Browsing all articles tagged with thermopower wave

Chemically driven thermopower waves

nanotube conducting heatA team of scientists at MIT have discovered a previously unknown phenomenon that can cause powerful waves of energy to shoot through minuscule wires known as carbon nanotubes. The discovery could lead to a new way of producing electricity, the researchers say.

The phenomenon, described as thermopower waves, “opens up a new area of energy research, which is rare,” says Michael Strano, who was the senior author of a paper describing the new findings that appeared in Nature Materials. The lead author was Wonjoon Choi, a doctoral student in mechanical engineering.

A carbon nanotube (shown in the illustration made by Christine Daniloff) can produce a very rapid wave of power when it is coated by a layer of fuel and ignited, so that heat travels along the tube. Like a collection of flotsam propelled along the surface by waves travelling across the ocean, it turns out that a thermal wave — a moving pulse of heat — travelling along a microscopic wire can drive electrons along, creating an electrical current.

read more