Home > slashdot > Heat Engines Shrunk By Seven Orders of Magnitude

Heat Engines Shrunk By Seven Orders of Magnitude

January 22nd, 2010 01:29 admin Leave a comment Go to comments

KentuckyFC writes “The vast majority of motors that power our planes, trains, and automobiles are heat engines. They rely on the rapid expansion of gas as it heats up to generate movement. But attempts to shrink them by any significant amount have mostly ended in failure. Today, the smallest heat engines have a volume of some 10^7 cubic micrometers. Now group of Dutch engineers has built a heat engine that is seven orders of magnitude smaller than this. The engine consists of a piezoelectric bar that expands and contracts in the normal piezoelectric way. However it also heats up and cools at the same time causing a thermal expansion and contraction, which lags the piezoelectric displacement. By carefully choosing the frequency of the driving AC current, the Dutch team found a resonant effect in which the thermal expansion and contraction amplifies the mechanical motion, making it a true heat engine. Operating the thermodynamic cycle in reverse turns the device into a heat pump or refrigerator. The total volume of the device is just 0.5 cubic micrometres.”

Source: Heat Engines Shrunk By Seven Orders of Magnitude

Related Articles:

  1. Judge Orders Hundreds of Websites Delisted From Search Engines, Social Networks
  2. Laptop Heat May Cause ‘Toasted Skin Syndrome’
  3. Looking To Better Engines Instead of Electric Vehicles
  4. Hyves Sold To Media Group, As European Social Networks Feel The Facebook Heat
  5. 7.4-Magnitude Earthquake Strikes Off Japan; Tsunami Alert Issued
blog comments powered by Disqus