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Sample records for 5-kwe reactor thermoelectric

  1. The 5-kwe reactor thermoelectric system summary

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Vanosdol, J. H. (Editor)

    1973-01-01

    Design of the 5-kwe reactor thermoelectric system was initiated in February 1972 and extended through the conceptual design phase into the preliminary design phase. Design effort was terminated in January, 1973. This report documents the system and component requirements, design approaches, and performance and design characteristics for the 5-kwe system. Included is summary information on the reactor, radiation shields, power conversion systems, thermoelectric pump, radiator/structure, liquid metal components, and the control system.

  2. Thermoelectric pump performance analysis computer code

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Johnson, J. L.

    1973-01-01

    A computer program is presented that was used to analyze and design dual-throat electromagnetic dc conduction pumps for the 5-kwe ZrH reactor thermoelectric system. In addition to a listing of the code and corresponding identification of symbols, the bases for this analytical model are provided.

  3. Computer optimization of reactor-thermoelectric space power systems

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Maag, W. L.; Finnegan, P. M.; Fishbach, L. H.

    1973-01-01

    A computer simulation and optimization code that has been developed for nuclear space power systems is described. The results of using this code to analyze two reactor-thermoelectric systems are presented.

  4. Zirconium Hydride Space Power Reactor design.

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Asquith, J. G.; Mason, D. G.; Stamp, S.

    1972-01-01

    The Zirconium Hydride Space Power Reactor being designed and fabricated at Atomics International is intended for a wide range of potential applications. Throughout the program a series of reactor designs have been evaluated to establish the unique requirements imposed by coupling with various power conversion systems and for specific applications. Current design and development emphasis is upon a 100 kilowatt thermal reactor for application in a 5 kwe thermoelectric space power generating system, which is scheduled to be fabricated and ground tested in the mid 70s. The reactor design considerations reviewed in this paper will be discussed in the context of this 100 kwt reactor and a 300 kwt reactor previously designed for larger power demand applications.

  5. A Solid Core Heatpipe Reactor with Cylindrical Thermoelectric Converter Modules

    SciTech Connect

    Sayre, Edwin D.; Vaidyanathan, Sam

    2006-01-20

    A nuclear space power system that consists of a solid metal nuclear reactor core with heat pipes carrying energy to a cylindrical thermoelectric converter surrounding each of the heat pipes with a heat pipe radiator surrounding the thermoelectric converter is the most simple and reliable space power system. This means no single point of failure since each heat pipe and cylindrical converter is a separate power system and if one fails it will not affect the others. The heat pipe array in the solid core is designed so that if an isolated heat pipe or even two adjacent heat pipes fail, the remaining heat pipes will still transport the core heat without undue overheating of the uranium nitride fuel. The primary emphasis in this paper is on simplicity, reliability and fabricability of such a space nuclear power source. The core and heat pipes are made of Niobium 1% Zirconium alloy (Nb1Zr), with rhenium lined fuel tubes, bonded together by hot isostatic pressure (HIPing) and with sodium as the heat pipe working fluid, can be operated up to 1250K. The cylindrical thermoelectric converter is made by depositing the constituents of the converter around a Nb1%Zr tube and encasing it in a Nb 1% Zr alloy tube and HIPing the structure to get final bonding and to produce residual compressive stresses in all brittle materials in the converter. A radiator heat pipe filled with potassium that operates at 850K is bonded to the outside of the cylindrical converter for cooling. The solid core heat pipe and cylindrical converter are mated by welding during the final assembly. A solid core reactor with 150 heat pipes with a 0.650-inch (1.65 cm) ID and a 30-inch (76.2 cm) length with an output of 8 Watts per square inch as demonstrated by the SP100 PD2 cell tests will produce about 80 KW of electrical power. An advanced solid core reactor made with molybdenum 47% rhenium alloy, with lithium heat pipes and the PD2 theoretical output of 11 watts per square inch or advanced higher

  6. A Solid Core Heatpipe Reactor with Cylindrical Thermoelectric Converter Modules

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sayre, Edwin D.; Vaidyanathan, Sam

    2006-01-01

    A nuclear space power system that consists of a solid metal nuclear reactor core with heat pipes carrying energy to a cylindrical thermoelectric converter surrounding each of the heat pipes with a heat pipe radiator surrounding the thermoelectric converter is the most simple and reliable space power system. This means no single point of failure since each heat pipe and cylindrical converter is a separate power system and if one fails it will not affect the others. The heat pipe array in the solid core is designed so that if an isolated heat pipe or even two adjacent heat pipes fail, the remaining heat pipes will still transport the core heat without undue overheating of the uranium nitride fuel. The primary emphasis in this paper is on simplicity, reliability and fabricability of such a space nuclear power source. The core and heat pipes are made of Niobium 1% Zirconium alloy (Nb1Zr), with rhenium lined fuel tubes, bonded together by hot isostatic pressure, (HIPing) and with sodium as the heat pipe working fluid, can be operated up to 1250K. The cylindrical thermoelectric converter is made by depositing the constituents of the converter around a Nb1%Zr tube and encasing it in a Nb 1% Zr alloy tube and HIPing the structure to get final bonding and to produce residual compressive stresses in all brittle materials in the converter. A radiator heat pipe filled with potassium that operates at 850K is bonded to the outside of the cylindrical converter for cooling. The solid core heat pipe and cylindrical converter are mated by welding during the final assembly. A solid core reactor with 150 heat pipes with a 0.650-inch (1.65 cm) ID and a 30-inch (76.2 cm) length with an output of 8 Watts per square inch as demonstrated by the SP100 PD2 cell tests will produce about 80 KW of electrical power. An advanced solid core reactor made with molybdenum 47% rhenium alloy, with lithium heat pipes and the PD2 theoretical output of 11 watts per square inch or advanced higher

  7. Lunar Nuclear Power Plant With Solid Core Reactor, Heatpipes and Thermoelectric Conversion

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sayre, Edwin D.; Ring, Peter J.; Brown, Neil; Elsner, Norbert B.; Bass, John C.

    2008-01-01

    This is a lunar nuclear power plant with the advantages of minimum mass, with no moving parts, no pumped liquid coolant, a solid metal rugged core, with no single point of failure. The electrical output is 100 kilowatts with a 500 kilowatt thermal reactor. The thermoelectric converters surround the potassium heatpipes from the core and water heatpipes surround the converter and connect to the radiator. The solid core reactor is made from HT9 alloy. The fuel is uranium oxide with 90% enrichment. The thermoelectric converter is bonded to the outside of the 1.10 inch ID heat pipe and is 30 inches long. The thermoelectric couple is Si/SiGe-Si/SiC Quantum Well with over 20% efficiency with an 890 K hot side and a 490 K cold side and produces 625 Watts. 176 converters produce 110 kWe. With less than 10% loss in controls this yields 100 kWe for use. The cylindrical thermoelectric converter is designed and fabricated by HIPing to keep brittle materials in compression and to ensure conductivity. The solid core is fabricated by machining the heatpipe tubes with 6 grooves that are diffusion bonded together by HIPing to form the fuel tubes. The maximum temperature of the heat pipes is 940 K and the return flow temperature is 890 K. The reactor core is hexagonal shaped, 61 cm. wide and 76.2 cm high with 12 rotating control drums surrounding it. There is shielding to protect components and human habitation. The radiator is daisy shaped at 45 degrees with each petal 5.5 meters long. The design life is ten years.

  8. Lunar Nuclear Power Plant With Solid Core Reactor, Heatpipes and Thermoelectric Conversion

    SciTech Connect

    Sayre, Edwin D.; Ring, Peter J.; Brown, Neil; Elsner, Norbert B.; Bass, John C.

    2008-01-21

    This is a lunar nuclear power plant with the advantages of minimum mass, with no moving parts, no pumped liquid coolant, a solid metal rugged core, with no single point of failure. The electrical output is 100 kilowatts with a 500 kilowatt thermal reactor. The thermoelectric converters surround the potassium heatpipes from the core and water heatpipes surround the converter and connect to the radiator. The solid core reactor is made from HT9 alloy. The fuel is uranium oxide with 90% enrichment. The thermoelectric converter is bonded to the outside of the 1.10 inch ID heat pipe and is 30 inches long. The thermoelectric couple is Si/SiGe-Si/SiC Quantum Well with over 20% efficiency with an 890 K hot side and a 490 K cold side and produces 625 Watts. 176 converters produce 110 kWe. With less than 10% loss in controls this yields 100 kWe for use. The cylindrical thermoelectric converter is designed and fabricated by HIPing to keep brittle materials in compression and to ensure conductivity. The solid core is fabricated by machining the heatpipe tubes with 6 grooves that are diffusion bonded together by HIPing to form the fuel tubes. The maximum temperature of the heat pipes is 940 K and the return flow temperature is 890 K. The reactor core is hexagonal shaped, 61 cm. wide and 76.2 cm high with 12 rotating control drums surrounding it. There is shielding to protect components and human habitation. The radiator is daisy shaped at 45 degrees with each petal 5.5 meters long. The design life is ten years.

  9. High Energy Density Thermal Batteries: Thermoelectric Reactors for Efficient Automotive Thermal Storage

    SciTech Connect

    2011-11-15

    HEATS Project: Sheetak is developing a new HVAC system to store the energy required for heating and cooling in EVs. This system will replace the traditional refrigerant-based vapor compressors and inefficient heaters used in today’s EVs with efficient, light, and rechargeable hot-and-cold thermal batteries. The high energy density thermal battery—which does not use any hazardous substances—can be recharged by an integrated solid-state thermoelectric energy converter while the vehicle is parked and its electrical battery is being charged. Sheetak’s converters can also run on the electric battery if needed and provide the required cooling and heating to the passengers—eliminating the space constraint and reducing the weight of EVs that use more traditional compressors and heaters.

  10. Thermoelectric converter

    DOEpatents

    Kim, C.K.

    1974-02-26

    This invention relates in general to thermoelectric units and more particularly to a tubular thermoelectric unit which includes an array of tandemly arranged radially tapered annular thermoelectric pellets having insulation material of a lower density than the thermoelectric pellets positioned between each pellet. (Official Gazette)

  11. Thermoelectric module

    DOEpatents

    Kortier, William E.; Mueller, John J.; Eggers, Philip E.

    1980-07-08

    A thermoelectric module containing lead telluride as the thermoelectric mrial is encapsulated as tightly as possible in a stainless steel canister to provide minimum void volume in the canister. The lead telluride thermoelectric elements are pressure-contacted to a tungsten hot strap and metallurgically bonded at the cold junction to iron shoes with a barrier layer of tin telluride between the iron shoe and the p-type lead telluride element.

