Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Heat pipes for mountain skiers

Researchers from the Lavochkin Research and Production Association have invented a way to preserve snow on the mountain-skiing and racing routes, even in warm weather.

The artificial cooling systems, which are being developed by the researchers, are based on the use of specially-constructed heat pipes. The authors suggest that such a system could be used during the Olympic Games in Sochi – a town known for its uncertain weather.

The principle of operation of these heat pipes is well-known. Simply speaking, it is as follows - in the closed space (in a long and narrow pipe), heavily heated gas turns into liquid and evaporates again. However, these processes are spatially separated. At the one end, in the heating zone, the liquid evaporates – the process requires energy consumption, i.e., it goes with absorption of heat. At the other end, in the cooling zone, the liquid condenses thus cooling the ambient space. Therefore, heating one end of a long pipe can cool the other end.

The question arises how to make the liquid return back to the evaporation zone. If this is a heating pipe, which helps, for example, to cool the house foundation in the permafrost area (so that the house did not “drift” in summer), the device is placed vertically, and the liquid simply flows down by force of gravity. But what can be done if the pipe is place horizontally or it is curved as an arch under the mountain-skiing route?

“Outer space experience” helped the researchers to solve the problem – they specialize in how extraterrestrial objects operate in weightlessness, without help from terrestrial gravitation. The researchers tried cutting superfine capillary grooves on the inside walls of the pipes. This capillary structure allowed the liquid into the evaporation zone at any position of the pipes in space – because capillary forces act independently of the capillary's orientation. Long grooves with a width of less than a micron were created using techniques developed by colleagues of the “outer space engineers” – at Bauman Moscow State Technical University.

To cool the condensation zone, the researchers used special devices called Peltier coolers (elements) named after Jean Charle Atanase Peltier who discovered the heat release or absorption effect when electric current runs through a switch connection of two metals, alloys or semi-conductors. These elements allow the necessary cooling in the condensation zone with low electricity consumption, which makes the entire system very economical. If the thermal conductivity of heat pipes is higher than that of gold and copper is taken into account, the system is extremely efficient. this system is also secure, weighs little and is reliable, as it has no movable parts. It should be particularly emphasized that this is an original Russian technology protected by patents.

More than 500 devices have been put into operation. Their advantage is high reliability as the pipes are placed one metre apart, and if one or more devices breaks down, it does not adversely affect the entire system. All devices are identical in construction, and each can regulate temperature independently.

In the future, these techniques will be used for the Olympic Games, establishing a common artificial climate system controlled from a single centre. We expect that the Olympics 2014 in Sochi will be covered by crisp frosty snow, even if grass grows green and crocuses bloom in the vicinity. This is thanks to the system designed by the researchers from the Lavochkin Research and Production Association.

Nadezda Markina | alfa
Further information:

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Finding the lightest superdeformed triaxial atomic nucleus
20.10.2016 | The Henryk Niewodniczanski Institute of Nuclear Physics Polish Academy of Sciences

nachricht Innovative technique for shaping light could solve bandwidth crunch
20.10.2016 | The Optical Society

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

Im Focus: Ultra-thin ferroelectric material for next-generation electronics

'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.

Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Novel mechanisms of action discovered for the skin cancer medication Imiquimod

21.10.2016 | Life Sciences

Second research flight into zero gravity

21.10.2016 | Life Sciences

How Does Friendly Fire Happen in the Pancreas?

21.10.2016 | Life Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>