Physicists Discover Energy Storage Breakthrough

 

A team of researchers has discovered a new method which makes solid materials melt more rapidly… and that is much more consequential than it sounds. If a heating agent is applied in a “branching pattern” (as in the photo of a tree above) and allowed to flow through the solid material unimpeded, then the solid material will melt much more rapidly than it would otherwise. The results of the study were published in the Journal of Applied Physics.

The traditional architecture is to embed a heating and cooling coil in the phase change material, but our research shows that what happens naturally is also the best way to spread the heat into the volume: it is a dendritic structure, like a hand with many fingers,

said Adrian Bejan of Duke University, who participated in the research.

These findings have important implications for the improvement of phase change energy storage systems, which store energy using the transition of a material (such as salt or wax) from solid to liquid. If branching allows the solid material to melt using less heat energy, then this means of energy storage will be made much more efficient and its viability as an alternative to large-scale battery systems will be increased substantially.

 

Read more here – “Improving Energy Storage with a Cue from Nature,” (Phys.org).

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