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New alloy converts heat to ‘green’ electricity

June 23, 2011

A new alloy material that can convert waste heat directly into electricity has been developed by researchers at the University of Minnesota College of Science and Engineering.

They created a new multiferroic alloy, Ni45Co5Mn40Sn10. Multiferroic materials combine unusual elastic, magnetic and electric properties. The new material begins as a non-magnetic material, then suddenly becomes strongly magnetic when the temperature is raised a small amount. When this happens, the material absorbs heat and spontaneously produces electricity in a surrounding coil.

Ref.: R. D. James, et al., The Direct Conversion of Heat to Electricity Using Multiferroic Alloys, Advanced Energy Materials, 2011; [DOI: 10.1002/aenm.201000048]

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