  12. Thermoelectric system

    DOEpatents

    Reiners, Eric A.; Taher, Mahmoud A.; Fei, Dong; McGilvray, Andrew N.

    2007-10-30

    In one particular embodiment, an internal combustion engine is provided. The engine comprises a block, a head, a piston, a combustion chamber defined by the block, the piston, and the head, and at least one thermoelectric device positioned between the combustion chamber and the head. In this particular embodiment, the thermoelectric device is in direct contact with the combustion chamber. In another particular embodiment, a cylinder head configured to sit atop a cylinder bank of an internal combustion engine is provided. The cylinder head comprises a cooling channel configured to receive cooling fluid, valve seats configured for receiving intake and exhaust valves, and thermoelectric devices positioned around the valve seats.

  13. Thermoelectric conversion for space nuclear power

    SciTech Connect

    Ewell, R.; Stapfer, G.

    1982-08-01

    A lightweight, high performance nuclear reactor power system can offer significant advantages for many space missions. Conceptual design has been completed for the SP-100, a system which utilizes many thermoelectric converters and is capable of delivering 100 kilowatts of electrical power. A reference design, using thermoelectric materials with an average figure of merit of 1.0 X 10/sup -3/K/sup -1/ and a reactor heat pipe temperature of 1500 K, is presented which has a mass of 2280 kg not including contingency. The sensitivity of system mass to changes in the configuration and thermoelectric material properties are presented.

  14. Thermoelectric conversion for space nuclear power

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Ewell, R.; Stapfer, G.

    1982-01-01

    A lightweight, high performance nuclear reactor power system can offer significant advantages for many space missions. Conceptual design has been completed for the SP-100, a system which utilizes many thermoelectric converters and is capable of delivering 100 kilowatts of electrical power. A reference design, using thermoelectric materials with an average figure of merit of 0.001/K and a reactor heat pipe temperature of 1500 K, is presented which has a mass of 2280 kg not including contingency. The sensitivity of system mass to changes in the configuration and thermoelectric material properties are presented

  15. Thermoelectric Generator

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Cole, T.

    1985-01-01

    Small modular alkali metal thermoelectric generator with no moving parts directly converts heat to electrical energy with efficiency of 20 to 40 percent. Unit uses closed regenerative electrochemical concentration cell based on sodium-ion conductor beta alumina.

  16. Thermoelectric Products

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    1988-01-01

    Instead of bulky coils and compressors used in conventional refrigeration systems, UST design engineers drew on thermo-electric technology. UST's precision temperature chambers (PTC's) feature small thermoelectric modules that measure not much more than 1 square inch and operate on unique phenomenon of heat exchange. When electric current flows through specialized metallic crystals, heat is produced; when current direction is reversed cooling is produced.

  17. Thermoelectric refrigerator

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Park, Brian V. (Inventor); Smith, Jr., Malcolm C. (Inventor); McGrath, Ralph D. (Inventor); Gilley, Michael D. (Inventor); Criscuolo, Lance (Inventor); Nelson, John L. (Inventor)

    1996-01-01

    A refrigerator is provided which combines the benefits of superinsulation materials with thermoelectric devices and phase change materials to provide an environmentally benign system that is energy efficient and can maintain relatively uniform temperatures for extended periods of time with relatively low electrical power requirements. The refrigerator includes a thermoelectric assembly having a thermoelectric device with a hot sink and a cold sink. The superinsulation materials include a plurality of vacuum panels. The refrigerator is formed from an enclosed structure having a door. The vacuum panels may be contained within the walls of the enclosed structure and the door. By mounting the thermoelectric assembly on the door, the manufacturer of the enclosed structure is simplified and the overall R rating of the refrigerator increased. Also an electrical motor and propellers may be mounted on the door to assist in the circulation of air to improve the efficiency of the cold sink and the hot sink. A propeller and/or impeller is preferably mounted within the refrigerator to assist in establishing the desired air circulation flow path.

  18. High temperature thermoelectrics

    SciTech Connect

    Moczygemba, Joshua E.; Biershcenk, James L.; Sharp, Jeffrey W.

    2014-09-23

    In accordance with one embodiment of the present disclosure, a thermoelectric device includes a plurality of thermoelectric elements that each include a diffusion barrier. The diffusion barrier includes a refractory metal. The thermoelectric device also includes a plurality of conductors coupled to the plurality of thermoelectric elements. The plurality of conductors include aluminum. In addition, the thermoelectric device includes at least one plate coupled to the plurality of thermoelectric elements using a braze. The braze includes aluminum.

  19. Thermoelectric generator

    DOEpatents

    Pryslak, N.E.

    1974-02-26

    A thermoelectric generator having a rigid coupling or stack'' between the heat source and the hot strap joining the thermoelements is described. The stack includes a member of an insulating material, such as ceramic, for electrically isolating the thermoelements from the heat source, and a pair of members of a ductile material, such as gold, one each on each side of the insulating member, to absorb thermal differential expansion stresses in the stack. (Official Gazette)

  20. Correlation of radiation-induced changes in microstructure/microchemistry, density and thermo-electric power of type 304L and 316 stainless steels irradiated in the Phénix reactor

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Renault Laborne, Alexandra; Gavoille, Pierre; Malaplate, Joël; Pokor, Cédric; Tanguy, Benoît

    2015-05-01

    Annealed specimens of type 304L and 316 stainless steel and cold-worked 316 specimens were irradiated in the Phénix reactor in the temperature range 381-394 °C and to different damage doses up to 39 dpa. The microstructure and microchemistry of both 304L and 316 have been examined using the combination of the different techniques of TEM to establish the void swelling and precipitation behavior under neutron irradiation. TEM observations are compared with results of measurements of immersion density and thermo-electric power obtained on the same irradiated stainless steels. The similarities and differences in their behavior on different scales are used to understand the factors in terms of the chemical composition and metallurgical state of steels, affecting the precipitation under irradiation and the swelling behavior. Irradiation induces the formation of some precipitate phases (e.g., M6C and M23C6-type carbides, and γ'- and G-phases), Frank loops and cavities. According to the metallurgical state and chemical composition of the steel, the amount of each type of radiation-induced defects is not the same, affecting their density and thermo-electric power.

  1. Oxide Thermoelectrics

    SciTech Connect

    Singh, David J

    2008-01-01

    Thermoelectricity in oxides, especially NaxCoO2 and related materials, is discussed from the point of view of first principles calculations and Boltzmann transport theory. The electronic structure of this material is exceptional in that it has a combination of very narrow bands and strong hybridization between metal d states and ligand p states. As shown within the framework of conventional Boltzmann transport theory, this leads to high Seebeck coefficients even at metallic carrier densities. This suggests a strategy of searching for other narrow band oxides that can be doped metallic with mobile carriers. Some possible avenues for finding such materials are suggested.

  2. Segmented Thermoelectric Multicouple Converter Technology Development

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mondt, Jack; Johnson, Ken; Fleurial, Jean-Pierre; El Genk, Mohamed; Frye, Patrick; Determan, Bill

    2005-02-01

    The primary objectives of the segmented thermoelectric multicouple converter (STMC) technology development effort are: to define a conceptual design for a passive, low mass (3000 kg), long life (15 years) thermoelectric advanced Space Reactor Power System that provides 100kWe 400 Volt dc power for a 6000 volt dc electric propulsion system, to prepare a preliminary design of the power conversion system and to prepare technology development plan to advance power conversion system technology to TRL 6. The SRPS consists of a heat pipe cooled reactor radiatively couple to high efficiency solid-state segmented thermoelectric multicouple converters which are conductively coupled to a low mass heat pipe radiator. The SRPS conceptual design as well as the Power Conversion System preliminary design is complete and their description reported in this paper.

  3. Thermoelectric materials and devices

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Park, Yeonjoon (Inventor); Choi, Sang H. (Inventor); King, Glen C. (Inventor); Elliott, James R. (Inventor); Talcott, Noel A. (Inventor)

    2011-01-01

    New thermoelectric materials comprise highly [111]-oriented twinned group IV alloys on the basal plane of trigonal substrates, which exhibit a high thermoelectric figure of merit and good material performance, and devices made with these materials.

  4. A NEUTRONIC REACTOR

    DOEpatents

    Luebke, E.A.; Vandenberg, L.B.

    1959-09-01

    A nuclear reactor for producing thermoelectric power is described. The reactor core comprises a series of thermoelectric assemblies, each assembly including fissionable fuel as an active element to form a hot junction and a thermocouple. The assemblies are disposed parallel to each other to form spaces and means are included for Introducing an electrically conductive coolant between the assemblies to form cold junctions of the thermocouples. An electromotive force is developed across the entire series of the thermoelectric assemblies due to fission heat generated in the fuel causing a current to flow perpendicular to the flow of coolant and is distributed to a load outside of the reactor by means of bus bars electrically connected to the outermost thermoelectric assembly.

  5. Component for thermoelectric generator

    DOEpatents

    Purdy, David L.

    1977-01-01

    In a thermoelectric generator, a component comprises a ceramic insulator, having over limited areas thereof, each area corresponding to a terminal end of thermoelectric wires, a coating of a first metal which adheres to the insulator, and an electrical thermoelectric junction including a second metal which wets said first metal and adheres to said terminal ends but does not wet said insulator, and a cloth composed of electrically insulating threads interlaced with thermoelectric wires.

  6. REACTOR

    DOEpatents

    Christy, R.F.

    1961-07-25

    A means is described for co-relating the essential physical requirements of a fission chain reaction in order that practical, compact, and easily controllable reactors can be built. These objects are obtained by employing a composition of fissionsble isotope and moderator in fluid form in which the amount of fissionsble isotcpe present governs the reaction. The size of the reactor is no longer a critical factor, the new criterion being the concentration of the fissionable isotope.

  7. REACTOR

    DOEpatents

    Szilard, L.

    1963-09-10

    A breeder reactor is described, including a mass of fissionable material that is less than critical with respect to unmoderated neutrons and greater than critical with respect to neutrons of average energies substantially greater than thermal, a coolant selected from sodium or sodium--potassium alloys, a control liquid selected from lead or lead--bismuth alloys, and means for varying the quantity of control liquid in the reactor. (AEC)

  8. REACTOR

    DOEpatents

    Roman, W.G.

    1961-06-27

    A pressurized water reactor in which automatic control is achieved by varying the average density of the liquid moderator-cooiant is patented. Density is controlled by the temperature and power level of the reactor ftself. This control can be effected by the use of either plate, pellet, or tubular fuel elements. The fuel elements are disposed between upper and lower coolant plenum chambers and are designed to permit unrestricted coolant flow. The control chamber has an inlet opening communicating with the lower coolant plenum chamber and a restricted vapor vent communicating with the upper coolant plenum chamber. Thus, a variation in temperature of the fuel elements will cause a variation in the average moderator density in the chamber which directly affects the power level of the reactor.

