Nav: Home

Efficient, stable thermoelectric module based on high-performance liquid-like materials

May 23, 2019

Based on high-performance liquid-like materials, scientists from the Shanghai Institute of Ceramics of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and Northwestern University in US innovatively fabricated a Cu2Se/Yb0.3Co4Sb12 thermoelectric module with eight n-type Ni/Ti/Yb0.3Co4Sb12 legs and eight p-type Ni/Mo/Cu2Se legs.

Their strategy goes beyond the normal design of TE modules based on traditional TE materials, thus realizing a high energy conversion efficiency of 9.1% and excellent service stability. The study was published in Joule.

The usual design of thermoelectric modules based on traditional materials only needs to realize high efficiency or high-power output through optimizing the geometry and interfaces of material legs. However, liquid-like ions present a new challenge and service stability must be included in the design of thermoelectric modules based on liquid-like materials.

During service, the voltage across liquid-like materials (Va) is directly related to the ratio of the cross-sectional areas of the p- and n-legs (Ap/An). If the liquid-like material is p-type, the larger Ap/An will lead to a smaller Va and consequently better stability during service.

In this study, scientists developed two kinds of TE modules based on liquid-like materials. They chose Cu2Se and Cu1.97S for the p-type legs and selected Yb0.3Co4Sb12-filled skutterudite for the n-type legs. The results showed that the Cu1.97S/Yb0.3Co4Sb12 TE module is not stable during service, while the Cu2Se/Yb0.3Co4Sb12 TE module is quite stable when Ap/An is higher than four.

Three-dimensional numerical analysis showed that high energy conversion efficiency requires that Ap/An be between two and eight. Thus, Ap/An values between four and eight are required to simultaneously maximize conversion efficiency and achieve good stability.

The scientists realized a maximum energy conversion efficiency of 9.1% for the Cu2Se/Yb0.3Co4Sb12 thermoelectric module, a record-high energy conversion efficiency among high-temperature thermoelectric modules. The long-term aging test confirmed the good stability of the module.

This strategy can also be used to design new TE modules based on other liquid-like materials such as Ag9GaSe6 and Zn4Sb3.

Thermoelectric technology can realize direct conversion between heat and electricity. Due to the advantages of no noise, no moving parts, and high reliability, it has attracted great attention as an alternative way to very efficiently utilize energy.
-end-


Chinese Academy of Sciences Headquarters

Related Scientists Articles:

Scientists can see the bias in your brain
The strength of alpha brain waves reveals if you are about to make a biased decision, according to research recently published in JNeurosci.
Scientists now know what DNA's chaperone looks like
Researchers have discovered the structure of the FACT protein -- a mysterious protein central to the functioning of DNA.
Scientists have found longevity biomarkers
An international group of scientists studied the effects of 17 different lifespan-extending interventions on gene activity in mice and discovered genetic biomarkers of longevity.
Coaching scientists to play well together
When scientists from different disciplines collaborate -- as is increasingly necessary to confront the complexity of challenging research problems -- interpersonal tussles often arise.
Scientists proposed a novel configuration of nanoscopes
TPU scientists proposed using special diffraction gratings with gold plates instead of microlenses to accelerate the generation of images from nanoscopes without losing any magnification power.
Children grow in a different way, scientists demonstrate
An international group of scientists under the supervision of a staff member of Sechenov University (Russia) and Karolinska Institute (Sweden) found out that earlier views on the mechanisms that provide and regulate skeletal growth were wrong.
'Doing science,' rather than 'being scientists,' more encouraging to girls
Asking young girls to 'do science' leads them to show greater persistence in science activities than does asking them to 'be scientists,' finds a new psychology study by researchers at New York University and Princeton University.
Encouraging scientists to collaborate on the tropics
'The changing nature of collaboration in tropical ecology and conservation,' recently published in Biotropica, investigates collaboration among scientists, researchers, and other figures whose work advances the field of tropical ecology.
Scientists penalized by motherhood
Despite gender balance at lower levels of academia, challenges still exist for women progressing to more senior roles.
US children now draw female scientists more than ever
When drawing scientists, US children now depict female scientists more often than ever, according to new Northwestern University research, which analyzed five decades of 'Draw-A-Scientist' studies conducted since the 1960s.
More Scientists News and Scientists Current Events

Trending Science News

Current Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2020.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Teaching For Better Humans 2.0
More than test scores or good grades–what do kids need for the future? This hour, TED speakers explore how to help children grow into better humans, both during and after this time of crisis. Guests include educators Richard Culatta and Liz Kleinrock, psychologist Thomas Curran, and writer Jacqueline Woodson.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#556 The Power of Friendship
It's 2020 and times are tough. Maybe some of us are learning about social distancing the hard way. Maybe we just are all a little anxious. No matter what, we could probably use a friend. But what is a friend, exactly? And why do we need them so much? This week host Bethany Brookshire speaks with Lydia Denworth, author of the new book "Friendship: The Evolution, Biology, and Extraordinary Power of Life's Fundamental Bond". This episode is hosted by Bethany Brookshire, science writer from Science News.
Now Playing: Radiolab

Space
One of the most consistent questions we get at the show is from parents who want to know which episodes are kid-friendly and which aren't. So today, we're releasing a separate feed, Radiolab for Kids. To kick it off, we're rerunning an all-time favorite episode: Space. In the 60's, space exploration was an American obsession. This hour, we chart the path from romance to increasing cynicism. We begin with Ann Druyan, widow of Carl Sagan, with a story about the Voyager expedition, true love, and a golden record that travels through space. And astrophysicist Neil de Grasse Tyson explains the Coepernican Principle, and just how insignificant we are. Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate.