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How does a fridge work?

Recently voted the most significant invention in the history of food and drink, the fridge has transformed our lives. We can keep food fresher for longer, medicines unspoilt and have that refreshing cool drink on hot days. But how does the fridge work?

The fridge has four main components - the inside space where stuff needs to be cooled, the coolant, the radiator and the motor.

The coolant is where most of the action takes places. The coolant starts off as a liquid, absorbs heat from the inside space of the fridge and turns into a gas. The gas then travels to the radiator at the back via the motor. The motor compresses the gas, turning it back into a liquid causing the coolant to give off heat which is transferred to the environment by the radiator. The coolant liquid then starts the cycle again.

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