  9. Advanced Thermoelectric Materials for Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generators

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Caillat, Thierry; Hunag, C.-K.; Cheng, S.; Chi, S. C.; Gogna, P.; Paik, J.; Ravi, V.; Firdosy, S.; Ewell, R.

    2008-01-01

    This slide presentation reviews the progress and processes involved in creating new and advanced thermoelectric materials to be used in the design of new radioiootope thermoelectric generators (RTGs). In a program with Department of Energy, NASA is working to develop the next generation of RTGs, that will provide significant benefits for deep space missions that NASA will perform. These RTG's are planned to be capable of delivering up to 17% system efficiency and over 12 W/kg specific power. The thermoelectric materials being developed are an important step in this process.

  10. Thermoelectric materials having porosity

    SciTech Connect

    Heremans, Joseph P.; Jaworski, Christopher M.; Jovovic, Vladimir; Harris, Fred

    2014-08-05

    A thermoelectric material and a method of making a thermoelectric material are provided. In certain embodiments, the thermoelectric material comprises at least 10 volume percent porosity. In some embodiments, the thermoelectric material has a zT greater than about 1.2 at a temperature of about 375 K. In some embodiments, the thermoelectric material comprises a topological thermoelectric material. In some embodiments, the thermoelectric material comprises a general composition of (Bi.sub.1-xSb.sub.x).sub.u(Te.sub.1-ySe.sub.y).sub.w, wherein 0.ltoreq.x.ltoreq.1, 0.ltoreq.y.ltoreq.1, 1.8.ltoreq.u.ltoreq.2.2, 2.8.ltoreq.w.ltoreq.3.2. In further embodiments, the thermoelectric material includes a compound having at least one group IV element and at least one group VI element. In certain embodiments, the method includes providing a powder comprising a thermoelectric composition, pressing the powder, and sintering the powder to form the thermoelectric material.

  11. Thermoelectric heat exchange element

    DOEpatents

    Callas, James J.; Taher, Mahmoud A.

    2007-08-14

    A thermoelectric heat exchange module includes a first substrate including a heat receptive side and a heat donative side and a series of undulatory pleats. The module may also include a thermoelectric material layer having a ZT value of 1.0 or more disposed on at least one of the heat receptive side and the heat donative side, and an electrical contact may be in electrical communication with the thermoelectric material layer.

  12. Hybrid thermoelectric piezoelectric generator

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Montgomery, D. S.; Hewitt, C. A.; Carroll, D. L.

    2016-06-01

    This work presents an integration of flexible thermoelectric and piezoelectric materials into a single device structure. This device architecture overcomes several prohibitive issues facing the combination of traditional thermoelectric and piezoelectric generators, while optimizing performance of the combined power output. The structure design uses a carbon nanotube/polymer thin film as a flexible thermoelectric generator that doubles as an electrode on a piezoelectric generator made of poly(vinylidene fluoride). An example 2 × 2 array of devices is shown to generate 89% of the maximum thermoelectric power, and provide 5.3 times more piezoelectric voltage when compared with a traditional device.

  13. Development of segmented thermoelectric multicouple converter technology

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Fleurial, Jean-Pierre; Johnson, Kenneth; Sakamoto, Jeff; Huang, Chen-Kuo; Snyder, Jeff; Mondt, Jack; Blair, Richard; Frye, Patrick; Stapfer, Gerhard; Caillat, Thierry; Determan, William; Heshmatpour, Ben; Brooks, Michael; Tuttle, Karen

    2006-01-01

    The Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne, and Teledyne Energy Systems, Inc., have teamed together under JPL leadership to develop the next generation of advanced thermoelectric space reactor power conversion systems. The program goals are to develop the technologies needed to achieve a space nuclear power system specific mass goal of less than 30 kg/kW at the 100 kW power level with a greater than 15 year lifetime.

  14. Reactor

    DOEpatents

    Evans, Robert M.

    1976-10-05

    1. A neutronic reactor having a moderator, coolant tubes traversing the moderator from an inlet end to an outlet end, bodies of material fissionable by neutrons of thermal energy disposed within the coolant tubes, and means for circulating water through said coolant tubes characterized by the improved construction wherein the coolant tubes are constructed of aluminum having an outer diameter of 1.729 inches and a wall thickness of 0.059 inch, and the means for circulating a liquid coolant through the tubes includes a source of water at a pressure of approximately 350 pounds per square inch connected to the inlet end of the tubes, and said construction including a pressure reducing orifice disposed at the inlet ends of the tubes reducing the pressure of the water by approximately 150 pounds per square inch.

  15. Complex oxides useful for thermoelectric energy conversion

    DOEpatents

    Majumdar, Arunava; Ramesh, Ramamoorthy; Yu, Choongho; Scullin, Matthew L.; Huijben, Mark

    2012-07-17

    The invention provides for a thermoelectric system comprising a substrate comprising a first complex oxide, wherein the substrate is optionally embedded with a second complex oxide. The thermoelectric system can be used for thermoelectric power generation or thermoelectric cooling.

  16. Lunar Base Thermoelectric Power Station Study

    SciTech Connect

    Determan, William; Frye, Patrick; Mondt, Jack; Fleurial, Jean-Pierre; Johnson, Ken; Stapfer, Gerhard; Brooks, Michael; Heshmatpour, Ben

    2006-01-20

    Under NASA's Project Prometheus, the Nuclear Space Power Systems Program, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pratt and Whitney Rocketdyne, and Teledyne Energy Systems have teamed with a number of universities, under the Segmented Thermoelectric Multicouple Converter (STMC) Task, to develop the next generation of advanced thermoelectric converters for space reactor power systems. Work on the STMC converter assembly has progressed to the point where the lower temperature stage of the segmented multicouple converter assembly is ready for laboratory testing, and promising candidates for the upper stage materials have been identified and their properties are being characterized. One aspect of the program involves mission application studies to help define the potential benefits from the use of these STMC technologies for designated NASA missions such as a lunar base power station where kilowatts of power would be required to maintain a permanent manned presence on the surface of the moon. A modular 50 kWe thermoelectric power station concept was developed to address a specific set of requirements developed for this particular mission concept. Previous lunar lander concepts had proposed the use of lunar regolith as in-situ radiation shielding material for a reactor power station with a one kilometer exclusion zone radius to minimize astronaut radiation dose rate levels. In the present concept, we will examine the benefits and requirements for a hermetically-sealed reactor thermoelectric power station module suspended within a man-made lunar surface cavity. The concept appears to maximize the shielding capabilities of the lunar regolith while minimizing its handling requirements. Both thermal and nuclear radiation levels from operation of the station, at its 100-m exclusion zone radius, were evaluated and found to be acceptable. Site preparation activities are reviewed as well as transport issues for this concept. The goal of the study was to review the entire life cycle of

  17. Lunar base thermoelectric power station study

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Determan, William; Frye, Patrick; Mondt, Jack; Fleurial, Jean-Pierre; Johnson, Ken; Stapfer, G.; Brooks, Michael D.; Heshmatpour, Ben

    2006-01-01

    Under NASA's Project Prometheus, the Nuclear Systems Program, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne, and Teledyne Energy Systems have teamed with a number of universities, under the Segmented Thermoelectric Multicouple Converter (STMC) program, to develop the next generation of advanced thermoelectric converters for space reactor power systems. Work on the STMC converter assembly has progressed to the point where the lower temperature stage of the segmented multicouple converter assembly is ready for laboratory testing and the upper stage materials have been identified and their properties are being characterized. One aspect of the program involves mission application studies to help define the potential benefits from the use of these STMC technologies for designated NASA missions such as the lunar base power station where kilowatts of power are required to maintain a permanent manned presence on the surface of the moon. A modular 50 kWe thermoelectric power station concept was developed to address a specific set of requirements developed for this mission. Previous lunar lander concepts had proposed the use of lunar regolith as in-situ radiation shielding material for a reactor power station with a one kilometer exclusion zone radius to minimize astronaut radiation dose rate levels. In the present concept, we will examine the benefits and requirements for a hermetically-sealed reactor thermoelectric power station module suspended within a man-made lunar surface cavity. The concept appears to maximize the shielding capabilities of the lunar regolith while minimizing its handling requirements. Both thermal and nuclear radiation levels from operation of the station, at its 100-m exclusion zone radius, were evaluated and found to be acceptable. Site preparation activities are reviewed and well as transport issues for this concept. The goal of the study was to review the entire life cycle of the unit to assess its technical problems and technology

  18. Solar thermoelectric generators

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    1977-01-01

    The methods, the findings and the conclusions of a study for the design of a Solar Thermoelectric Generator (STG) intended for use as a power source for a spacecraft orbiting the planet Mercury are discussed. Several state-of-the-art thermoelectric technologies in the intended application were considered. The design of various STG configurations based on the thermoelectric technology selected from among the various technologies was examined in detail and a recommended STG design was derived. The performance characteristics of the selected STG technology and associated design were studied in detail as a function of the orbital characteristics of the STG in Mercury and throughout the orbit of Mercury around the sun.

  19. The best thermoelectric.

    PubMed Central

    Mahan, G D; Sofo, J O

    1996-01-01

    What electronic structure provides the largest figure of merit for thermoelectric materials? To answer that question, we write the electrical conductivity, thermopower, and thermal conductivity as integrals of a single function, the transport distribution. Then we derive the mathematical function for the transport distribution, which gives the largest figure of merit. A delta-shaped transport distribution is found to maximize the thermoelectric properties. This result indicates that a narrow distribution of the energy of the electrons participating in the transport process is needed for maximum thermoelectric efficiency. Some possible realizations of this idea are discussed. PMID:11607692

  20. Solar thermoelectric generator

    DOEpatents

    Toberer, Eric S.; Baranowski, Lauryn L.; Warren, Emily L.

    2016-05-03

    Solar thermoelectric generators (STEGs) are solid state heat engines that generate electricity from concentrated sunlight. A novel detailed balance model for STEGs is provided and applied to both state-of-the-art and idealized materials. STEGs can produce electricity by using sunlight to heat one side of a thermoelectric generator. While concentrated sunlight can be used to achieve extremely high temperatures (and thus improved generator efficiency), the solar absorber also emits a significant amount of black body radiation. This emitted light is the dominant loss mechanism in these generators. In this invention, we propose a solution to this problem that eliminates virtually all of the emitted black body radiation. This enables solar thermoelectric generators to operate at higher efficiency and achieve said efficient with lower levels of optical concentration. The solution is suitable for both single and dual axis solar thermoelectric generators.

