Molly Cotter

World's Smallest Working Heat Engine is the Size of a Hair Follicle!

by , 12/12/11
filed under: News, Renewable Energy

news, renewable energy, green energy, green engines, eco engines, sustainable engines, laser engines, world's smallest heat engine, steam engine, green steam engine, eco steam engine, green heat engine, eco heat engine, clean energy, stirling engine, german physicists

German physicists have just announced the creation of the world’s smallest heat engine! Research teams from the University of Stuttgart and the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems have joined forces to build a super tiny laser powered engine that is only a few micrometers wide — that’s the size of a human hair! With heat and steam engines traditionally powering cars, boats, trains, and planes, this could be a huge leap towards major, clean transportation improvements.


news, renewable energy, green energy, green engines, eco engines, sustainable engines, laser engines, world's smallest heat engine, steam engine, green steam engine, eco steam engine, green heat engine, eco heat engine, clean energy, stirling engine, german physicists

A traditional heat engine — or stirling engine to be exact — works via the compression and expansion of gas at different temperatures, usually heated with coal in a boiler room where the energized gas moves a piston that drives the vehicle.

This new, nearly microscopic engine cleans everything up with the use of water, lasers, and plastic. The gaseous energy is replaced with a tiny plastic bead that floats in water and the piston, or in this case, a laser beam. The laser hits the plastic bead at different intensities, moving it slowly and quickly, similar to the expansion and contraction of gas.

The greatest part is that rather than being heated by shoveling mounds of coal into a fire, the engine warms up in a cleaner form by yet another laser that darts into the water. The heated water and the charged plastic bead bounce off each other, turning out energy to power the engine.

The experiment is still in its developmental stages. While looking through a microscope, scientists have been challenged with issues that don’t even exist in the larger world, making the engine sputter from time to time.

But more importantly, the engine does in fact work, creating clean and considerable possibilities for nearly every kind of industrial motor.

Via TG Daily

lead image via wikimedia commons

Related Posts

LEAVE A COMMENT

or your inhabitat account below

Let's make sure you're a real person:


  • Read Inhabitat

  • Search Categories

  • Recent Posts

  • Recent Comments

  • Browse by Keyword

get the free Inhabitat newsletter

Submit this form
popular today
all time
most commented
more popular stories >
more popular stories >
more popular stories >
Federated Media Publishing - Home