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Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Tech Transfer

Heat Harvesting by Artificial Muscles

Completed Technology Project

Project Description

Heat Harvesting by Artificial Muscles Project Image
NASA emphasizes the need to implement energy harvesting in its future mission activities, as well as to conserve on energy and to enhance the sustainability of NASA's facilities. By harvesting energy from the ambient surroundings, there is less dependence on a primary power supply (e.g., combustion engines, fuel cells, batteries, solar cells, etc., and even AC electricity for ground applications), and a possibility for independent operation of assorted electronic and mechanical devices, including remote and wireless sensors. Differential heat sources are very abundant, both in ground and space scenarios. For this STTR application, Lynntech has teamed up with Dr. Ray Baughman (Director of NanoTech Institute, University of Texas at Dallas) to pioneer the use of artificial muscles (also known as coiled polymer actuators) as an advanced method for energy harvesting. The proposed innovative technology for efficient capture and conversion of thermal energy is very versatile: it can convert heat into mechanical and electrical energy, and it can heat harvest under typical ambient environments, under high intensity energy environments (as found in propulsion testing and launch facilities), and under cryogenic temperatures. Therefore, the proposed technology can be adapted for use in multiple space and ground applications for heat capture and conversion. More »

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