Engineering Innovation Podcast and Radio Series

Magnetic Heat

PostedApril 26, 2015

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Anchor Lead: It seems strange, but researchers have now shown that the heat in any material can be manipulated by magnets.

Randy Atkins: In an experimental first, Joseph Heremans, an engineer at Ohio State University, says his lab has demonstrated that, even in non-metals…

Joseph Heremans: …you could use magnetic fields to control the conduction of heat.

Randy Atkins: At the level of atoms, heat is the energy from vibration and Heremans theorizes that the motion of electrons in those vibrating atoms create small magnetic fields which interact with fields applied by magnets, allowing heat to be steered.

Joseph Heremans: Steering and controlling heat, those are marvelous tools for engineers because, you know, heat is the origin of 90-percent of the energy we use.

Randy Atkins: That said, the demonstration used very strong magnets in highly controlled conditions, so any practical applications are likely years away. With the National Academy of Engineering, Randy Atkins, WTOP News.

- Paper in Nature Materials
- News release