This video is short, and really pretty boring if you don’t know what’s going on. Shown is a chunk of new alloy (Ni45Co5Mn40Sn10) that undergoes a phase change, at about 125C, from a nonmagnetic material to one that is strongly magnetic. If you bias the system with an additional, permanent magnet, heating the system past the transition temperature produces an electric current in a nearby coil, thereby converting heat to electricity. The alloy was produced by Vijay Srivastava, Yintao Song, Kanwal Bhatti, and R. D. James at the University of Minnesota and recently published in Advanced Energy Materials. [via adafruit]

Sean Michael Ragan

Sean Michael Ragan

I am descended from 5,000 generations of tool-using primates. Also, I went to college and stuff. I am a long-time contributor to MAKE magazine and makezine.com. My work has also appeared in ReadyMade, c’t – Magazin für Computertechnik, and The Wall Street Journal.


  • Anonymous

    :-o       :-}

  • Anonymous

    :-o       :-}

  • Anonymous

    If that heat conversion is tamed, goodbye pollution as all the friction losses in drivelines disappears, resulting in lighter and less expensive vehicles, driven by regenerative motors in the hubs in place of brakes.

  • Anonymous

    If that heat conversion is tamed, goodbye pollution as all the friction losses in drivelines disappears, resulting in lighter and less expensive vehicles, driven by regenerative motors in the hubs in place of brakes.

  • Dave

    Phase-change == large amount of heat input for small temperature change.
    Heat input equates to energy into the system. Induced electrical current out will undoubtably supply much less energy…

    Useful for temperature controlled switches, though.