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Shape memory alloy heat engines and energy harvesting systems

United States Patent

September 30, 2014
View the Complete Patent at the US Patent & Trademark Office
A heat engine includes a first rotatable pulley and a second rotatable pulley spaced from the first rotatable pulley. A shape memory alloy (SMA) element is disposed about respective portions of the pulleys at an SMA pulley ratio. The SMA element includes a first wire, a second wire, and a matrix joining the first wire and the second wire. The first wire and the second wire are in contact with the pulleys, but the matrix is not in contact with the pulleys. A timing cable is disposed about respective portions of the pulleys at a timing pulley ratio, which is different than the SMA pulley ratio. The SMA element converts a thermal energy gradient between the hot region and the cold region into mechanical energy.
Browne; Alan L. (Grosse Pointe, MI), Johnson; Nancy L. (Northville, MI), Shaw; John Andrew (Dexter, MI), Churchill; Christopher Burton (Ann Arbor, MI), Keefe; Andrew C. (Encino, CA), McKnight; Geoffrey P. (Los Angeles, CA), Alexander; Paul W. (Ypsilanti, MI), Herrera; Guillermo A. (Winnetka, CA), Yates; James Ryan (Mission Viejo, CA), Brown; Jeffrey W. (Los Gatos, CA)
GM Global Technology Operations LLC (Detroit, MI), Dynalloy, Inc (Tustin, CA), The Regents of the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor, MI)
13/ 340,964
December 30, 2011
STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH OR DEVELOPMENT This invention was made with U.S. Government support under ARPA-E Contract number DE-AR0000040, awarded by the Department of Energy. The U.S. Government may have certain rights in this invention.