Science Fiction Dictionary
A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z

Latest By
Category:


Armor
Artificial Intelligence
Biology
Clothing
Communication
Computers
Culture
Data Storage
Displays
Engineering
Entertainment
Food
Input Devices
Lifestyle
Living Space
Manufacturing
Material
Media
Medical
Miscellaneous
Robotics
Security
Space Tech
Spacecraft
Surveillance
Transportation
Travel
Vehicle
Virtual Person
Warfare
Weapon
Work

"You have to budget the number of fuzzy rules you use to control a system. It turns out, you can state the optimality principle in three words: 'patch the bumps.'"
- Bart Kosko

Thermlectrium  
  An alloy that turns heat directly into electricity.  

Scientist Malcom Mackay needed to get close to the sun to perform some experiments, but how can you handle the heat? Perhaps it would be possible to convert that heat to electricity?

It was a dull, silvery gray, rather heavy, being nickel-iron-cobalt-carbon steel...

Thermlectrium is a magnetic alloy, the unique property being that its crystals are of almost exactly uniform size.

In any permanent magnet, the crystals are tiny individual magnets, all lined up with their north poles pointing the same way. In magnetized steel, if the bar is heated, the heat-motion of the molecules turns some of them around, with the result that the magnetism is lost.

In thermlectrium, even at low temperatures, the crystals turn, but they all turn together. The result is the same as though the bar had been inverted. A current is induced in the surrounding coil. And, of course, the energy which inverts the magnet, and drives the current of electricity, is the molecular motion known as heat. Heat was conquered!

Technovelgy from Blindness, by John W. Campbell.
Published by Astounding Science Fiction in 1935
Additional resources -

And the end result? The free energy present in the atmosphere could be harvested by thermlectrium - "every home, every store, every man, has his private thermelectrium element."

To see some recent research on this very thing, see the article on Nanostructured thermoelectric devices.

Thanks to reader Winchell Chung for suggesting this item.

Comment/Join this discussion ( 0 ) | RSS/XML | Blog This |

Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Blindness
  More Ideas and Technology by John W. Campbell
  Tech news articles related to Blindness
  Tech news articles related to works by John W. Campbell

Thermlectrium-related news articles:
  - Nanostructured Thermoelectric Devices (And John W. Campbell, Jr.)

Articles related to Engineering
The FLUTE Project - A Huge Liquid Mirror In Space
'Whisper Mode' ala Blue Thunder Researched At Bristol
Moonwalkers AI-Controlled Electric Shoes
Electric Catamaran 'Explorer Eco 40m' Has 'Solar Skin'

Want to Contribute an Item? It's easy:
Get the name of the item, a quote, the book's name and the author's name, and Add it here.

<Previous
Next>

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

 

 

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Science Fiction Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

Science Fiction Timeline
1600-1899
1900-1939
1940's   1950's
1960's   1970's
1980's   1990's
2000's   2010's

Science Fiction in the News

Live Stream With Meta-Ban Multimodal Smart Glasses
'...the bug-eyed, opaque gape of her True-Vu lenses.'

'Autonomous' Waymo Improves Driving With Remote Human Operators
'...some bored drone pusher in a remote driving centre has got your life... in his hands.'

Will Whales Be Our First Contact?
'He had piloted the Adastra to its first contact with the civilization of another solar system.'

SliceIt! Why Not Teach Robots To Use Knives?
'One building now gushed forth smoke and another stench that was unmistakable.'

FLOAT Levitating Train On The Moon ala Clarke
'The low-slung monorail car, straddling its single track, bored through the shadows on a slowly rising course.'

Singapore Writers Push Back On LLM Training
'...we've promised him a generous pension from the royalties.'

SpaceX Intros Extravehicular Activity Suit
'Provision had been made to meet the terrific cold which we knew would be encountered the moment we had passed beyond the atmosphere.'

Athena Smart Security Guard Robot With Face Recognition
'You are who we say you are, Dr. Dakin,' Turner said.'

More SF in the News

More Beyond Technovelgy

Home | Glossary | Science Fiction Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.