  1. Nanostructured Interfaces for Thermoelectrics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gao, Y.; Marconnet, A. M.; Panzer, M. A.; Leblanc, S.; Dogbe, S.; Ezzahri, Y.; Shakouri, A.; Goodson, K. E.

    2010-09-01

    Temperature drops at the interfaces between thermoelectric materials and the heat source and sink reduce the overall efficiency of thermoelectric systems. Nanostructured interfaces based on vertically aligned carbon nanotubes (CNTs) promise the combination of mechanical compliance and high thermal conductance required for thermoelectric modules, which are subjected to severe thermomechanical stresses. This work discusses the property require- ments for thermoelectric interface materials, reviews relevant data available in the literature for CNT films, and characterizes the thermal properties of vertically aligned multiwalled CNTs grown on a candidate thermoelectric material. Nanosecond thermoreflectance thermometry provides thermal property data for 1.5- μm-thick CNT films on SiGe. The thermal interface resistances between the CNT film and surrounding materials are the dominant barriers to thermal transport, ranging from 1.4 m2 K MW-1 to 4.3 m2 K MW-1. The volumetric heat capacity of the CNT film is estimated to be 87 kJ m-3 K-1, which corresponds to a volumetric fill fraction of 9%. The effect of 100 thermal cycles from 30°C to 200°C is also studied. These data provide the groundwork for future studies of thermoelectric materials in contact with CNT films serving as both a thermal and electrical interface.

  2. Thermoelectric Properties of Selenides Spinels

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Snyder, G.; Caillat, T.; Fleurial, J-P.

    2000-01-01

    Many compounds with the spinel structure type have been analyzed for their thermoelectric properties. Published data was used to augment experimental results presented here to select promising thermoelectric spinels.

  3. Inverse Problems of Thermoelectricity

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Anatychuk, L. I.; Luste, O. J.; Kuz, R. V.; Strutinsky, M. N.

    2011-05-01

    Classical thermoelectricity is based on the use of the Seebeck and Thomson effects that occur in the near-contact areas between n- and p-type materials. A conceptually different approach to thermoelectric power converter design that is based on the law of thermoelectric induction of currents is also known. The efficiency of this approach has already been demonstrated by its first applications. More than 10 basically new types of thermoelements were discovered with properties that cannot be achieved by thermocouple power converters. Therefore, further development of this concept is of practical interest. This paper provides a classification and theory for solving the inverse problems of thermoelectricity that form the basis for devising new thermoelement types. Computer methods for their solution for anisotropic and inhomogeneous media are elaborated. Regularities related to thermoelectric current excitation in anisotropic and inhomogeneous media are established. The possibility of obtaining eddy currents of a particular configuration through control of the temperature field and material parameters for the creation of new thermo- element types is demonstrated for three-dimensional (3D) models of anisotropic and inhomogeneous media.

  4. Superconducting thermoelectric generator

    DOEpatents

    Metzger, J.D.; El-Genk, M.S.

    1994-01-01

    Thermoelectricity is produced by applying a temperature differential to dissimilar electrically conducting or semiconducting materials, thereby producing a voltage that is proportional to the temperature difference. Thermoelectric generators use this effect to directly convert heat into electricity; however, presently-known generators have low efficiencies due to the production of high currents which in turn cause large resistive heating losses. Some thermoelectric generators operate at efficiencies between 4% and 7% in the 800{degrees} to 1200{degrees}C range. According to its major aspects and bradly stated, the present invention is an apparatus and method for producing electricity from heat. In particular, the invention is a thermoelectric generator that juxtaposes a superconducting material and a semiconducting material - so that the superconducting and the semiconducting materials touch - to convert heat energy into electrical energy without resistive losses in the temperature range below the critical temperature of the superconducting material. Preferably, an array of superconducting material is encased in one of several possible configurations within a second material having a high thermal conductivity, preferably a semiconductor, to form a thermoelectric generator.

  5. A Possible Regenerative, Molten-Salt, Thermoelectric Fuel Cell

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Greenberg, Jacob; Thaller, Lawrence H.; Weber, Donald E.

    1964-01-01

    Molten or fused salts have been evaluated as possible thermoelectric materials because of the relatively good values of their figures of merit, their chemical stability, their long liquid range, and their ability to operate in conjunction with a nuclear reactor to produce heat. In general, molten salts are electrolytic conductors; therefore, there will be a transport of materials and subsequent decomposition with the passage of an electric current. It is possible nonetheless to overcome this disadvantage by using the decomposition products of the molten-salt electrolyte in a fuel cell. The combination of a thermoelectric converter and a fuel cell would lead to a regenerative system that may be useful.

  6. Thermodynamics of Thermoelectric Materials

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Doak, Jeff W.

    One challenge facing society is the responsible use of our energy resources. Increasing the efficiency of energy generation provides one path to solving this challenge. One commonality among most current energy generation methods is that waste heat is generated during the generation process. Thermoelectrics can provide a solution to increasing the efficiency of power generation and automotive systems by converting waste heat directly to electricity. The current barrier to implementation of thermoelectric systems is the low efficiencies of underlying thermoelectric materials. The efficiency of a thermoelectric material depends on the electronic and thermal transport properties of the material; a good thermoelectric material should be an electronic conductor and a thermal insulator, traits which generally oppose one another. The thermal properties of a thermoelectric material can be improved by forming nanoscale precipitates with the material which scatter phonons, reducing the thermal conductivity. The electronic properties of a thermoelectric material can be improved by doping the material to increase the electronic conductivity or by alloying the material to favorably alter its band structure. The ability of these chemical modifications to affect the thermoelectric efficiency of material are ultimately governed by the chemical thermodynamics of the system. PbTe is a prototypical thermoelectric material: Alloying PbTe with PbS (or other materials) creates nanostructures which scatter phonons and reduce the lattice thermal conductivity. Doping PbTe with Na increases the hole concentration, increasing the electronic conductivity. In this work, we investigate the thermodynamics of PbTe and similar systems using first principles to understand the underlying mechanisms controlling the formation of nanostructures and the amount of doping allowed in these systems. In this work we: 1) investigate the thermodynamics of pseudo-binary alloys of IV--VI systems to identify the

  7. Thermoelectrically cooled water trap

    DOEpatents

    Micheels, Ronald H.

    2006-02-21

    A water trap system based on a thermoelectric cooling device is employed to remove a major fraction of the water from air samples, prior to analysis of these samples for chemical composition, by a variety of analytical techniques where water vapor interferes with the measurement process. These analytical techniques include infrared spectroscopy, mass spectrometry, ion mobility spectrometry and gas chromatography. The thermoelectric system for trapping water present in air samples can substantially improve detection sensitivity in these analytical techniques when it is necessary to measure trace analytes with concentrations in the ppm (parts per million) or ppb (parts per billion) partial pressure range. The thermoelectric trap design is compact and amenable to use in a portable gas monitoring instrumentation.

  8. Synthetic thermoelectric materials comprising phononic crystals

    DOEpatents

    El-Kady, Ihab F; Olsson, Roy H; Hopkins, Patrick; Reinke, Charles; Kim, Bongsang

    2013-08-13

    Synthetic thermoelectric materials comprising phononic crystals can simultaneously have a large Seebeck coefficient, high electrical conductivity, and low thermal conductivity. Such synthetic thermoelectric materials can enable improved thermoelectric devices, such as thermoelectric generators and coolers, with improved performance. Such synthetic thermoelectric materials and devices can be fabricated using techniques that are compatible with standard microelectronics.

  9. Holey topological thermoelectrics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Tretiakov, O. A.; Abanov, Ar.; Sinova, Jairo

    2011-09-01

    We study the thermoelectric properties of three-dimensional topological insulators with many holes (or pores) in the bulk. We show that at high density of these holes, the thermoelectric figure of merit, ZT, can be large due to the contribution of the conducting surfaces and the suppressed phonon thermal conductivity. The maximum efficiency can be tuned by an induced gap in the surface states dispersion through tunneling or external magnetic fields. The large values of ZT, much higher than unity for reasonable parameters, make this system a strong candidate for applications in heat management of nanodevices, especially at low temperatures.

  10. Nanowire Thermoelectric Devices

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Borshchevsky, Alexander; Fleurial, Jean-Pierre; Herman, Jennifer; Ryan, Margaret

    2005-01-01

    Nanowire thermoelectric devices, now under development, are intended to take miniaturization a step beyond the prior state of the art to exploit the potential advantages afforded by shrinking some device features to approximately molecular dimensions (of the order of 10 nm). The development of nanowire-based thermoelectric devices could lead to novel power-generating, cooling, and sensing devices that operate at relatively low currents and high voltages. Recent work on the theory of thermoelectric devices has led to the expectation that the performance of such a device could be enhanced if the diameter of the wires could be reduced to a point where quantum confinement effects increase charge-carrier mobility (thereby increasing the Seebeck coefficient) and reduce thermal conductivity. In addition, even in the absence of these effects, the large aspect ratios (length of the order of tens of microns diameter of the order of tens of nanometers) of nanowires would be conducive to the maintenance of large temperature differences at small heat fluxes. The predicted net effect of reducing diameters to the order of tens of nanometers would be to increase its efficiency by a factor of .3. Nanowires made of thermoelectric materials and devices that comprise arrays of such nanowires can be fabricated by electrochemical growth of the thermoelectric materials in templates that contain suitably dimensioned pores (10 to 100 nm in diameter and 1 to 100 microns long). The nanowires can then be contacted in bundles to form devices that look similar to conventional thermoelectric devices, except that a production version may contain nearly a billion elements (wires) per square centimeter, instead of fewer than a hundred as in a conventional bulk thermoelectric device or fewer than 100,000 as in a microdevice. It is not yet possible to form contacts with individual nanowires. Therefore, in fabricating a nanowire thermoelectric device, one forms contacts on nanowires in bundles of the

  11. Thermoelectrics from silicon nanoparticles: the influence of native oxide

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Petermann, Nils; Stötzel, Julia; Stein, Niklas; Kessler, Victor; Wiggers, Hartmut; Theissmann, Ralf; Schierning, Gabi; Schmechel, Roland

    2015-06-01

    Thermoelectric materials were synthesized by current-assisted sintering of doped silicon nanoparticles produced in a microwave-plasma reactor. Due to their affinity to oxygen, the nanoparticles start to oxidize when handled in air and even a thin surface layer of native silicon oxide leads to a significant increase in the oxide volume ratio. This results in a considerable incorporation of oxygen into the sintered pellets, thus affecting the thermoelectric performance. To investigate the necessity of inert handling of the raw materials, the thermoelectric transport properties of sintered nanocrystalline silicon samples were characterized with respect to their oxygen content. An innovative method allowing a quantitative silicon oxide analysis by means of electron microscopy was applied: the contrast between areas of high and low electrical conductivity was attributed to the silicon matrix and silicon oxide precipitates, respectively. Thermoelectric characterization revealed that both, electron mobility and thermal conductivity decrease with increasing silicon oxide content. A maximum figure of merit with zT = 0.45 at 950 °C was achieved for samples with a silicon oxide mass fraction of 9.5 and 21.4% while the sample with more than 25% of oxygen clearly indicates a negative impact of the oxygen on the electron mobility. Contribution to the Topical Issue "Silicon and Silicon-related Materials for Thermoelectricity", edited by Dario Narducci.

  12. Development of advanced thermoelectric materials

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    1984-01-01

    The development of an advanced thermoelectric material for radioisotope thermoelectric generator (RTG) applications is reported. A number of materials were explored. The bulk of the effort, however, was devoted to improving silicon germanium alloys by the addition of gallium phosphide, the synthesis and evaluation of lanthanum chrome sulfide and the formulation of various mixtures of lanthanum sulfide and chrome sulfide. It is found that each of these materials exhibits promise as a thermoelectric material.

  13. Thick-Film Thermoelectric Microdevices

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Fleurial, J.; Snyder, G.; Herman, J.; Giauque, P.; Phillips, W.; Ryan, M.; Shakkottai, P.; Kolawa, E.; Nicolet, M.

    1999-01-01

    Miniaturized thermoelectric devices integrated into thermal management packages and low power, high voltage, electrical power source systems are of interest for a variety of space and terrestrial applications.

  14. Thermoelectric properties of boron carbides

    SciTech Connect

    Aselage, T.; Emin, D.; Wood, C.

    1988-01-01

    Boron carbides are ceramic materials with unusual properties and applications. These refractory materials (T/sub m/ > 2600K) exist as a single phase over a wide range of stoichiometries, from 20 a/o carbon to less than 10 a/o carbon (Bouchacourt and Thevenot 1981). The relatively low density (approx.2.5 g/cm/sup 3/) and exceptional hardness lead to applications in the area of ceramic armor. In addition, /sup 10/B has a large capture cross section for thermal neutrons. This fact, along with the robust nature of the structure in a high radiation environment, leads to the use of boron carbides as nuclear reactor control materials. Because of a combination of unusual high temperature electronic and thermal properties, boron carbides also make efficient very high temperature (p-type) thermoelectrics. In this paper, we shall review the electrical and thermal properties of boron carbides and describe recent progress in understanding these properties. 13 refs., 4 figs.

  15. Superconducting thermoelectric generator

    DOEpatents

    Metzger, John D.; El-Genk, Mohamed S.

    1998-01-01

    An apparatus and method for producing electricity from heat. The present invention is a thermoelectric generator that uses materials with substantially no electrical resistance, often called superconductors, to efficiently convert heat into electrical energy without resistive losses. Preferably, an array of superconducting elements is encased within a second material with a high thermal conductivity. The second material is preferably a semiconductor. Alternatively, the superconducting material can be doped on a base semiconducting material, or the superconducting material and the semiconducting material can exist as alternating, interleaved layers of waferlike materials. A temperature gradient imposed across the boundary of the two materials establishes an electrical potential related to the magnitude of the temperature gradient. The superconducting material carries the resulting electrical current at zero resistivity, thereby eliminating resistive losses. The elimination of resistive losses significantly increases the conversion efficiency of the thermoelectric device.

  16. Superconducting thermoelectric generator

    DOEpatents

    Metzger, J.D.; El-Genk, M.S.

    1998-05-05

    An apparatus and method for producing electricity from heat is disclosed. The present invention is a thermoelectric generator that uses materials with substantially no electrical resistance, often called superconductors, to efficiently convert heat into electrical energy without resistive losses. Preferably, an array of superconducting elements is encased within a second material with a high thermal conductivity. The second material is preferably a semiconductor. Alternatively, the superconducting material can be doped on a base semiconducting material, or the superconducting material and the semiconducting material can exist as alternating, interleaved layers of waferlike materials. A temperature gradient imposed across the boundary of the two materials establishes an electrical potential related to the magnitude of the temperature gradient. The superconducting material carries the resulting electrical current at zero resistivity, thereby eliminating resistive losses. The elimination of resistive losses significantly increases the conversion efficiency of the thermoelectric device. 4 figs.

  17. Superconducting thermoelectric generator

    DOEpatents

    Metzger, J.D.; El-Genk, M.S.

    1996-01-01

    An apparatus and method for producing electricity from heat. The present invention is a thermoelectric generator that uses materials with substantially no electrical resistance, often called superconductors, to efficiently convert heat into electrical energy without resistive losses. Preferably, an array of superconducting elements is encased within a second material with a high thermal conductivity. The second material is preferably a semiconductor. Alternatively, the superconducting material can be doped on a base semiconducting material, or the superconducting material and the semiconducting material can exist as alternating, interleaved layers of waferlike materials. A temperature gradient imposed across the boundary of the two materials establishes an electrical potential related to the magnitude of the temperature gradient. The superconducting material carries the resulting electrical current at zero resistivity, thereby eliminating resistive losses. The elimination of resistive losses significantly increases the conversion efficiency of the thermoelectric device.

  18. Rare earth thermoelectrics

    SciTech Connect

    Mahan, G.D.

    1997-09-01

    The author reviews the thermoelectric properties of metallic compounds which contain rare-earth atoms. They are the group of metals with the largest value ever reported of the Seebeck coefficient. An increase by 50% of the Seebeck would make these compounds useful for thermoelectric devices. The largest Seebeck coefficient is found for compounds of cerium (e.g., CePd{sub 3}) and ytterbium (e.g., YbAl{sub 3}). Theoretical predictions are in agreement with the maximum observed Seebeck. The author discusses the theoretical model which has been used to calculate the Seebeck coefficient. He is solving this model for other configurations (4f){sup n} of rare-earth ground states.

  19. Modular Isotopic Thermoelectric Generator

    SciTech Connect

    Schock, Alfred

    1981-01-01

    Advanced RTG concepts utilizing improved thermoelectric materials and converter concepts are under study at Fairchild for DOE. The design described here is based on DOE's newly developed radioisotope heat source, and on an improved silicon-germanium material and multicouple converter module under development at Syncal. Fairchild's assignment was to combine the above into an attractive power system for use in space, and to assess the specific power and other attributes of that design.

  20. Modular Isotopic Thermoelectric Generator

    SciTech Connect

    Schock, Alfred

    1981-04-03

    Advanced RTG concepts utilizing improved thermoelectric materials and converter concepts are under study at Fairchild for DOE. The design described here is based on DOE's newly developed radioisotope heat source, and on an improved silicon-germanium material and a multicouple converter module under development at Syncal. Fairchild's assignment was to combine the above into an attractive power system for use in space, and to assess the specific power and other attributes of that design. The resultant design is highly modular, consisting of standard RTG slices, each producing ~24 watts at the desired output voltage of 28 volt. Thus, the design could be adapted to various space missions over a wide range of power levels, with little or no redesign. Each RTG slice consists of a 250-watt heat source module, eight multicouple thermoelectric modules, and standard sections of insulator, housing, radiator fins, and electrical circuit. The design makes it possible to check each thermoelectric module for electrical performance, thermal contact, leaktightness, and performance stability, after the generator is fully assembled; and to replace any deficient modules without disassembling the generator or perturbing the others. The RTG end sections provide the spring-loaded supports required to hold the free-standing heat source stack together during launch vibration. Details analysis indicates that the design offers a substantial improvement in specific power over the present generator of RTGs, using the same heat source modules. There are three copies in the file.

  1. High performance thermoelectric nanocomposite device

    DOEpatents

    Yang, Jihui; Snyder, Dexter D.

    2011-10-25

    A thermoelectric device includes a nanocomposite material with nanowires of at least one thermoelectric material having a predetermined figure of merit, the nanowires being formed in a porous substrate having a low thermal conductivity and having an average pore diameter ranging from about 4 nm to about 300 nm.

  2. An inconvenient truth about thermoelectrics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Vining, Cronin B.

    2009-02-01

    Despite recent advances, thermoelectric energy conversion will never be as efficient as steam engines. That means thermoelectrics will remain limited to applications served poorly or not at all by existing technology. Bad news for thermoelectricians, but the climate crisis requires that we face bad news head on.

  3. Thermoelectrics: Carbon nanotubes get high

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Crispin, Xavier

    2016-04-01

    Waste heat can be converted to electricity by thermoelectric generators, but their development is hindered by the lack of cheap materials with good thermoelectric properties. Now, carbon-nanotube-based materials are shown to have improved properties when purified to contain only semiconducting species and then doped.

  4. Methods of synthesizing thermoelectric materials

    DOEpatents

    Ren, Zhifeng; Chen, Shuo; Liu, Wei-Shu; Wang, Hengzhi; Wang, Hui; Yu, Bo; Chen, Gang

    2016-04-05

    Methods for synthesis of thermoelectric materials are disclosed. In some embodiments, a method of fabricating a thermoelectric material includes generating a plurality of nanoparticles from a starting material comprising one or more chalcogens and one or more transition metals; and consolidating the nanoparticles under elevated pressure and temperature, wherein the nanoparticles are heated and cooled at a controlled rate.

  5. Electronic cooling using thermoelectric devices

    SciTech Connect

    Zebarjadi, M.

    2015-05-18

    Thermoelectric coolers or Peltier coolers are used to pump heat in the opposite direction of the natural heat flux. These coolers have also been proposed for electronic cooling, wherein the aim is to pump heat in the natural heat flux direction and from hot spots to the colder ambient temperature. In this manuscript, we show that for such applications, one needs to use thermoelectric materials with large thermal conductivity and large power factor, instead of the traditionally used high ZT thermoelectric materials. We further show that with the known thermoelectric materials, the active cooling cannot compete with passive cooling, and one needs to explore a new set of materials to provide a cooling solution better than a regular copper heat sink. We propose a set of materials and directions for exploring possible materials candidates suitable for electronic cooling. Finally, to achieve maximum cooling, we propose to use thermoelectric elements as fins attached to copper blocks.

  6. Electronic cooling using thermoelectric devices

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zebarjadi, M.

