text-only page produced automatically by LIFT Text Transcoder Skip all navigation and go to page contentSkip top navigation and go to directorate navigationSkip top navigation and go to page navigation
National Science Foundation
News
design element
News
News From the Field
For the News Media
Special Reports
Research Overviews
NSF-Wide Investments
Speeches & Lectures
NSF Current Newsletter
Multimedia Gallery
Search Multimedia
Image
Video
Audio
More
Multimedia in the News
NSF Executive Staff
News Archive
 

Email this pagePrint this page
"Hotwired" -- The Discovery Files


The Discovery Files
Audio Play Audio
The Discovery Files podcast is available through iTunes or you can add the RSS feed to your podcast receiver. You can also access the series via AudioNow® by calling 405-875-0058 on any telephone.

Researchers at Purdue University are developing a technique that uses nanotechnology to harvest energy from hot pipes or engine components to potentially recover energy wasted in factories, power plants and cars.

Credit: NSF/Karson Productions

Audio Transcript:

Want More Energy? Try Some Fiber.

I'm Bob Karson with the discovery files--new advances in science and engineering from the National Science Foundation.

58 percent of the energy generated in the U.S. is wasted as heat. Think hot car engines. (Sound effect: car start) Now researchers at Purdue University are developing a technique that uses nanotechnology to potentially recover energy wasted in factories, power plants and cars.

The team is using flexible glass fibers coated with nanocrystals of a thermoelectric material, which, when heated on one side, causes electrons to flow to the cooler side--generating electric current. (Sound effect: sound of electric arc) Conventional devices that do this are formed from large discs or blocks, and require a large amount of material that is very brittle. The fibers need much less material, and can be wrapped around irregular shapes like engines and exhaust pipes.

Bonus! The process also works in reverse. Apply electrical current and the system absorbs heat and becomes a cooling device. No compressors or refrigerants required. In the future, the team hopes to use polymer fibers instead of glass--that could be woven into a fabric to make cooling garments.

The developers have applied for a patent on the fiber-coating concept, and want to make refinements to improve efficiency. A new way to generate energy from wasted heat is an energetic idea we can all warm up to.

"The discovery files" covers projects funded by the government's national science foundation. Federally sponsored research--brought to you, by you! Learn more at nsf.gov or on our podcast.

 
General Restrictions:
Images and other media in the National Science Foundation Multimedia Gallery are available for use in print and electronic material by NSF employees, members of the media, university staff, teachers and the general public. All media in the gallery are intended for personal, educational and nonprofit/non-commercial use only.

Images credited to the National Science Foundation, a federal agency, are in the public domain. The images were created by employees of the United States Government as part of their official duties or prepared by contractors as "works for hire" for NSF. You may freely use NSF-credited images and, at your discretion, credit NSF with a "Courtesy: National Science Foundation" notation. Additional information about general usage can be found in Conditions.

MP3 icon
NSF podcasts are in mp3 format for easy download to desktop and laptops, as well as mobile devices capable of playing them.

 



Email this pagePrint this page
Back to Top of page