the 1950s.
In 1906, Stuart W. Cramer of Charlotte, North Carolina, USA, was exploring ways to add moisture to the air in his textile mill. Cramer coined the term "air conditioning", using it in a patent claim he filed that year as an analogue to "water conditioning", then a well-known process for making textiles easier to process. He combined moisture with ventilation to "condition" and change the air in the factories, controlling the humidity so necessary in textile plants. Willis Carrier adopted the term and incorporated it into the name of his company air conditioning. This evaporation of water in air, to provide a cooling effect, is now known as evaporative cooling.
The first air conditioners and refrigerators employed toxic or flammable gases like ammonia, methyl chloride, and propane which could result in fatal accidents when they leaked. Thomas Midgley, Jr. created the first chlorofluorocarbon gas, Freon, in 1928. The refrigerant was much safer for humans but was later found to be harmful to the atmosphere by ozone depletion in the stratosphere. The resulting biological consequences included air conditioning an increase in skin cancer, damage to plants, and the reduction of ocean plankton.
Freon is a trademark name of DuPont for any Chlorofluorocarbon (CFC), Hydrogenated CFC (HCFC), or Hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) refrigerant, the name of each including a number indicating molecular composition (R-11, R-12, R-22, R-134A). The blend most used in direct-expansion home and building comfort cooling is an HCFC known as R-22. It is to be phased out for use in new equipment by 2010 and completely discontinued by 2020. R-12 was the most common blend used in automobiles in the US until 1994 when most changed to R-134A. R-11 and R-12 are no longer manufactured in the US for this type of application, the only source for air conditioning purchase being the cleaned and purified gas recovered from other air conditioner systems. Several non-ozone air conditioning depleting refrigerants have been developed as alternatives, including R-410A, invented by Honeywell (formerly AlliedSignal) in Buffalo NY and sold under the Genetron (R) AZ-20 name it was first commercially used by Carrier under the brand name Puron.
Innovation in air conditioning technologies continue, with much recent emphasis placed on energy efficiency, and improving indoor air quality. Reducing climate change impacts is an important area of innovation, because in addition to greenhouse gas emissions associated with energy use, CFCs, HCFCs and HFCs are potent greenhouse gases when leaked to the atmosphere. For example, R-22 (also known as HCFC-22) has a global warming potential about 1,800 times higher than CO2. As an alternative to conventional refrigerants, natural alternatives like CO2 (R-744) have been proposed.