Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Research outlines math framework that could help convert 'junk' energy into useful power

Date:
August 9, 2011
Source:
University at Buffalo
Summary:
Researchers have developed a mathematical framework that could one day form the basis of technologies that turn road vibrations, airport runway noise and other "junk" energy into useful power.

When "designer" particles like these are placed next to one another, the way mechanical energy travels through them is profoundly affected, according to new research.
Credit: Surajit Sen

A University at Buffalo-led research team has developed a mathematical framework that could one day form the basis of technologies that turn road vibrations, airport runway noise and other "junk" energy into useful power.

The concept all begins with a granular system comprising a chain of equal-sized particles -- spheres, for instance -- that touch one another.

In a paper in Physical Review E this June, UB theoretical physicist Surajit Sen and colleagues describe how altering the shape of grain-to-grain contact areas between the particles dramatically changes how energy propagates through the system.

Under "normal" circumstances, when the particles are perfect spheres, exerting force on the first sphere in the chain causes energy to travel through the spheres as a compact bundle of energy between 3 to 5 particle diameters wide, at a rate set by Hertz's Law.

But Sen and his collaborators have discovered that by altering the shape of the surface area of each particle where it presses against the next, it is possible to change how the energy moves. While this finding is yet to be demonstrated experimentally, Sen said that "mathematically, it's correct. We have proven it."

"What this work means is that by tweaking force propagation from one grain to another, we can potentially channel energy in controllable ways, which includes slowing down how energy moves, varying the space across which it moves and potentially even holding some of it down," said Sen, a professor of physics whose partners on the project included former graduate student Diankang Sun, now of New Mexico Resonance in Albuquerque, and Chiara Daraio, a professor at the California Institute of Technology.

"What we have managed to accomplish is we have broadened Hertz's theory with some extremely simple modifications," Sen said. "If I hit one end of the chain of particles, the perturbation will travel as an energy bundle. Now we can tune and control that energy." This modification to Heinrich Hertz's theory comes 130 years after Hertz's work was published, Sen said.

While the Physical Review E paper describes a granular, mechanical system, Sen believes the mathematical framework his team developed could be realized using electrical circuit systems as well. One practical application he foresees from such technology: "We could have chips that take energy from road vibrations, runway noise from airports -- energy that we are not able to make use of very well -- and convert it into pulses, packets of electrical energy, that become useful power."

"You give me noise," Sen said, "I give you organized bundles."

The study was supported by the Army Research Office and National Science Foundation.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University at Buffalo. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Diankang Sun, Chiara Daraio, Surajit Sen. Nonlinear repulsive force between two solids with axial symmetry. Physical Review E, 2011; 83 (6) DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevE.83.066605

Cite This Page:

University at Buffalo. "Research outlines math framework that could help convert 'junk' energy into useful power." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 9 August 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/07/110720142632.htm>.
University at Buffalo. (2011, August 9). Research outlines math framework that could help convert 'junk' energy into useful power. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/07/110720142632.htm
University at Buffalo. "Research outlines math framework that could help convert 'junk' energy into useful power." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/07/110720142632.htm (accessed October 21, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Traditional Farming Methods Gaining Ground in Mali

Traditional Farming Methods Gaining Ground in Mali

AFP (Oct. 20, 2014) He is leading a one man agricultural revolution in Mali - Oumar Diatabe uses traditional farming methods to get the most out of his land and is teaching others across the country how to do the same. Duration: 01:44 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Detroit's Money Woes Led To U.N.-Condemned Water Cutoffs

How Detroit's Money Woes Led To U.N.-Condemned Water Cutoffs

Newsy (Oct. 20, 2014) The United Nations says water is a human right, but should it be free? Detroit has cut off water to residents who can't pay, and the U.N. isn't happy. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Hey, Doc! Sewage, Beer and Food Scraps Can Power Chevrolet’s Bi-Fuel Impala

Hey, Doc! Sewage, Beer and Food Scraps Can Power Chevrolet’s Bi-Fuel Impala

3BL Media (Oct. 20, 2014) Hey, Doc! Sewage, Beer and Food Scraps Can Power Chevrolet’s Bi-fuel Impala Video provided by 3BL
Powered by NewsLook.com
White Rhino's Death In Kenya Means Just 6 Are Left

White Rhino's Death In Kenya Means Just 6 Are Left

Newsy (Oct. 20, 2014) Suni, a rare northern white rhino at Ol Pejeta Conservancy, died Friday. This, as many media have pointed out, leaves people fearing extinction. Video provided by Newsy
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


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

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