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Rapidly Reversible Organic Crystalline Switch for Conversion of Heat into Mechanical Energy

revised on 21.07.2020, 19:26 and posted on 22.07.2020, 12:53 by Madushani Dharmarwardana, Srimanta Pakhira, Raymond P. Welch, Carlos Caicedo Narvaez, Michael A. Luzuriaga, Bhargav S. Arimilli, Gregory T. McCandless, Babak Fahimi, Jose Mendoza-Cortes, Jeremiah J. Gassensmith

Solid state thermosalience—a sudden exertion of an expansive or contractive physical force following a temperature change in a solid state compound—is rare, few are reversible systems, and most of these are limited to a dozen or so cycles before the crystal degrades or they reverse slowly over the course of many minutes or even hours. In this work, we show a fully reversible actuator that is stable at room temperature for multiple years and is capable of actuation for more than two hundred cycles at near ambient temperature. Specifically, the crystals shrink to 90% of its original length instantaneously upon heating beyond 45 °C and expands back to its original length upon cooling below 35 °C. This temperature regime is important because it occurs around physiologically important temperatures. Furthermore, the phase transition occurs instantaneously, with little obvious hysteresis, allowing us to create real-time actuating thermal fuses that cycle between on and off rapidly.


NSF DMR-1654405

Welch AT-1989-20190330

ACS-PRF 57627-DNI10


Email Address of Submitting Author


University of Texas at Dallas



ORCID For Submitting Author


Declaration of Conflict of Interest


Version Notes

version 3, typos corrected.


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