Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Tiny generators turn waste heat into power

Date:
September 29, 2010
Source:
American Institute of Physics
Summary:
Researchers have uncovered a novel way to power tiny devices using waste heat. Arrays of tiny ferroelectric nanowires have been shown to rapidly generate a current in response to any change in the ambient temperature.

The second law of thermodynamics is a big hit with the beret-wearing college crowd because of its implicit existential crunch. The tendency of a closed systems to become increasingly disordered if no energy is added or removed is a popular, if not depressing, "things fall apart" sort-of-law that would seem to confirm the adolescent experience.

Related Articles


Now a joint team of Ukrainian and American scientists has demanded more work and less poetry from the second law of thermodynamics, proposing a novel "pyroelectric" method to power tiny devices using waste heat.

Using tiny structures called ferroelectric nanowires, they can rapidly generate an electrical current in response to any change in the ambient temperature, harvesting otherwise wasted energy from thermal fluctuations. Their report appears in the Journal of Applied Physics, which is published by the American Institute of Physics.

Explains lead researcher Anna Morozovska of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, "The second law of thermodynamics rules modern life: Through all kinds of industry, humans consistently produce an enormous amount of waste heat. However, the laws of thermodynamics do not exclude rescuing some of this energy by harvesting the thermal fluctuations to produce electricity."

Pyroelectrictricity can play key role in consumer electronics, says Morozovska, and recovering this heat in the form of pyroelectric energy may bring about a new era of "tiny energy." Pyroelectric nanogenerators could be extremely useful for powering specific tasks in biological applications, medicine and nanotechnology, particularly in space because they perform well in low temperatures.

In an investigation of the pyroelectric properties of ferroelectric nanowires, the team analyzed how the pyroelectric coefficient corresponds to the radius of the wire and its coupling. They found that the smaller the wire radius, the more the pyroelectric coefficient diverges until a critical radius at which the response changes to paraelectric (above the Curie temperature). This so-called "size effect" could be used to tune the phase transition temperatures in ferroelectric nanostructures, thus enabling a system with a large, tunable, pyroelectric response.

In theory, the use of rectifying contacts could enable the polarized ferroelectric nanowire to generate a giant, pyroelectric, direct current and voltage in response to temperature fluctuations that could be harvested and detected using a bolometric detector. Such a nanoscale device would not contain any moving parts and could be suitable for long-term operation in ambient applications such as in-vitro biological systems and outer space. The researchers calculate that these little nanogenerators would have very high efficiency at low temperatures, decreasing at warmer temperatures.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Institute of Physics. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. A. N. Morozovska, E. A. Eliseev, G. S. Svechnikov, S. V. Kalinin. Pyroelectric response of ferroelectric nanowires: Size effect and electric energy harvesting. Journal of Applied Physics, 2010; 108 (4): 042009 DOI: 10.1063/1.3474964

Cite This Page:

American Institute of Physics. "Tiny generators turn waste heat into power." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 29 September 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/09/100928161004.htm>.
American Institute of Physics. (2010, September 29). Tiny generators turn waste heat into power. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 28, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/09/100928161004.htm
American Institute of Physics. "Tiny generators turn waste heat into power." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/09/100928161004.htm (accessed January 28, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Matter & Energy News

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

'Brand Blocker' Glasses Blur Ads in Real Time

'Brand Blocker' Glasses Blur Ads in Real Time

Buzz60 (Jan. 28, 2015) A team of college students design and build a pair of goggles that will obscure any corporate branding from your field of vision. Jen Markham (@jenmarkham) has the story. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Amplifying Tiny Movements to Visualize the Invisible

Amplifying Tiny Movements to Visualize the Invisible

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Jan. 28, 2015) A new video recording method that amplifies seemingly invisible motion could lead to a touch-free vital signs monitor, and offer a new tool for engineers to gauge stresses on bridges and tunnels in real time. Ben Gruber reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Boeing's Profit Soars

Boeing's Profit Soars

Reuters - Business Video Online (Jan. 28, 2015) Boeing delivered more commercial planes, especially 737s and 787s, fueling profit. But it issued a mixed outlook. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Robot Replacements for Foxconn's Workers

Robot Replacements for Foxconn's Workers

Reuters - Business Video Online (Jan. 28, 2015) Foxconn parent Hon Hai Precision Industry is looking to automation to keep productivity up without the rising costs of human labor. Meg Teckman reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins