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Nitonol (thermal engine)

The Mad Professor

New Member
Some years ago this idea was first brought to public by "Tomorrows World" a science show on the BBC here in the UK (sadly no longer running).


Now good sunlight (and with it thermal energy) is a rare commodity at the best of times here in England but in other parts of the globe I here it's quite good.

However, back to the Nitonol ... the activation temperature for the wire is very close to that commonly found in computers on the processor chip, this raises an intruiging idea.

The engine moves heat energy from one place to another as part of its operating process, could the processors own waste heat be used to drive the system?

Not only producing usable mechanical energy to turn devices such as a pump or generator but cooling the processor chip enough as well to stop it self destructing. ?

Definitely one for the case modders , a self powered cooling system.
 

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Hero999

Banned
Interesting. I know it's a totally different principle though you could use non-forced convection water cooling as an alternative.
 

The Mad Professor

New Member
Not entitrely different "Hero999" , the idea I'm trying to get across is that of using heat energy that would normally be wasted.

For instance if the Nitonol generator was coupled to the cooling water system of an automobile , it could turn the alternator and power the electrical system without putting a mechanical load on the engine, which means more power is available to the wheels with a small improvement in fuel efficency and continue to work even after the engine was switched off for a short time.
 

dknguyen

Well-Known Member
Most Helpful Member
Too bad nitinol is frightenigly expensive. Also, you have to somehow keep the NItonol moving across the temperature gradient.

It'd be kind of cool to use the stuff though to automatically open up vents whenver the computer gets too hot (although, it would probably make more sense just to always have the vents open since cooler is better).

Hmmm...that gives me an idea for my robot on how to vent heat when it is hot (and presumably dry) and keep it sealed when it is raining (and presumably cold).

I don't understand how that picture keep the Nitinol wire moving between temperature or how it even spins the pulleys at all...
 
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Hero999

Banned
The Mad Professor said:
For instance if the Nitonol generator was coupled to the cooling water system of an automobile , it could turn the alternator and power the electrical system without putting a mechanical load on the engine, which means more power is available to the wheels with a small improvement in fuel efficency and continue to work even after the engine was switched off for a short time.
But how much of an energy saving would you actually get?

A small car might put out 60bhp, that's 44.7kW. Somehow I don't see how this engine can generate anywhere near enough energy to be worthwhile. Suppose you built onethat could output 2kW; it would fall into insignificance when you compare it to the output of the engine.
 

The Mad Professor

New Member
I can see you have done the math but I feel that comparing one against the other is a meaningless excercise.

Other loads that sap the engines available horsepower of the engine that could be removed by better use of waste energy sources are the pumps for water coolant, lubrication oil and the air conditioning plant.

If not by using a nitonol engine , by somthing more conventional such as a gas turbine producing electricity to power the pumps from using the exhaust gas ( a combustion engine waste product).

Turbo-chargers (vehicle performance enhancer) are a well understood technology that do the work of compressing the vehicles air intake without requiring power from the engine unlike superchargers will typically swallow 20-30 bhp to do the same job.
 

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