Has your steering wheel been too hot to touch this summer? A new thermoelectric material reported in the journal Science could offer relief.
The widespread adoption of thermoelectric devices that can directly convert electricity into thermal energy for cooling and heating has been hindered, in part, by the lack of materials that are both inexpensive and highly efficient at room temperature.
Now researchers from the University of Houston and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have reported the discovery of a new material that works efficiently at room temperature while requiring almost no costly tellurium, a major component of the current state-of-the-art material.
The work, described in a paper published online by Science Thursday, July 18, has potential applications for keeping electronic devices, vehicles and other components from overheating, said Zhifeng Ren, corresponding author on the work and director of the Texas Center for Superconductivity at UH, where he is also M.D. Anderson Professor of Physics.
“We have produced a new material, which is inexpensive but still performs almost as well as the traditional, more expensive material,” Ren said. The researchers say future work could close the slight performance gap between their new material and the traditional material, a bismuth-tellurium based alloy.
Thermoelectric materials work by exploiting the flow of heat current from a warmer area to a cooler area, and thermoelectric cooling modules operate according to the Peltier effect, which describes the transfer of heat between two electrical junctions.
Thermoelectric materials can also be used to turn waste heat – from power plants, automobile tailpipes and other sources – into electricity, and a number of new materials have been reported for that application, which requires materials to perform at far higher temperatures.
Thermoelectric cooling modules have posed a great challenge because they have to work at cooler temperatures, where the thermoelectric figure-of-merit, or ZT, is low because it is dependent on temperature. The figure-of-merit is a metric used to determine how efficiently a thermoelectric material works.
Despite the challenge, thermoelectric cooling modules also, at least for now, offer more commercial potential, in part because they can operate for a long lifespan at cooler temperatures; thermoelectric power generation is complicated by issues related to the high temperatures at which it operates, including oxidation and thermal instability.
The market for thermoelectric cooling is growing. “The global thermoelectric module market was worth ~0.6 billion US dollars in 2018 and it is anticipated to reach ~1.7 billion US dollars by 2027,” the researchers wrote.
Bismuth-tellurium alloys have been considered the best-performing material for thermal cooling for decades, but the researchers said the high cost of tellurium has limited widespread use. Jun Mao, a post-doctoral researcher at UH and first author on the paper, said the cost has recently dropped but remains about $50/kilogram. That compares to about $6/kilogram for magnesium, a primary component of the new material.
In addition to Ren and Mao, additional authors on the paper include Hangtian Zhu, Zihang Liu and Geethal Amila Gamage, all of the UH Department of Physics and TcSUH, and Zhiwei Ding and Gang Chen of the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
They reported that the new material, comprised of magnesium and bismuth and created in a form carrying a negative charge, known as n-type, was almost as efficient as the traditional bismuth-tellurium material. That, combined with the lower cost, should expand the use of thermoelectric modules for cooling, they said.
To produce a thermoelectric module using the new material, researchers combined it with a positive-charge carrying, or p-type, version of the traditional bismuth-tellurium alloy. Mao said that allowed them to use just half as much tellurium as most current modules.
Because the cost of materials accounts for about one-third of the cost of the device, that savings adds up, he said.
The new material also more successfully maintains electrical contact than most nanostructured materials, the researchers reported.
The Latest on: Thermoelectric material
via Google News
The Latest on: Thermoelectric material
- Iron-Based Material has the Ability to Power Small Deviceson May 7, 2020 at 12:09 am
If a device is small enough to be powered, with corresponding small energy demands, there is the possibility of providing it with energy without the use of batteries and wires via what would ...
- Building A Bigger Cloud Chamberon May 6, 2020 at 5:00 pm
Many elect to build small chambers based on thermoelectric Peltier elements ... When radioactive materials are introduced into the chamber the trails generated are long and easily visible.
- Gentherm (NASDAQ:THRM) Stock Rating Reaffirmed by Zacks Investment Researchon May 5, 2020 at 7:58 pm
Zacks Investment Research reissued their sell rating on shares of Gentherm (NASDAQ:THRM) in a report published on Saturday morning, Zacks.com reports. According to Zacks, “Gentherm Inc. is a developer ...
- Study Reveals Organic Semiconductors’ Overwhelming Thermoelectric Efficiencyon May 4, 2020 at 5:00 pm
This has not so easily been achieved in inorganic thermoelectrics, and is expected to lead to higher control of thermoelectric performance in materials. A material’s intrinsic ability to ...
- Outer tube-selectively boron-doped double-walled carbon nanotubes for thermoelectric applicationson May 4, 2020 at 9:28 am
Carbon nanotubes, the tiny hollow tube of hexagonal carbon lattices has been touted as one of the most promising materials for building items with fascinating electrical, thermal and mechanical ...
- Outer tube-selectively boron-doped double-walled carbon nanotubes for thermoelectric applicationson May 1, 2020 at 5:00 pm
Carbon nanotubes, the tiny hollow tube of hexagonal carbon lattices has been touted as one of the most promising materials for ... resulted in a highly enhanced thermoelectric performance of ...
- Abundant element to power small deviceson April 27, 2020 at 9:58 am
ANE produces a voltage perpendicular to the direction of a temperature gradient across the surface of a suitable material. The phenomenon could help simplify the design of thermoelectric generators ...
- Mini Generator Cheaply Converts Heat Into Electricityon April 27, 2020 at 8:50 am
The laws of thermodynamics don’t allow us to get something out of nothing. Whenever you spend energy, you have waste, more often than not as heat. Trying t ...
- Abundant element to power small deviceson April 27, 2020 at 8:02 am
ANE produces a voltage perpendicular to the direction of a temperature gradient across the surface of a suitable material. The phenomenon could help simplify the design of thermoelectric ...
via Bing News