Nitinol in Heat Engines — A Partner Material for LENR?

An interesting video was posted by Jack Cole on the Vortex-l mailing list about a material I had never heard of before – nitinol, a super-elastic alloy of nickel and titanium which, when cold, is easily bendable and quite floppy, but when heated, remembers its original shape and immediately snaps back to its former condition.

The video below was produced by CNN in 1982, where science editor Kevin Sanders visited the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and talked with physicist Edwin McMillan (1951 Nobel prize winner in chemistry for “discoveries in the chemistry of the transuranium elements”) about the singular properties of Nitinol, and looked at the potential of the metal for use in heat engines.

I think the video is very interesting and well produced, and there was considerable discussion at the time among scientific authorities about the possibility of using nitinol to convert heat into mechanical and/or electrical energy, but for some reason the idea seems to have died since the time of this report.

A little reading about the topic reveals that there are challenges involved in the use of nitinol. It is expensive to make, hard to weld, and despite having exceptional durability when flexed, when put under great demand it has been observed to fail due to fatigue.

Still, I found the video fascinating, and wonder why I hadn’t heard about this very interesting metal sooner, and I wonder if there might be applications for it connected with LENR — which of course is a source of heat.

See also Axil’s post here today for other possible applications for nitinol with LENR.