SpinCal @ European Researchers' Night 2016

 

The European Researchers’ Night is the largest European event devoted to science and research, promoted by the European Commission with the aim of bringing researchers and citizens in contact, to disseminate scientific culture and knowledge about research careers and to offer a wide variety of fun-learning activities in an informal and stimulating context.

The 2016 edition, held on Friday 30 September in more than 200 European cities, was once again a great success. 

In Italy 52 cities participated in the event, among which Torino, where more than 1000 researchers from Universities, Research Centers and start-up companies were involved to meet the general public. Children and grown-up people got the chance of getting a closer look to the researchers activities, with hands-on experiments, interactive live tests, dissemination conferences, science theatre performances, behind-the-scenes guided tours of museums and research labs and much more.

 

INRIM presented a fun experiment of thermoelectricity highlighting the principle of a thermoelectric generator, to introduce the possibility of recovering electricity from waste heat generated by the transformations of energy, ubiquitous in our daily lives. This is an ironing board equipped with conventional Seebeck elements which are able to recover heat and turn it into electricity. This electric energy is strong enough to power up a set of fans that can increase the comfort during the ironing work. This is just a model of a system which can have an upgrade with spincaloritronics and may help in recovering the huge amount of energy (thousands of millions of tonnes of oil equivalent) that is wasted every year in energy conversions. A poster about spincaloritronics explained the visitors how, with the discovery of the Spin Seebeck effect, magnetic materials may achieve a key role also in this technology and could assist in the fabrication of devices with simple layered structure, good scaling capability and design flexibility.

 

 

INRIM stand in the Dean's courtyard of the University of Torino during the European Researchers' Night 2016.

Seebeck elements in the ironing board transform the waste heat into electrical current to power up fans that refresh the ironer. This is a simple example of a thermoelectric generator.

Poster about spincaloritronics by A. Sola (INRIM).