Remember the electrically-heated hunting socks or the self-heating blanket? The two devices were used in order to turn electrical energy into heat. But what if I told you that you can do that operation, but only in reverse? MIT tinkers with a new heat absorbing material, guaranteed to change our view on energy storing.
Just imagine the possibilities: very soon we can use this technology in order to melt the ice away from our frontal windshield or we can weave the material in certain fabrics in order to create self-heating jackets.
The team of researchers from MIT who developed this outstanding material made a couple of declaration concerning their project. They said that it all started with the concept of storing energy. Traditionally, solar energy cells harvest energy from the sun and then stores it in capacitors in the form of electrical energy.
Although this technology is considered a good alternative, it does have its limitations. According to the team in charge of this project, the new material devised at MIT harvests the energy of the sun and stores it in a chemical state. By using this method, the stored solar energy can be kept in a stable configuration for a very long time.
The new material used to store solar energy is made from numerous layers of polymer. After the material stores enough energy, as stated, it can save it in a chemical state. The saved energy can be then unleashed using a jolt of heat and electrical energy.
This is not the first time scientists try to tackle the idea of storing solar energy in a chemical state. One of the scientists working on the project, by the name of David Zhitomirsky, declared that, in the past, all attempts at devising a device that can store energy in a chemical state were unsuccessful. This was due to the fact that scientist used liquid solutions for energy storage.
But the new material, being in a solid state, is more versatile in storing energy. Moreover, the new material can be incorporated into any number of devices. For example, vehicle manufacturers can use the new material in order to construct self-heating frontal windshields.
Traditionally, only the back windshield are equipped with ice-melting systems, which came in the form of thin metal wires, embedded in the windshield. An attempt was made to incorporate the same system in the frontal windshield but was later banned due to the fact that it limits the driver’s visibility.
According to the researchers, the new material, if embedded into a device, can increase the overall temperature by 10 degrees Celsius.
Before shipping out the material, the team must perform several refining procedures. Moreover, by the time the material leaves the lab, the team wants to increase its heat output to 20 degrees Celsius.