Domestic space science for the new millennium
Atomic and hydrogen energy, nanotechnologies, effective energy conservation, cancer treatments and participation in space programmes are all on the agenda for the nation’s largest scientific institution: the Institute of Heat and Mass Transfer (named after A.V. Lykov) at the NAS
By Yulia Vasilevich
Almost all processes in nature are accompanied by heat and mass transfer, without end. The Director of the Institute, a member of the NAS of Belarus, Oleg Penyazkov, tells us, “We can use plasma beams, with a temperature of hundreds of thousands degrees, to create fusion reactions and dispose of radioactive waste. We’ve made an engine which runs on hydrogen and are exploring the latest trends in biomedicine. We’ve also come up with a number of treatments for malignant diseases, using magnetised particles.”
Today, the Institute is testing a spacecraft re-entry heat shield, designed to work in the atmosphere of each planet in our solar system. It is unique worldwide! Meanwhile, the Belarusian satellite’s temperature stabilisation systems were created by the Institute, allowing it to withstand -100 to +100 degrees without the optical image being distorted
A recent major scientific forum, marking the Institute’s 60th anniversary, gathered more than 350 leading scientists from 16 countries. A main theme was energy efficiency, as exhorted by the Director of the Institute of Thermaphysics, Sergey Alexeenko. He notes, “It is a known fact that the potential of energy efficiency in Russia is 40 percent! Before introducing new sources of energy, we should work on energy efficiency. In pure form, this is the intensification of heat and mass transfer. I’m going to participate in a ‘round table’ on industrial energy modernisation: a fundamentally important issue for everyone.”
The Belarusian Institute of Heat and Mass Transfer is working on the solution of specific problems, such as the modernisation of thermal and reheating furnaces (used at most industrial enterprises since the 1960s-70s). Mr. Penyazkov notes that their efficiency is so low that it has a negative effect. Accordingly, the Institute is joining forces with a number of factories to develop modern heating equipment, with prototypes being produced at Baranovichi Mechanical Engineering Plant.