A few months ago, the COVID-19 pandemic forced the world to change in ways we never have thought possible, and that included the shut down of our research labs. Research labs are the heart of our mechanical engineering work, they are where major breakthroughs happen, and where solutions to big world problems begin.
ANN ARBOR—Thermal switches that can effectively control the flow of heat are key to enabling a number of applications ranging from the thermal management of nanoscale devices, refrigeration, data storage, thermal computing all the way to the thermal management of buildings. However, in comparison to the vast array of devices, e.g. transistors and diodes, available to control the flow of electricity there exists currently very few proposals for controlling the flow of heat, especially at the nanoscale.
Heat transfer through a single molecule has been measured for the first time by an international team of researchers led by the University of Michigan. This could be a step toward molecular computing—building circuits up from molecules rather than carving them out of silicon as a way to max out Moore’s Law and make the most powerful conventional computers possible.
The ProQuest Distinguished Dissertation Awards are given out each year to recognize highly accomplished graduate students who have produced outstanding dissertations of the highest scholarly quality in any field of study. For 2018 there were 10 awards given and one was to ME Post-Doctoral Research Fellow, Dakotah Thompson. For his dissertation, Thompson dug deep into a set of questions at the forefront of a cutting-edge field seeking to understand radiative thermal transport at the nanoscale.
Bala Chandran's research into evaluating particle-suspension reactor designs for Z-scheme solar water splitting via transport and kinetic modeling garners some attention in the January 2018 edition of Energy and Environmental Science where it's featured on the journal's inside front cover.
As you stretch gold into a strand one atom thick, an expressway for heat opens up. It's called a quantum of thermal conductance and Michigan Engineers just observed this phenomenon for the first time at room temperature.
They report their results in a paper published online in the journal Science today.