I favor the use of Nitinol as the substance to replace oil as a primary energy provider. It may be possible for this alloy to supply all of our planets energy needs, and be mass produced in sufficient quantities quickly enough to essentially eliminate the use of oil as a fossil fuel, in less than 5 years. I base this belief on information gleaned from an article published in the October 1981 issue of Science Digest. The article, written by Kevin Sanders was titled Miracle Metal.
Since this article was published, Nitinol has been depicted as being capable of producing only minor amounts of power. The reasons for this misinformation can be speculated upon, and no doubt will be, but there are obviously corporate and political interests involved that did not want Nitinol to replace oil, and still don’t. This decision may have cost us the health of our planet and indirectly the lives of each and every one of us.
If Nitinol can prevent carbon dioxide levels from exceeding 400 ppm. which is the low end of the levels at which global warming becomes irreversible, it must be used, and any entity, political, corporate, or military, that stands in the way of its mass production needs to be put on notice that Foundation governments will have recourse to courts that will of necessity, be aggressively dealing with ecological crimes of criminal negligence, and crimes against humanity.
It is telling perhaps that according to the article, “In the United States, research and development of Nitinol heat engines has been done in a number of private and government research centers, supported by, among others, the Department of Defense, the Navy, NASA, Department of Energy, National Science Foundation, General Motors, Goodyear, McDonnell Douglas, Grumman and Lockheed.” “Some of the research is sponsored by the U.S. military and remains classified.”
Research has also been done in “Britain, Switzerland, Belgium, West Germany and Japan”. It is also interesting to note that in 1981, “a delegation of scientists from Peking requested copies of all available material on Nitinol.”
As for the impact on oil producing nations, It would be prudent of them to begin spending the billions being made from the combustion of this dangerous commodity, on an educational system second to none, the goals of which would be to educate every child in every one of these nations, and to specifically produce engineers specializing in the use of closed loop systems to render the combustion, or other uses of oil, harmless.
The Union of Concerned Scientists, unfortunately, doesn’t seem to be too concerned. A search on their web site finds no references to Nitinol at all. Inquiries as to why are met with silence despite the fact that it may be possible for Nitinol to allow us to leapfrog the Kyoto Protocol entirely, by simply rendering it irrelevant. Given the properties of Nitinol, it seems to me that it may be the Union of Concerned Scientists that is irrelevant.
As for the properties of Nitinol, judge for yourself.
Nitinol is a shape memory alloy which requires a vacuum furnace for its production. As of 1981 Nitinol could be made from nickel and titanium or brass alloys. A simple explanation of how Nitinol works would go something like this. Say you had a rod of nitinol, and two containers in front of you. One of these containers would have cool water in it, and the other warm water. If you take the rod of Nitinol, dunk it in the cool water and bend it 90 degrees to the left, remove it from the cool water and place it in the warm water and bend it 180 degrees to the right. Place it once again in the cool water and the rod of Nitinol will spring back to the shape you originally bent it in. Place it in the warm water again and it will spring back to the shape it was bent into the second time. This action can be repeated indefinitely, in say any natural thermo-
It is also worth noting that according to this article, “Preliminary studies by the Department of Energy and the World Bank on the global distribution of nickel and titanium show that both elements are abundant and cheap” “and are fairly evenly dispersed around the planet. No Nitinol OPECs lurk.” (Note: at least not yet, so far as I am aware, but it may be useful to see which nations or cartels of nations or industries attempt to control these metals.) While it may or may not be related, China’s recent bid for Nortel was interesting.
Other information gleaned from the article.
1. “According to the latest Navy figures a nitinol heat engine could convert energy for a mere 6% of the current cost of photovoltaic conversion.” (“The team of scientists that developed the engine calculates that Nitinol power plants may have “an overwhelming cost advantage” over oil, gas and nuclear power generation.”)
2. “Researchers say” “that Nitinol if properly refined “ “could be vastly more powerful, able perhaps to respond to temperature differentials as low as 3 or 4 degrees centigrade.”
3. “Nitinol has a theoretical 8% contraction when raised above the transition temperature.”
4. Nitinol can “release forces as great as 55 tons of force per square inch.”
These numbers speak for themselves. If Nitinol cannot replace oil, we need to know why it can not. If the reasons are classified, they need to be declassified. If Nitinol can replace oil, we need to know what interests have benefited and continue to benefit from the delay of its manufacture and widespread use. We need to know the extent to which a purportedly free press, and scientific community, has been co-
Carl Joudrie: November, 2006