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Researches Discover New Metal Alloy Which Turns Heat into Electricity

by LiveModern Webmaster last modified Jan 04, 2012 02:08 AM
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by Jennifer Shockley last modified Sep 06, 2011

Previously technologies that capture the heat that is given off by electronics, engines, and buildings, such as factories, and then turn that heat into electricity have been studied. But researchers at the University of Minnesota in the College of Science and Engineering have recently developed a multiferroic alloy metal material that converts heat directly to electricity.




 

 

Previously technologies that capture the heat that is given off by electronics, engines, and buildings, such as factories, and then turn that heat into electricity have been studied. But researchers at the University of Minnesota in the College of Science and Engineering have recently developed a multiferroic alloy metal material that converts heat directly to electricity.

New alloy material

The multiferroic alloy is composed up of Cobalt, Nickel, Manganese and Tin that was combined at the atomic level and is entitled Ni45Co5Mn40Sn10.

“Multiferroic materials are known for having unique elastic, magnetic and electric properties, and in the case of this alloy, that takes a form of an usual phase change. When heated, the non-magnetic solid material suddenly becomes a strongly magnetic solid.”

It is nonmagnetic material that when a small amount of heat is applied it becomes magnetic and the magnetic material produces electricity.

Researchers demonstrate

During this step some energy is lost in a process known as hysteresis but the researchers at the University of Minnesota have minimized that loss making the alloy material a very successful conductor of electricity.

“This research is very promising because it presents an entirely new method for energy conversion that’s never been done before,” said aerospace engineering and mechanics professor Richard James, who led the research team. “It’s also the ultimate ‘green’ way to create electricity because it uses waste heat to create electricity with no carbon dioxide.”



 

 

 
 
 

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