    2015-05-01

    Thermoelectric coolers or Peltier coolers are used to pump heat in the opposite direction of the natural heat flux. These coolers have also been proposed for electronic cooling, wherein the aim is to pump heat in the natural heat flux direction and from hot spots to the colder ambient temperature. In this manuscript, we show that for such applications, one needs to use thermoelectric materials with large thermal conductivity and large power factor, instead of the traditionally used high ZT thermoelectric materials. We further show that with the known thermoelectric materials, the active cooling cannot compete with passive cooling, and one needs to explore a new set of materials to provide a cooling solution better than a regular copper heat sink. We propose a set of materials and directions for exploring possible materials candidates suitable for electronic cooling. Finally, to achieve maximum cooling, we propose to use thermoelectric elements as fins attached to copper blocks.

  7. Thermoelectric system for an engine

    DOEpatents

    Mcgilvray, Andrew N.; Vachon, John T.; Moser, William E.

    2010-06-22

    An internal combustion engine that includes a block, a cylinder head having an intake valve port and exhaust valve port formed therein, a piston, and a combustion chamber defined by the block, the piston, and the head. At least one thermoelectric device is positioned within either or both the intake valve port and the exhaust valve port. Each of the valves is configured to move within a respective intake and exhaust valve port thereby causing said valves to engage the thermoelectric devices resulting in heat transfer from the valves to the thermoelectric devices. The intake valve port and exhaust valve port are configured to fluidly direct intake air and exhaust gas, respectively, into the combustion chamber and the thermoelectric device is positioned within the intake valve port, and exhaust valve port, such that the thermoelectric device is in contact with the intake air and exhaust gas.

  8. Nanostructured Bulk Thermoelectric Generator for Efficient Power Harvesting for Self-powered Sensor Networks

    SciTech Connect

    Zhang, Yanliang; Butt, Darryl; Agarwal, Vivek

    2015-07-01

    The objective of this Nuclear Energy Enabling Technology research project is to develop high-efficiency and reliable thermoelectric generators for self-powered wireless sensors nodes utilizing thermal energy from nuclear plant or fuel cycle. The power harvesting technology has crosscutting significance to address critical technology gaps in monitoring nuclear plants and fuel cycle. The outcomes of the project will lead to significant advancement in sensors and instrumentation technology, reducing cost, improving monitoring reliability and therefore enhancing safety. The self-powered wireless sensor networks could support the long-term safe and economical operation of all the reactor designs and fuel cycle concepts, as well as spent fuel storage and many other nuclear science and engineering applications. The research is based on recent breakthroughs in high-performance nanostructured bulk (nanobulk) thermoelectric materials that enable high-efficiency direct heat-to-electricity conversion over a wide temperature range. The nanobulk thermoelectric materials that the research team at Boise State University and University of Houston has developed yield up to a 50% increase in the thermoelectric figure of merit, ZT, compared with state-of-the-art bulk counterparts. This report focuses on the selection of optimal thermoelectric materials for this project. The team has performed extensive study on two thermoelectric materials systems, i.e. the half-Heusler materials, and the Bismuth-Telluride materials. The report contains our recent research results on the fabrication, characterization and thermoelectric property measurements of these two materials.

  9. High Efficiency Thermoelectric Materials and Devices

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Kochergin, Vladimir (Inventor)

    2013-01-01

    Growth of thermoelectric materials in the form of quantum well super-lattices on three-dimensionally structured substrates provide the means to achieve high conversion efficiency of the thermoelectric module combined with inexpensiveness of fabrication and compatibility with large scale production. Thermoelectric devices utilizing thermoelectric materials in the form of quantum well semiconductor super-lattices grown on three-dimensionally structured substrates provide improved thermoelectric characteristics that can be used for power generation, cooling and other applications..

  10. Density variations in thermoelectrics

    SciTech Connect

    Mahan, G. D.

    2000-05-15

    Equations are solved to give the variations in temperature, density, and potential, when a solid has electrical currents, heat currents, and particle diffusion. Solutions are presented in one dimension for currents down a bar. These solutions are used to calculate the efficiency of a thermoelectric refrigerator, which is optimized to give the coefficient of performance (COP). The COP depends upon the temperature difference {delta}T, but does not depend upon the density difference {delta}n between the two ends of the bar. (c) 2000 American Institute of Physics.

  11. Superlattices in thermoelectric applications

    SciTech Connect

    Sofo, J.O.; Mahan, G.D. |

    1994-08-01

    The electrical conductivity, thermopower and the electronic contribution to the thermal conductivity of a superlattice, are calculated with the electric field and the thermal gradient applied parallel to the interfaces. Tunneling between quantum wells is included. The broadening of the lowest subband when the period of the superlattice is decreased produces a reduction of the thermoelectric figure of merit. However, we found that a moderate increase of the figure of merit may be expected for intermediate values of the period, due to the enhancement of the density of states produced by the superlattice structure.

  12. Thermoelectric efficiency of molecular junctions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Perroni, C. A.; Ninno, D.; Cataudella, V.

    2016-09-01

    Focus of the review is on experimental set-ups and theoretical proposals aimed to enhance thermoelectric performances of molecular junctions. In addition to charge conductance, the thermoelectric parameter commonly measured in these systems is the thermopower, which is typically rather low. We review recent experimental outcomes relative to several junction configurations used to optimize the thermopower. On the other hand, theoretical calculations provide estimations of all the thermoelectric parameters in the linear and non-linear regime, in particular of the thermoelectric figure of merit and efficiency, completing our knowledge of molecular thermoelectricity. For this reason, the review will mainly focus on theoretical studies analyzing the role of not only electronic, but also of the vibrational degrees of freedom. Theoretical results about thermoelectric phenomena in the coherent regime are reviewed focusing on interference effects which play a significant role in enhancing the figure of merit. Moreover, we review theoretical studies including the effects of molecular many-body interactions, such as electron–vibration couplings, which typically tend to reduce the efficiency. Since a fine tuning of many parameters and coupling strengths is required to optimize the thermoelectric conversion in molecular junctions, new theoretically proposed set-ups are discussed in the conclusions.

  13. Thermoelectric efficiency of molecular junctions.

    PubMed

    Perroni, C A; Ninno, D; Cataudella, V

    2016-09-21

    Focus of the review is on experimental set-ups and theoretical proposals aimed to enhance thermoelectric performances of molecular junctions. In addition to charge conductance, the thermoelectric parameter commonly measured in these systems is the thermopower, which is typically rather low. We review recent experimental outcomes relative to several junction configurations used to optimize the thermopower. On the other hand, theoretical calculations provide estimations of all the thermoelectric parameters in the linear and non-linear regime, in particular of the thermoelectric figure of merit and efficiency, completing our knowledge of molecular thermoelectricity. For this reason, the review will mainly focus on theoretical studies analyzing the role of not only electronic, but also of the vibrational degrees of freedom. Theoretical results about thermoelectric phenomena in the coherent regime are reviewed focusing on interference effects which play a significant role in enhancing the figure of merit. Moreover, we review theoretical studies including the effects of molecular many-body interactions, such as electron-vibration couplings, which typically tend to reduce the efficiency. Since a fine tuning of many parameters and coupling strengths is required to optimize the thermoelectric conversion in molecular junctions, new theoretically proposed set-ups are discussed in the conclusions. PMID:27420149

  14. Band engineering of thermoelectric materials.

    PubMed

    Pei, Yanzhong; Wang, Heng; Snyder, G J

    2012-12-01

    Lead chalcogenides have long been used for space-based and thermoelectric remote power generation applications, but recent discoveries have revealed a much greater potential for these materials. This renaissance of interest combined with the need for increased energy efficiency has led to active consideration of thermoelectrics for practical waste heat recovery systems-such as the conversion of car exhaust heat into electricity. The simple high symmetry NaCl-type cubic structure, leads to several properties desirable for thermoelectricity, such as high valley degeneracy for high electrical conductivity and phonon anharmonicity for low thermal conductivity. The rich capabilities for both band structure and microstructure engineering enable a variety of approaches for achieving high thermoelectric performance in lead chalcogenides. This Review focuses on manipulation of the electronic and atomic structural features which makes up the thermoelectric quality factor. While these strategies are well demonstrated in lead chalcogenides, the principles used are equally applicable to most good thermoelectric materials that could enable improvement of thermoelectric devices from niche applications into the mainstream of energy technologies. PMID:23074043

  15. Thermoelectric efficiency of molecular junctions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Perroni, C. A.; Ninno, D.; Cataudella, V.

    2016-09-01

    Focus of the review is on experimental set-ups and theoretical proposals aimed to enhance thermoelectric performances of molecular junctions. In addition to charge conductance, the thermoelectric parameter commonly measured in these systems is the thermopower, which is typically rather low. We review recent experimental outcomes relative to several junction configurations used to optimize the thermopower. On the other hand, theoretical calculations provide estimations of all the thermoelectric parameters in the linear and non-linear regime, in particular of the thermoelectric figure of merit and efficiency, completing our knowledge of molecular thermoelectricity. For this reason, the review will mainly focus on theoretical studies analyzing the role of not only electronic, but also of the vibrational degrees of freedom. Theoretical results about thermoelectric phenomena in the coherent regime are reviewed focusing on interference effects which play a significant role in enhancing the figure of merit. Moreover, we review theoretical studies including the effects of molecular many-body interactions, such as electron-vibration couplings, which typically tend to reduce the efficiency. Since a fine tuning of many parameters and coupling strengths is required to optimize the thermoelectric conversion in molecular junctions, new theoretically proposed set-ups are discussed in the conclusions.

  16. Thermoelectric efficiency of molecular junctions.

    PubMed

    Perroni, C A; Ninno, D; Cataudella, V

    2016-09-21

    Focus of the review is on experimental set-ups and theoretical proposals aimed to enhance thermoelectric performances of molecular junctions. In addition to charge conductance, the thermoelectric parameter commonly measured in these systems is the thermopower, which is typically rather low. We review recent experimental outcomes relative to several junction configurations used to optimize the thermopower. On the other hand, theoretical calculations provide estimations of all the thermoelectric parameters in the linear and non-linear regime, in particular of the thermoelectric figure of merit and efficiency, completing our knowledge of molecular thermoelectricity. For this reason, the review will mainly focus on theoretical studies analyzing the role of not only electronic, but also of the vibrational degrees of freedom. Theoretical results about thermoelectric phenomena in the coherent regime are reviewed focusing on interference effects which play a significant role in enhancing the figure of merit. Moreover, we review theoretical studies including the effects of molecular many-body interactions, such as electron-vibration couplings, which typically tend to reduce the efficiency. Since a fine tuning of many parameters and coupling strengths is required to optimize the thermoelectric conversion in molecular junctions, new theoretically proposed set-ups are discussed in the conclusions.

  17. Band engineering of thermoelectric materials.

    PubMed

    Pei, Yanzhong; Wang, Heng; Snyder, G J

    2012-12-01

    Lead chalcogenides have long been used for space-based and thermoelectric remote power generation applications, but recent discoveries have revealed a much greater potential for these materials. This renaissance of interest combined with the need for increased energy efficiency has led to active consideration of thermoelectrics for practical waste heat recovery systems-such as the conversion of car exhaust heat into electricity. The simple high symmetry NaCl-type cubic structure, leads to several properties desirable for thermoelectricity, such as high valley degeneracy for high electrical conductivity and phonon anharmonicity for low thermal conductivity. The rich capabilities for both band structure and microstructure engineering enable a variety of approaches for achieving high thermoelectric performance in lead chalcogenides. This Review focuses on manipulation of the electronic and atomic structural features which makes up the thermoelectric quality factor. While these strategies are well demonstrated in lead chalcogenides, the principles used are equally applicable to most good thermoelectric materials that could enable improvement of thermoelectric devices from niche applications into the mainstream of energy technologies.

  18. Advanced high temperature thermoelectrics for space power

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Lockwood, A.; Ewell, R.; Wood, C.

    1981-01-01

    Preliminary results from a spacecraft system study show that an optimum hot junction temperature is in the range of 1500 K for advanced nuclear reactor technology combined with thermoelectric conversion. Advanced silicon germanium thermoelectric conversion is feasible if hot junction temperatures can be raised roughly 100 C or if gallium phosphide can be used to improve the figure of merit, but the performance is marginal. Two new classes of refractory materials, rare earth sulfides and boron-carbon alloys, are being investigated to improve the specific weight of the generator system. Preliminary data on the sulfides have shown very high figures of merit over short temperature ranges. Both n- and p-type doping have been obtained. Pure boron-carbide may extrapolate to high figure of merit at temperatures well above 1500 K but not lower temperature; n-type conduction has been reported by others, but not yet observed in the JPL program. Inadvertant impurity doping may explain the divergence of results reported.

  19. Thermoelectric generator for motor vehicle

    SciTech Connect

    Bass, J.C.

    1997-04-29

    A thermoelectric generator is described for producing electric power for a motor vehicle from the heat of the exhaust gases produced by the engine of the motor vehicle. The exhaust gases pass through a finned heat transfer support structure which has seat positions on its outside surface for the positioning of thermoelectric modules. A good contact cylinder provides a framework from which a spring force can be applied to the thermoelectric modules to hold them in good contact on their seats on the surface of the heat transfer support structure. 8 figs.

  20. Thermoelectric generator for motor vehicle

    DOEpatents

    Bass, John C.

    1997-04-29

    A thermoelectric generator for producing electric power for a motor vehicle from the heat of the exhaust gasses produced by the engine of the motor vehicle. The exhaust gasses pass through a finned heat transfer support structure which has seat positions on its outside surface for the positioning of thermoelectric modules. A good contact cylinder provides a framework from which a spring force can be applied to the thermoelectric modules to hold them in good contact on their seats on the surface of the heat transfer support structure.

  1. Thermoelectric Devices Cool, Power Electronics

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2009-01-01

    Nextreme Thermal Solutions Inc., based in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, licensed thermoelectric technology from NASA s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. This has allowed the company to develop cutting edge, thin-film thermoelectric coolers that effective remove heat generated by increasingly powerful and tightly packed microchip components. These solid-state coolers are ideal solutions for applications like microprocessors, laser diodes, LEDs, and even potentially for cooling the human body. Nextreme s NASA technology has also enabled the invention of thermoelectric generators capable of powering technologies like medical implants and wireless sensor networks.

  2. Thermoelectricity in molecular junctions.

    PubMed

    Reddy, Pramod; Jang, Sung-Yeon; Segalman, Rachel A; Majumdar, Arun

    2007-03-16

    By trapping molecules between two gold electrodes with a temperature difference across them, the junction Seebeck coefficients of 1,4-benzenedithiol (BDT), 4,4'-dibenzenedithiol, and 4,4''-tribenzenedithiol in contact with gold were measured at room temperature to be +8.7 +/- 2.1 microvolts per kelvin (muV/K), +12.9 +/- 2.2 muV/K, and +14.2 +/- 3.2 muV/K, respectively (where the error is the full width half maximum of the statistical distributions). The positive sign unambiguously indicates p-type (hole) conduction in these heterojunctions, whereas the Au Fermi level position for Au-BDT-Au junctions was identified to be 1.2 eV above the highest occupied molecular orbital level of BDT. The ability to study thermoelectricity in molecular junctions provides the opportunity to address these fundamental unanswered questions about their electronic structure and to begin exploring molecular thermoelectric energy conversion. PMID:17303718

  3. Inhomogeneous thermal conductivity enhances thermoelectric cooling

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lu, Tingyu; Zhou, Jun; Li, Nianbei; Yang, Ronggui; Li, Baowen

    2014-12-01

    We theoretically investigate the enhancement of thermoelectric cooling performance in thermoelectric refrigerators made of materials with inhomogeneous thermal conductivity, beyond the usual practice of enhancing thermoelectric figure of merit (ZT) of materials. The dissipation of the Joule heat in such thermoelectric refrigerators is asymmetric which can give rise to better thermoelectric cooling performance. Although the thermoelectric figure of merit and the coefficient-of-performance are slightly enhanced, both the maximum cooling power and the maximum cooling temperature difference can be enhanced significantly. This finding can be used to increase the heat absorption at the cold end. We further find that the asymmetric dissipation of Joule heat leads to thermal rectification.

  4. Resolving thermoelectric "paradox" in superconductors.

    PubMed

    Shelly, Connor D; Matrozova, Ekaterina A; Petrashov, Victor T

    2016-02-01

    For almost a century, thermoelectricity in superconductors has been one of the most intriguing topics in physics. During its early stages in the 1920s, the mere existence of thermoelectric effects in superconductors was questioned. In 1944, it was demonstrated that the effects may occur in inhomogeneous superconductors. Theoretical breakthrough followed in the 1970s, when the generation of a measurable thermoelectric magnetic flux in superconducting loops was predicted; however, a major crisis developed when experiments showed puzzling discrepancies with the theory. Moreover, different experiments were inconsistent with each other. This led to a stalemate in bringing theory and experiment into agreement. With this work, we resolve this stalemate, thus solving this long-standing "paradox," and open prospects for exploration of novel thermoelectric phenomena predicted recently. PMID:26933688

  5. Thermoelectrically-cooled quartz microbalance

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Mckeown, D.

    1975-01-01

    Temperature of microbalance can be maintained at ambient temperature or held at some other desired temperature. Microbalance has tow-stage thermoelectric device that controls temperature of quartz crystal. Heat can be pumped to or from balance by Peltier effect.

  6. Promising thermoelectric properties of phosphorenes.

    PubMed

    Sevik, Cem; Sevinçli, Hâldun

    2016-09-01

    Electronic, phononic, and thermoelectric transport properties of single layer black- and blue-phosphorene structures are investigated with first-principles based ballistic electron and phonon transport calculations employing hybrid functionals. The maximum values of room temperature thermoelectric figure of merit, ZT corresponding to armchair and zigzag directions of black-phosphorene, ∼0.5 and ∼0.25, are calculated as rather smaller than those obtained with first-principles based semiclassical Boltzmann transport theory calculations. On the other hand, the maximum value of room temperature ZT of blue-phosphorene is predicted to be substantially high and remarkable values as high as 2.5 are obtained for elevated temperatures. Besides the fact that these figures are obtained at the ballistic limit, our findings mark the strong possibility of high thermoelectric performance of blue-phosphorene in new generation thermoelectric applications.

  7. Thermoelectric power conversion in space

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Awaya, Henry I.; Ewell, Richard; Nesmith, Bill; Vandersande, James

    1990-01-01

    A radiatively-heated multicouple for use in the next generation of radioisotope thermoelectric generator (RTG) will employ 20 individual couples within a single cell, so that 40 n- and p-semiconductor legs will be interconnected in series. At the hot end of the RTG, the legs will be electrically interconnected using silicon molybdenum; on the cold side, the legs are interconnected by tungsten. The entire cell is then mechanically attached to a radiator, which conducts heat away and radiates it into space. Deep-space applications will use RTGs developed for vacuum operation; thermoelectric converter power systems using a unicouple configuration have flown on such missions as Pioneers 10 and 11, which used lead telluride thermoelectric converters, and Voyagers I and II, which used silicon germanium-based thermoelectrics.

  8. Topological Insulator and Thermoelectric Effects

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Xu, Yong

    The recent discovery of topological insulator (TI) offers new opportunities for the development of thermoelectricity, because many TIs (like Bi2Te3) are excellent thermoelectric materials. In this talk, I will first introduce our theoretical predictions of anomalous Seebeck effect and strong size effect in TI [PRL 112, 226801 (2014)]. Then I will report our recent proof experiments, which find in TI thin films that (i) the hole-type Seebeck effect and the electron-type Hall effect coexist in the same TI sample for all the measured temperatures (up to 300 K), and (ii) the thermoelectric properties depend sensitively on the film thickness. The unconventional phenomena are revealed to be closely related to the topological nature of the material. These findings may inspire new ideas for designing TI-based high-efficiency thermoelectric devices.

  9. Promising thermoelectric properties of phosphorenes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sevik, Cem; Sevinçli, Hâldun

    2016-09-01

    Electronic, phononic, and thermoelectric transport properties of single layer black- and blue-phosphorene structures are investigated with first-principles based ballistic electron and phonon transport calculations employing hybrid functionals. The maximum values of room temperature thermoelectric figure of merit, ZT corresponding to armchair and zigzag directions of black-phosphorene, ∼0.5 and ∼0.25, are calculated as rather smaller than those obtained with first-principles based semiclassical Boltzmann transport theory calculations. On the other hand, the maximum value of room temperature ZT of blue-phosphorene is predicted to be substantially high and remarkable values as high as 2.5 are obtained for elevated temperatures. Besides the fact that these figures are obtained at the ballistic limit, our findings mark the strong possibility of high thermoelectric performance of blue-phosphorene in new generation thermoelectric applications.

  10. Thermoelectric effects in silicene nanoribbons

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zberecki, K.; Wierzbicki, M.; Barnaś, J.; Swirkowicz, R.

