Thursday, November 20, 2014

Nitinol Progress

 We are in the process of brainstorming specific applications for the engine. Some ideas include using the engine in a car to capture waste heat from the car’s engine, and capturing waste heat from industrial ovens.  We have been modeling different engines on Autodesk Inventor and picked one to prototype. We dimensioned the pieces to fit size and functionality parameters. We started building the prototype from various materials, including plastic, wood and metal.  The pieces were  cut using the laser cutter, ensuring  measurements are precise.  An initial prototype would serve to produce much needed data on potential efficiency and load bearing capabilities for Nitinol engines.  After a short time, it became evident that the materials we chose for the prototype were inadequate.  Flimsy plastic parts left too much room for error.  We decided to build a more professionalized prototype, sacrificing time and energy for a more quality product.  This would hopefully have been worthwhile, making our lives easier during testing, and making our data more accurate.  We came up with more potential sturdier adaptations of our design, each with varying levels of complexity.  Unfortunately, after reaching out to professionals in the Nitinol community, we came to find our initial interpretation of the patent was inaccurate.   Nick, our project manager has found a credible collection of research information.  Today in class he gave our group a PowerPoint presentation, bringing everyone up to speed on some more complex Nitinol concepts.  The source discusses many heat engine designs in depth, including the one we prototyped. After finding our prototype to be incorrectly designed, we regroup, continue to do more research, and for now we have put the prototype on the backburner.