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The invention of shape memory alloys spurred a period of intense interest in the
area of heat engines in the late 70's and early 80's. It was believed that these engines
could use heat from low temperature sources such as solar heated water, geothermal hot
water and rejected heat from conventional engines as a significant source of power. The
interest has since dwindled, largely because small prototype devices developed in the
laboratory could not be scaled up to produce significant power. It is believed that the
scaled-up designs failed because they were dependent on friction as the driving
mechanism, which led to large energy losses and slip. This thesis proposes a new chain
and sprocket driving mechanism that is independent of friction and should therefore
allow for large-scale power generation.
Originally posted by boncho
Kind of old news. There are a few people on ATS who are actively trying to turn this into a feasible technology as we speak.
I wouldn't say suppressed as so much as no useful application has been found for it. Not to say there is none.
just another cool technology suppressed by big oil.
Throw in this difficulty of machining and or acquiring the size and shape of nitinol you want with the great expense of acquiring anything but high gauge nitinol wire and you start to see some of the issues.
Now add in that nitinol really isn't all that much more than 10% efficient at turning heat into motion and you really start to see the issues mounting.