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Rapidly Reversible Organic Crystalline Switch for Conversion of Heat into Mechanical Energy

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posted on 06.04.2021, 17:10 by Madushani Dharmarwardana, Srimanta Pakhira, Raymond P. Welch, Carlos Caicedo-Narvaez, Michael A. Luzuriaga, Bhargav S. Arimilli, Gregory T. McCandless, Babak Fahimi, Jose L. Mendoza-Cortes, Jeremiah J. Gassensmith
Solid-state thermoelastic behaviora sudden exertion of an expansive or contractive physical force following a temperature change and phase transition in a solid-state compoundis rare in organic crystals, few are reversible systems, and most of these are limited to a dozen or so cycles before the crystal degrades or they reverse slowly over the course of many minutes or even hours. Comparable to thermosalience, wherein crystal phase changes induce energetic jumping, thermomorphism produces physical work via consistent and near-instantaneous predictable directional force. In this work, we show a fully reversible thermomorphic actuator that is stable at room temperature for multiple years and is capable of actuation for more than 200 cycles at near-ambient temperature. Specifically, the crystals shrink to 90% of their original length instantaneously upon heating beyond 45 °C and expand back to their original length upon cooling below 35 °C. Furthermore, the phase transition occurs instantaneously, with little obvious hysteresis, allowing us to create real-time actuating thermal fuses that cycle between on and off rapidly.