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Left to Right: Richard James, Yintao Song, Kanwal Bhatti and Vijay Srivastava  (Source: University of Minnesota)
The new multiferroic alloy is called Ni45Co5Mn40Sn10

A new step toward environmentally friendly electricity has been made through the discovery of a new alloy material that converts heat into electricity directly. 

Richard James, study leader and University of Minnesota aerospace engineering and mechanics professor, along with University of Minnesota aerospace engineering and mechanics post-doctoral researchers Vijay Srivastava, Kanwal Bhatti and Ph.D. student Yintao Song, have used a new alloy to create electricity from heat. This could eventually lead to capturing waste heat from car exhaust and using it to create electricity for a hybrid car battery, thus recycling energy.

The material was created through the combination of elements at the atomic level. This led to the development of a new multiferroic alloy called Ni45Co5Mn40Sn10. This alloy underwent a "highly reversible" phase transformation where a solid turns into another solid, and during this transformation, its magnetic properties changed. These changes show in the energy conversion instrument. The material starts out as non-magnetic, and then becomes increasingly magnetic as the temperature increases. The material absorbs the heat and produces electricity in a coil.

Some of the recovered heat is lost through the process hysteresis, but the University of Minnesota team found a way to reduce this process and absorb more heat. 

"This research is very promising because it presents an entirely new method for energy conversion that's never been done before," said James. "It's also the ultimate 'green' way to create electricity because it uses waste heat to create electricity with no carbon dioxide." 

The team is also working on making a thin film of the material to convert heat from computers into electricity. 

"This research crosses all boundaries of science and engineering," said James. "It includes engineering, physics, materials, chemistry, mathematics and more. It has required all of us within the university's College of Science and Engineering to work together to think in new ways."

This study was published in Advanced Energy Materials.

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the greater implication
By Chernobyl68 on 6/27/2011 2:14:35 PM , Rating: 2
is at power much of the fuel consumed for electricity production is lost to the atmoshpere as waste heat. Coal, gas turbine, etc...could all use this technology to recover energy.

RE: the greater implication
By kattanna on 6/27/2011 3:10:10 PM , Rating: 5
This gives a rather low efficiency of 0.004% . In our present designs a lot of the latent heat is not being used to make electricity.

from the actual research paper

not exactly stellar performance there. seems the "big deal" about this material is it can generate power from a smaller temperature difference then most materials, but is still very poor at the conversion itself.

RE: the greater implication
By icanhascpu on 6/27/11, Rating: -1
RE: the greater implication
By Bad-Karma on 6/27/2011 4:34:35 PM , Rating: 5
Whatever floats your boat. But it will probably give you some kind of a rash.

RE: the greater implication
By snakeInTheGrass on 6/27/2011 4:49:16 PM , Rating: 3
Pound sand?

RE: the greater implication
By FITCamaro on 6/27/11, Rating: 0
RE: the greater implication
By SPOOFE on 6/27/2011 7:06:42 PM , Rating: 2
G'huh? What's so awful about recognizing that one can get a desirable thing from a better source than what's currently used?

RE: the greater implication
By delphinus100 on 6/27/2011 7:21:55 PM , Rating: 5
Agreed. It's all that.

Now, does the expression 'Faustian Bargain' mean anything to you...?

RE: the greater implication
By RedemptionAD on 6/28/2011 7:11:03 AM , Rating: 3
Are you implying that FIT made a deal with the devil in exchange for an 100 extra HP in his GTO?

RE: the greater implication
By Manch on 6/28/2011 8:56:51 AM , Rating: 2
Well it is a GTO. He has options other than giving up his soul to get a faster car. He could just trade it in for a Mustang GT!

RE: the greater implication
By Bad-Karma on 6/28/2011 11:13:24 PM , Rating: 2
GTO vs. Mustang GT....Sorry, but the cool points to the guy with the GTO.

RE: the greater implication
By Manch on 6/29/2011 9:09:26 AM , Rating: 2
He can keep the cool points. I'll take the faster ET!

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