Heat flow Stop and Go
New thin-film layer goes from thermally insulating to thermally conducting with the flip of a switch
April 1, 2014
Hehlen and Mueller believe they can make their thin-film heat switches flexible enough to be used in temperature-controlled clothing, effectively allowing the wearer to switch between a light cotton tee and a wool sweater without having to change.
This is cool: Los Alamos scientists Markus Hehlen and Alex Mueller have devised a thin-film “heat switch”—a layer of material that can go from thermally insulating to thermally conducting with the flip of a switch. It takes advantage of fluid motion to achieve its dramatic change in thermal conductivity, using electrohydrodynamic technology to generate (or stop) the motion of a dielectric fluid, thereby improving (or inhibiting) heat conduction.