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Refrigerant. In a mechanical refrigerator (q.v.), a liquid medium that is capable of conversion into vapor (q.v.) at low temperatures. It absorbs heat from the refrigerated space and releases it to the environment at higher temperatures (q.v). The most common media used for this purpose are ammonia (q.v.) and the freons that consist of hydrocarbons that contain fluorine and chlorine and are, therefore, also referred to as fluorocarbons or chlorofluorocarbons.