A group of students from ETH Zurich and the Zurich University of Arts (ZHdK), used 3D printing to develop a camping stove that can even be used in all weathers. How does it work? The mobile mini cooker carries the cooking flame inside.
Because the stove passed its test on a snowy peak with stormy winds, it was named “Peakboil” by the research group. The cooking vessel reminiscent of a ring cake form encloses a gas burner and shields it from the wind. In addition, the Peakboil saves a lot of energy, because the wall of the gas burner is corrugated similar to a citrus juicer, which increases the contact surface between flame and cooker. In addition, the wall was kept thin so that optimum heat transfer can be achieved.
There is also a great deal of engineering expertise inside the burner: The gas nozzles are so-called venturi nozzles. Julian Ferchow, project manager and doctoral student in the group of ETH professor Mirko Meboldt:
“Its geometry creates a local negative pressure. This increases draught, which improves the quality of the flame and further increases efficiency.”
Production by SLM
The design of Peakboil was only possible thanks to an additive manufacturing method. Using the selective laser melting process (SLM), Ferchow and his colleagues produced the gas cooker layer by layer from stainless steel. With this technique, a layer of fine metal powder is applied to a base plate. With a computer-controlled laser beam, this is selectively melted with pinpoint accuracy. When the molten metal then solidifies, it binds to the base plate. The next layer of metal powder is then applied and melted locally. Thus, complex objects are created from bottom to top in layers of one thirtieth of a millimeter each. Ferchow:
“This technology gives us a great deal of design freedom that conventional manufacturing processes do not offer. By means of metal casting, for example, it would never be possible to produce such thin channels as we have inside our gas burner.”
Awarded by the 3D Pioneers Challenge
Peakboil was recently honored by an international jury of design experts and engineers in the Design category of the “3D Pioneers Challenge”. According to the organizers, this competition organized by the Thuringian Ministry of Economics, Science and the Digital Society is one of the most highly endowed awards in the field of innovation in 3D printing.
“The jury honored our idea of a resource-saving burner, also with regard to the fact that the outdoor application we have implemented can serve as an example for industrial applications in additive production, where there is great potential. Peakboil serves as a demonstration object with which we can show companies what is possible with additive production technology and what is particularly important during construction.”
Further developments of Peakboil would be, for example, a gas instantaneous water heater for hot water production or even a gas turbine. But first Ferchow and his colleagues want to stay with their gas cooker and improve it in the Design and Technlology Lab using their prize money. Ferchow:
“I could imagine further increasing the efficiency of the burner by optimising the gas and air flows. We also hope to find industry partners who will work with us to develop the product further.”
Source: ETH Zurich