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Re: Thermocouple power

Oops, forgot to post to the list...

At 10:46 AM 2/27/2007, you wrote:
>Last week there was an interesting debate about raising the altitude of a
>satellite by using magnertic fields.
>Carrying on the wacky ideas theme, I've been looking at producing power by
>using thermocouples and not solar cells.

This certainly does work, because the principle is used in the RTGs 
that power the Pioneer 11/10 probes, Voyagers, Galileo, New Horizons 
and Cassini.  In this case, the heat is provided by radioactive decay 
of plutonium rather than solar energy.  In the case of these probes, 
RTGs are used because solar power is not a practical alternative 
beyond Jupiter, and no other power source is capable of lasting 
decades while generating several hundred Watts in deep space.

>But.........how much power can you draw from it ??

Depends how much heat energy you can put into it from the Sun.  That 
I don't know.

73 de VK3JED

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