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Center Innovation Fund: SSC CIF

Electro-Thermal Actuation Control for Unlocking Memory Metal Power Generation & Energy Conversion

Completed Technology Project

Project Introduction

Electro-Thermal Actuation Control for Unlocking Memory Metal Power Generation & Energy Conversion

The work will be subdivided into four stages. The first stage will construct a test bed fixture with actively cooled and heated side blocks on two sides of a Nitinol memory actuator. EFA techniques will than be employed to alternately draw thermal energy to the Nitinol actuator from the thermally controlled side blocks. Once effective arrangements are obtained the thermal flow attributes will be characterized with the aid of thermal imaging for designing a fully enclosed housing. From this, an Electro-Thermal Actuation Control can be designed with no moving parts and very low power consumption. The second stage will involve control circuitry development. The circuitry for continually alternating the thermal energy pull from the hot and cool blocks will be designed, constructed and refined into a footprint suitable for packaging into prototype devices. The third stage will employ energy generating coils. The coils will be constructed and added to the test bed arrangements for exploring the energy generating capabilities of the apparatus. The fourth stage will refine the entire system into a prototype unit. The prototype unit will be constructed with a thermal fin for air cooling on one side with a thermal mounting block on the other. This will allow experimental data collection to be gathered when the unit is fixed firmly against thermal sources. The unit will be used to evaluate the net power generation from different thermal sources. The potential to obtain around 1000 watts of power when fastened to a modest thermal source from the table top sized prototype is highly probable.

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