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Nanotube 'fuse' generates power
Chemistry World ^ | 10 March 2010 | Jon Cartwright

Posted on 03/11/2010 4:16:52 PM PST by neverdem

CNT wrapped in TNA
Carbon nanotubes are wrapped in TNA

© Nature Materials
A fundamentally new type of power generation may be on the horizon thanks to researchers in the US and Korea who have created a nanotube 'fuse' that harnesses the energy from chemical reactions. The device converts chemical energy into electrical energy, yet is so small compared with traditional batteries that it opens the door to applications such as floating sensors or new fuel cells. 

Carbon nanotubes are known to have unusually high thermal conductivity because of a streamlined way in which packets of heat energy, known as phonons, can travel through the structures. Recent theory shows that if the average distance between phonon collisions matches the physical size of an external exothermic reaction, the phonons should be able to create an accelerating 'reaction wave' that quickly spreads down the nanotube. 

Michael Strano and colleagues at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, US, and Sungkyunkwan University, Korea, have now demonstrated such a reaction wave. What's more, they have shown how it can create a parallel 'thermopower wave' to convert an exothermic reaction's heat into electricity. 'This creates a new area of energy research,' says Strano. 

To create their device, Strano's group wraps a 7nm-thick layer of fuel known as cyclotrimethylene trinitramine (TNA) around a nanotube. After the TNA is ignited, the reaction wave begins to travel through the structure while coupling back to unspent TNA - like a 'fuse on steroids', according to Strano. In turn, this feedback creates the thermopower wave, which generates a parallel electrical current. 

Thermopower wave

Ignition at one end of a TNA-CNT results in an exothermic reaction and heat transfer along the length of the CNT, with feedback

© Nature Materials

There are already applications on the cards for such nanotube power generators. One advantage is that, once all their fuel is spent, they can be reloaded with more. This opens the door to a new type of fuel cell, in which a liquid fuel such as methanol is injected onto a nanotube array for thermopower generation, and then re-injected once it is used up. Although this sort of technology would require more research, it has the potential for much higher efficiency than traditional combustion engines, and would have no moving parts. 

In addition, the feather-like weight of nanotubes means they could power all sorts of ultra-small devices. 'Imagine sensors that could float in the air like dust, but send out a cell phone signal when asked,' suggests Strano. 


W Choi et alNature Materials, 2010, DOI: 10.1038/NMAT2714

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TOPICS: Culture/Society; News/Current Events; Technical
KEYWORDS: cnt; energy; fuelcell; phonons
Chemically driven carbon-nanotube-guided thermopower waves

cyclotrimethylene trinitramine

1 posted on 03/11/2010 4:16:52 PM PST by neverdem
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To: neverdem

This is such a relief.

For the past few years I’ve been powering our home with several thousand electric eels, and it’s getting old. This will be much simpler to implement and the maintenance will be easier.

2 posted on 03/11/2010 4:22:58 PM PST by KoRn (Department of Homeland Security, Certified - "Right Wing Extremist")
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To: neverdem


3 posted on 03/11/2010 4:23:22 PM PST by Rumplemeyer
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To: KoRn

Yeah...I know. It’s a bitch grounding ‘em before you eat ‘em when they get old.

4 posted on 03/11/2010 4:27:11 PM PST by RightOnline
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To: neverdem

Gee, I wonder how many tax dollars were contributed to this wonderful experiment, and how much it’s going to cost us to buy the end product.

5 posted on 03/11/2010 4:28:20 PM PST by wizr (Keep the Faith! Even when it gets tough! Nothing else will do.)
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To: neverdem

Sorry, 22 years too late- It`s already been discovered:

The HEAT has been generating energy waves in Miami since 1988. They are generated when a phonon ball is plunked into a nano-bucket and 3 degrees of HEAT is produced. This excites the large chamber full of fans which produces an even Larger WAVE around the chamber, causing more buckets. This exothermic reaction continues until the whole chamber is cooled off with gallons of beer causing a draft in the chamber for the next season.

6 posted on 03/11/2010 4:34:29 PM PST by bunkerhill7
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To: El Gato; Ernest_at_the_Beach; Robert A. Cook, PE; lepton; LadyDoc; jb6; tiamat; PGalt; Dianna; ...
Alzheimer's 'Epidemic' Hitting Minorities Hardest

Hopes for Alzheimer’s Drug Are Dashed

Disease Cause Is Pinpointed With Genome

Canadian vaccination study proves 'herd immunity'

FReepmail me if you want on or off my health and science ping list.

7 posted on 03/11/2010 4:34:31 PM PST by neverdem (Xin loi minh oi)
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To: KoRn

Stick some diodes in them and we might have see-in-the-dark unagi. DUDE!!!!!

8 posted on 03/11/2010 4:53:25 PM PST by tanuki (The only color of a leader that should matter is the color of his spine.)
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To: neverdem

Did Someone Say T&A??????

9 posted on 03/11/2010 7:37:18 PM PST by 1FASTGLOCK45 (FreeRepublic: More fun than watching Dem'Rats drown like Turkeys in the rain! ! !)
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