Why not get more work out of your wood stove? this device uses the Seebeck Effect to run a fan that will move air from your stove to other parts of your room. Its a clever idea alright, it’s pretty much the same thing that powers space craft except your not using burning wood as your heat source – your using the natural decay of nuclear materials.
As I encourage everyone to play with science whenever possible, I’ll tell you how you can make your own Seebeck Effect electrical generator.
You’ll need the following:
- A steel nail – 4″ long will do
- Some copper wire – stranded about the diameter of a coat hanger
- A candle – nice sized on a sturdy base
- A volt meter of some sort – you could use a small motor if you wanted but you might not see any movement on your first try
- Something to hold the nail with, it’s going to get hot.
Strip the insulator from the copper wire and wrap some around the nail.
Around a four inch nail I’d wrap about six inches of wire in a space of apx. one inch.
Connect the leads of the meter to the nail and the wire and hold the wrapped part of the nail in the flame of the candle.
You should see a small voltage show up on your meter. Pretty cool, eh?
Yes, you can build bigger ones out of better materials but at some point you end up melting your experiment. I suppose if you had some good thermocouples (that’s what the bi metal junctions are called) and some very low voltage LEDs you could build a sundial that you could read from inside your house. Leave a comment if I lost you anywhere.
Anyway, the bi-metal strips in the little fan are doing the same thing as the wire and nail, just that they are built of metals that have a better energy coefficient. A pretty good use of science if you ask me.