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Thermopower Wave: Nanotube Electron Entrainment

  1. Mar 8, 2010 #1
    Apparently, carrying out an exothermic reaction along the length of a nanotube can result in a "thermopower wave" which results from "electron entrainment" (a wave propagating along the nanotube which pushes electrons along, resulting in a power spike)


    So what can this be used for? What is the efficiency of conversion of the chemical energy into electrical energy?

    Is there some special conversion efficiency advantage being achieved here because of nanotubes being an alleged "quantum wire"?

    Could you use this as a bulk electrochemical material to power an ion engine and obtain very high thrust without using a nuclear reactor?
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2010
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 9, 2010 #2
    Here's a BBC news article with a video embedded:


    I wonder if there is some way to use nano-structured chemical fuel to optimize the mass ejection, so that as high a mass-fraction as possible would travel on an exactly anti-parallel trajectory, to maximize action-reaction.
  4. Mar 12, 2010 #3
  5. Mar 13, 2010 #4


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    From previous link:
    Haven't yet read the paper, but I find the bit about introducing a "new phenomenon" somewhat mystifying. After all, phonon drag (and specifically phonon drag thermopower) has been studied in 2DEGs for nearly a couple decades now.
  6. Sep 20, 2010 #5
    I was just musing further on the "thermopower wave" effect.

    We have all heard of nitrous oxide injectors being used to boost gasoline combustion engines - this was developed in WW2 for temporarily boosting the speed of aircraft.

    Could the thermopower wave effect be used to create a power surge/spike that could strongly boost the speed or accelerative torque of an electric motor in similar fashion?
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