October 1, 2006 Researchers at the ETH Chair for Power Electronics have developed an electrical generator that spins at a world record 500,000 revolutions per minute (RPM) and scientists are hopeful they can achieve twice this speed to touch the magical million rpm. The matchbox-sized motor generates the equivalent of 100 watts, including the power electronics interface, and has an efficiency of close to 95 percent. Powered by a gas turbine, one tankful of fuel drives the generator for about 10 hours at peak 100 watt performance. These ultra small gas turbines could replace conventional batteries as a mobile power source and have a range of potential applications, from dentistry where ever smaller holes could be drilled with ever higher rotation speed through to energy supply for mobile applications, such as portable heart-lung machines or artificial hearts. The little motors could also be used in turbo compressors, which condense gas mixtures or air.
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