A group of Korean researchers have turned their focus on supplying a reliable, efficient power source for wearables. Professor Byung Jin Cho of the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) and his team, recognizing that supplying power that is stable and reliable is critical to the successful commercialization of wearables, have come up with a wearable power band that made technology news this week. The team noted that a flexible thermoelectric (TE) power generator would be the way to go to realize a wearable self-powered mobile device. They developed a wearable band-shaped item that produces electricity from the heat of the human body, The device size is 10 cm x 10 cm. Wearable electronics must be light, flexible, and equipped with a power source, which could be a portable, long-lasting battery or no battery at all but a generator, according to a KAIST release on Thursday, providing details about their work.
Power arm band for wearables harvests body heat – [Link]
bogdan @ electrobob.com wanted to know how much heat a heatsink can dissipate so he build a simple setup using a temperature sesnsor and a mcu. He writes:
It’s quite a common problem when building electronics that some components need cooling which is usually done through some sort of heatsink and optional fans. Choosing the right cooling solution can be a difficult task because the real life behavior of the system is hard to predict or model. In my case I have faced the simple question quite a few times: how much heat can a cooling system dissipate? The thermal resistance of a particular heatsink may vary quite a lot depending on the surroundings or it can simply be unknown to start with. The aluminum side wall of an enclosure made me build this thing.
This is why I have made this little device: a thermometer, a transistor and a microcontroller with a simple command line interface. I could have answered my questions in quite a lot of simpler ways, but since I made a simple thermometer not much else is needed to control the transistor when a DAC is available in the microcontroller.
Heatsink Tester – [Link]
Any electronic system generates waste heat during normal operation. This heat must be removed – otherwise, it might damage the system components and cause malfunctions. Whether you are designing a system or diagnosing a system’s cooling requirements, you need to know which parameters to look at and how to estimate the airflow that will maintain a safe temperature within the system.
In a typical cabinet-mounted system, there are usually one or two power supplies, electronic circuits and displays, all of which can be assumed to generate heat within the cabinet. From the system’s power requirements, a fair idea of the power input may be estimated. If the system is cooled by simple convection, the thermal capacity of air can be taken to be 0.569W-minute/°C/ft³.
That means, every cubic foot of moving air can remove 0.569 W of dissipated heat every minute when its temperature changes by 1°C. To express it reciprocally, to dissipate 1W of heat, and maintain a 1°C change in temperature, an air stream of 1.757cfm (1.757 cubic feet per minute) will be required. Therefore, once you have estimated the heat dissipation within the system, estimating a cooling fan’s rating in cfm will depend on the internal temperature rise you allow. However, until you have completed your measurements and fitted the right size of fan, there will always be the risk of failure of system components. Therefore, for experimentation, what you need is a representative model.
Yes, this video is really short, but it’s stunning once you know what’s actually going on: [via]
In the lab, University of Minnesota researchers show how a new multiferroic material they created begins as a non-magnetic material then suddenly becomes strongly magnetic as the piece of copper below is heated a small amount. When this happens, it jumps over to a permanent magnet. This demonstration represents the direct conversion of heat to kinetic energy.
more from ScienceDaily:
Researchers say the material could potentially be used to capture waste heat from a car’s exhaust that would heat the material and produce electricity for charging the battery in a hybrid car. Other possible future uses include capturing rejected heat from industrial and power plants or temperature differences in the ocean to create electricity. The research team is looking into possible commercialization of the technology.
To create the material, the research team combined elements at the atomic level to create a new multiferroic alloy, Ni45Co5Mn40Sn10. Multiferroic materials combine unusual elastic, magnetic and electric properties. The alloy Ni45Co5Mn40Sn10 achieves multiferroism by undergoing a highly reversible phase transformation where one solid turns into another solid. During this phase transformation the alloy undergoes changes in its magnetic properties that are exploited in the energy conversion device.
During a small-scale demonstration in a University of Minnesota lab, the new material created by the researchers 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. Some of this heat energy is lost in a process called hysteresis. A critical discovery of the team is a systematic way to minimize hysteresis in phase transformations. The team’s research was recently published in the first issue of the new scientific journal Advanced Energy Materials.
New Alloy Converts Heat Directly into Electricity – [Link]
John McMaster writes: [via]
Many people use concentrated acids to decapsulate ICs. One alternative is to heat them up to a high temperature and then drop them to a low temperature quickly. The high temperature was supplied by a butane torch and the cold temperature from a salted ice water bath. From the brief experiments I did today, the ideal chip seems to be large, have a metal plate (large expansion constant difference), and have a passivation layer that expands under heat (pushes epoxy off of die). This chip has all three and was decapsulated in less than a minute. It does have some small amount of residue on it, but chips can be cleaned in various ways.
Using Heat Shock to Open an IC Package – [Link]
In everything from computer processor chips to car engines to electric powerplants, the need to get rid of excess heat creates a major source of inefficiency. But new research points the way to a technology that might make it possible to harvest much of that wasted heat and turn it into usable electricity.
Turning heat to electricity – [Link]