Researchers discovered a new technique of speedy melting of materials. Like a tree, when the lines of heat spread through the cold material, the melting rate can increase steadily by allowing the architecture of trees to evolve over time.
In a researcher reported in the Journal of Applied Physics, by AIP Publishing, the finding could improve phase change energy storage systems, which can store heat by melting substances like salt or wax, which ensures a smooth flow of renewable sources of energy like the wind and sun.
Branching configurations, like those the researchers probed in melting materials, repeatedly appear in nature, from spreading river deltas to treetop canopies. Alike patterns develop across divergent systems because the basic physical law drives the evolutionary design, said a Duke University professor at Durham, North Carolina, Adrian Bejan.
In other words, a plant will adapt its branches so that water and nutrients flow more easily, and a river will alter direction as it flows to the sea to prevent obstructions prompted by settling sediment. For the next 20 years, Bejan and co-researchers demonstrated how man-made and natural design evolution, from airplanes to snowflakes, is clarified by the Constructal Law.
Bejan said, “There is organization happening naturally all around us, and the Constructal Law is the physics principle that underpins it. What’s left is to be wise and to rely on the principle to fast-forward the design of technology.”