Nitinol is an incredibly unique metal with the ability to completely free humanity from dependency on oil for energy production. This anomylous metal alloy, consisting of nickel and titanium, has the strange ability to memorize any shape, and with a little heat, it will return to that shape with vigorous force.
By elevating its temperature to 500°C while in the desired shape, the metal memory of nitinol becomes trained. Once the memory is formed and the metal is allowed to cool to room temperature, heating nitinol to it’s transition temperature, will make it abruptly return to it’s trained shape with potent force (as much as 55 tons/square inch). After nitinol has been trained, exposure to cold temperature will cause the reverse reaction, making it ideal for building efficient, cheap, reliable, and safe engines. Even more incredible – in some devices, the effect gets stronger with repetition!
As far back as 1974 researchers were working on energy devices using nitinol, and in 1978, a conference sponsored by the US Navy and the Department of Energy was held, where “Eight different prototype engines, all working, were displayed by 7 inventors.” All prototypes can be found in the paper called Proceedings of NITINOL Heat Engine Conference (1978).
Despite the United States Navy declaring to the Department of Energy that the development of nitinol heat engines would clearly serve the national interests by helping reduce petroleum energy dependence, this technology was swept under the rug and forgotten… until now.
Benefits of Nitinol:
- Made from abundant elements: Nickel and Titanium
- Not difficult to make
- Could run for days, weeks, or years without maintenance
- Possible to efficiently scale up this engine to Kilowatts or Megawatts of power
Possible Heat Sources for Nitinol Engines
Engineered with a low temperature differential, Nitinol heat engines can utilize heat from friction (or general waste heat), or heat can be taken directly from the environment (Solar, Geothermal, ground source, etc). They can also be powered by repeatable chemical reactions using gasses, or even using relatively small amounts of electricity.
New developments in nitinol engineering have brought down the transition temperature of nitinol to room temperature! Air temperature nitinol might be the best for most uses, because the motor can run using air temperature (greater than 69 degrees F), and cool water. There is no need to heat up water as the air itself will supply the heat, and the task to keep the motor running will be to keep the cold side about 20 degrees cooler.
Nitinol could power the entire world – It’s non polluting, safe, get’s stronger the more it’s used, cheap to produce, and would after a short time not cost anything. It’s clear this is one of the greatest examples of technological suppression this world has ever seen. Thankfully we have the internet and many people interested in building these devices for all to use.
Miniature Toy Nitinol Heat Engines
How to Make your Own Nitinol Heat Engine
There are many different ways a nitinol heat engine can be built. The prototypes above can give you some ideas, or you can take a look at the 8 presented at the Proceedings of NITINOL Heat Engine Conference in 1978 for more ideas. (Download)
Below is more information about the example shown in the video above on nitinol.
Whatever the type of nitinol motor you wish to create for yourself, it’s important that you find high quality materials. At EndAllDisease.com, we would never write you this article without giving you the materials you need to build your own nitinol motor, so below you will find 70°F transition temperature nitinol in different sizes.
Superelastic vs Shape Memory Nitinol
Just a word of warning, make sure you’re using SHAPE MEMORY nitinol, not superelastic. Most of the nitinol available on the market today is superelastic. The difference between superelastic and shape memory nitinol is basic, but it causes confusion for many people. Whereas superelastic nitinol is very springy – you would have a very hard time bending it, shape memory nitinol can be bent at low temperatures and then heated to be restored to the original shape.
Nitinol Heat Engine Construction Materials
What diameter wire do I need?
If you need something based on strength, then you need to calculate the recovery force needed. The recovery force is approximately 25,000 psi (172 MPa). This means that a 0.020” (0.5mm) Heavy Duty wire can exert a force of roughly 8 pounds (36 N). Remember, a thicker wire is much easier to see and more exciting to watch than a standard wire.
The memory shape may be set by holding the Nitinol wire in a predetermined shape, heating the metal to 500°C (950°F), and then quickly cooling it by immersion in water. Once set, the wire can be bent or deformed just about any way imaginable. Then just dunk the wire in hot water or heat it in some other way past its transformation temperature, and it snaps back into its original shape.
This article was written to inspire and enable small scale engineers, inventors, and tinkerers alike to produce a prototype that can be presented open-source on this website for the world to use to build themselves an engine to power their homes. If you have developed an nitinol heat engine, or know somebody who has, use this page as a forum and post an update or comment below, or contact us at email@example.com.