Miniature thermal matches: From nanoheaters to reactive fractals
Gunduz, I. E.
Doumanidis, C. C.
SourceMaterials Research Express
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Fine thermal actuation by miniature heat sources enables applications from electronics fabrication to tumor cauterization. This paper introduces the concept of nanoheaters, i.e., reactive bimetallic material dots (0D), ignited electrically to exothermically release precise heat amounts where and when needed. This concept is extended to nanoheater wires (1D) and foils (2D), as well as bulk nanoheaters (3D) manufactured via ball milling and ultrasonic consolidation of nickel and aluminum powders. The fractal structure of such powders and consolidates, with self-similar, multiscale Apollonian or lamellar packaging, is discovered to hold the key for their ignition sensitivity: nanoscale structures ignite first, to produce enough heat and raise the temperature of submicron formations, which then ignite microscale regions and so onwhile inert areas quench and arrest the self-propagating exothermic reaction. Therefore, such engineered fractal reactive heaters lend themselves to affordable, high-throughput manufacture and controllable, safe, efficient, supplyless in situ thermal release. This can be transformative for innovations from self-healing composites and self-heating packages to underwater construction and mining. © 2015 IOP Publishing Ltd.