    2013-09-01

    Transport and thermoelectric coefficients (including also spin thermopower) of silicene nanoribbons with zigzag edges are investigated by ab initio numerical methods. Local spin density of such nanoribbons reveals edge magnetism. As in graphene, one finds antiferromagnetic and ferromagnetic ordering, with spin polarization at one edge antiparallel or parallel to that at the other edge, respectively. Thermoelectric properties, especially the Seebeck coefficient, significantly depend on the electronic band structure and are enhanced when the Fermi level is in the energy gap. However, the thermoelectric efficiency is significantly reduced when the phonon contribution to the heat conductance is included. This phonon contribution has been calculated numerically by two different methods. Transition from antiferromagnetic to ferromagnetic states leads to a large magnetoresistance as well as to a considerable magnetothermopower. Thermoelectric parameters in the antiparallel configuration, when spin polarization in the left part of the nanoribbon is opposite to that in the right part, are also analyzed.

  11. Promising thermoelectric properties of phosphorenes.

    PubMed

    Sevik, Cem; Sevinçli, Hâldun

    2016-09-01

    Electronic, phononic, and thermoelectric transport properties of single layer black- and blue-phosphorene structures are investigated with first-principles based ballistic electron and phonon transport calculations employing hybrid functionals. The maximum values of room temperature thermoelectric figure of merit, ZT corresponding to armchair and zigzag directions of black-phosphorene, ∼0.5 and ∼0.25, are calculated as rather smaller than those obtained with first-principles based semiclassical Boltzmann transport theory calculations. On the other hand, the maximum value of room temperature ZT of blue-phosphorene is predicted to be substantially high and remarkable values as high as 2.5 are obtained for elevated temperatures. Besides the fact that these figures are obtained at the ballistic limit, our findings mark the strong possibility of high thermoelectric performance of blue-phosphorene in new generation thermoelectric applications. PMID:27455173

  12. Highly Efficient Multilayer Thermoelectric Devices

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Boufelfel, Ali

    2006-01-01

    Multilayer thermoelectric devices now at the prototype stage of development exhibit a combination of desirable characteristics, including high figures of merit and high performance/cost ratios. These devices are capable of producing temperature differences of the order of 50 K in operation at or near room temperature. A solvent-free batch process for mass production of these state-of-the-art thermoelectric devices has also been developed. Like prior thermoelectric devices, the present ones have commercial potential mainly by virtue of their utility as means of controlled cooling (and/or, in some cases, heating) of sensors, integrated circuits, and temperature-critical components of scientific instruments. The advantages of thermoelectric devices for such uses include no need for circulating working fluids through or within the devices, generation of little if any noise, and high reliability. The disadvantages of prior thermoelectric devices include high power consumption and relatively low coefficients of performance. The present development program was undertaken in the hope of reducing the magnitudes of the aforementioned disadvantages and, especially, obtaining higher figures of merit for operation at and near room temperature. Accomplishments of the program thus far include development of an algorithm to estimate the heat extracted by, and the maximum temperature drop produced by, a thermoelectric device; solution of the problem of exchange of heat between a thermoelectric cooler and a water-cooled copper block; retrofitting of a vacuum chamber for depositing materials by sputtering; design of masks; and fabrication of multilayer thermoelectric devices of two different designs, denoted I and II. For both the I and II designs, the thicknesses of layers are of the order of nanometers. In devices of design I, nonconsecutive semiconductor layers are electrically connected in series. Devices of design II contain superlattices comprising alternating electron

  13. Materials for thermoelectric energy conversion

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Wood, C.

    1988-01-01

    The field of thermoelectric energy conversion is reviewed from both a theoretical and an experimental standpoint. The basic theory is introduced and the thermodynamic and solid state views are compared. An overview of the development of thermoelectric materials is presented with particular emphasis being placed on the most recent developments in high-temperature semiconductors. A number of possible device applications are discussed and the successful use and suitability of these devices for space power is manifest.

  14. Zintl Phases for Thermoelectric Applications

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Snyder, G. Jeffrey (Inventor); Toberer, Eric (Inventor); Zevalkink, Alex (Inventor)

    2014-01-01

    The inventors demonstrate herein that various Zintl compounds can be useful as thermoelectric materials for a variety of applications. Specifically, the utility of Ca3AlSb3, Ca5Al2Sb6, Ca5In2Sb6, Ca5Ga2Sb6, is described herein. Carrier concentration control via doping has also been demonstrated, resulting in considerably improved thermoelectric performance in the various systems described herein.

  15. Combustion synthesis of thermoelectric oxides

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Selig, Jiri

    Thermoelectric materials can be used to convert temperature difference applied across them to a electrical energy. They can be used to recover waste heat and reuse it. Two thermoelectric materials, calcium cobaltate (Ca 1.24Co1.62O3.86) and yttrium cuprate (YCuO 2) were synthesized by two different types of combustion synthesis, Self-propagating High-temperature Synthesis (SHS) and thermal explosion. Combustion synthesis is more time and energy efficient than conventional methods of preparation of thermoelectric oxides. This work shows that combustion synthesis is a viable alternative for synthesis of thermoelectric oxides with comparable characteristics and thermoelectric performance to compounds prepared by traditional syntheses. Thermoelectric properties of calcium cobaltate were evaluated and compared to data published in recent literature. A finite element model of SHS is also developed. It can be used to study the reaction process of the synthesis in detail and can predict results of experiments. The model was validated by comparison with experimental observations.

  16. Efficient thermoelectric device

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Ila, Daryush (Inventor)

    2010-01-01

    A high efficiency thermo electric device comprising a multi nanolayer structure of alternating insulator and insulator/metal material that is irradiated across the plane of the layer structure with ionizing radiation. The ionizing radiation produces nanocrystals in the layered structure that increase the electrical conductivity and decrease the thermal conductivity thereby increasing the thermoelectric figure of merit. Figures of merit as high as 2.5 have been achieved using layers of co-deposited gold and silicon dioxide interspersed with layers of silicon dioxide. The gold to silicon dioxide ratio was 0.04. 5 MeV silicon ions were used to irradiate the structure. Other metals and insulators may be substituted. Other ionizing radiation sources may be used. The structure tolerates a wide range of metal to insulator ratio.

  17. Estimating Thermoelectric Water Use

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hutson, S. S.

    2012-12-01

    In 2009, the Government Accountability Office recommended that the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and Department of Energy-Energy Information Administration, (DOE-EIA) jointly improve their thermoelectric water-use estimates. Since then, the annual mandatory reporting forms returned by powerplant operators to DOE-EIA have been revised twice to improve the water data. At the same time, the USGS began improving estimation of withdrawal and consumption. Because of the variation in amount and quality of water-use data across powerplants, the USGS adopted a hierarchy of methods for estimating water withdrawal and consumptive use for the approximately 1,300 water-using powerplants in the thermoelectric sector. About 800 of these powerplants have generation and cooling data, and the remaining 500 have generation data only, or sparse data. The preferred method is to accept DOE-EIA data following validation. This is the traditional USGS method and the best method if all operators follow best practices for measurement and reporting. However, in 2010, fewer than 200 powerplants reported thermodynamically realistic values of both withdrawal and consumption. Secondly, water use was estimated using linked heat and water budgets for the first group of 800 plants, and for some of the other 500 powerplants where data were sufficient for at least partial modeling using plant characteristics, electric generation, and fuel use. Thermodynamics, environmental conditions, and characteristics of the plant and cooling system constrain both the amount of heat discharged to the environment and the share of this heat that drives evaporation. Heat and water budgets were used to define reasonable estimates of withdrawal and consumption, including likely upper and lower thermodynamic limits. These results were used to validate the reported values at the 800 plants with water-use data, and reported values were replaced by budget estimates at most of these plants. Thirdly, at plants without valid

  18. Ruthenium Sesquisilicide: A Promising Thermoelectric Material

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Vining, Cronin B.

    1993-01-01

    Report describes experimental investigation of thermoelectric properties of ruthenium sesquisilicide (RU2Si3). Suggests suitably doped Ru2Si3 could have thermoelectric figures of merit two or more times as large as SiGe.

  19. Improved Thermoelectric Devices: Advanced Semiconductor Materials for Thermoelectric Devices

    SciTech Connect

    2009-12-11

    Broad Funding Opportunity Announcement Project: Phononic Devices is working to recapture waste heat and convert it into usable electric power. To do this, the company is using thermoelectric devices, which are made from advanced semiconductor materials that convert heat into electricity or actively remove heat for refrigeration and cooling purposes. Thermoelectric devices resemble computer chips, and they manage heat by manipulating the direction of electrons at the nanoscale. These devices aren’t new, but they are currently too inefficient and expensive for widespread use. Phononic Devices is using a high-performance, cost-effective thermoelectric design that will improve the device’s efficiency and enable electronics manufacturers to more easily integrate them into their products.

  20. Thermoelectric transport in topological insulators

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Takahashi, Ryuji; Murakami, Shuichi

    2012-12-01

    Thermoelectric transport in topological insulators (TIs) is theoretically studied. TIs have gapless edge states in two dimensions, and do surface states in three dimensions. Both of the states have backscattering-free nature, and they remain gapless in the presence of nonmagnetic impurities. In particular, the edge states in two-dimensional TIs form perfect conducting channels. In this study, we calculate system-size dependence of thermoelectric properties in two-dimensional TIs, and evaluate the inelastic scattering length of the edge states by phonons, which affects the thermoelectric properties sensitively. We also study thermoelectric transport in three-dimensional (3D) TIs and compare with two dimensions. In both two- and three-dimensional TIs, there is a competition between the surface/edge and bulk transports in the thermoelectric phenomena. The surface transport in 3D TIs is relatively weak compared with the bulk transport due to impurities. Furthermore, we also study gapped 3D TIs in thin slab geometry and show large values of the figure of merit in the gapped system. This result is consistent with the previous work.

  1. Thermoelectric materials with filled skutterudite structure for thermoelectric devices

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Fleurial, Jean-Pierre (Inventor); Borshchevsky, Alex (Inventor); Caillat, Thierry (Inventor); Morelli, Donald T. (Inventor); Meisner, Gregory P. (Inventor)

    2000-01-01

    A class of thermoelectric compounds based on the skutterudite structure with heavy filling atoms in the empty octants and substituting transition metals and main-group atoms. High Seebeck coefficients and low thermal conductivities are achieved in combination with large electrical conductivities in these filled skutterudites for large ZT values. Substituting and filling methods are disclosed to synthesize skutterudite compositions with desired thermoelectric properties. A melting and/or sintering process in combination with powder metallurgy techniques is used to fabricate these new materials.

  2. Thermoelectric materials with filled skutterudite structure for thermoelectric devices

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Fleurial, Jean-Pierre (Inventor); Borshchevsky, Alex (Inventor); Caillat, Thierry (Inventor); Morelli, Donald T. (Inventor); Meisner, Gregory P. (Inventor)

    2002-01-01

    A class of thermoelectric compounds based on the skutterudite structure with heavy filling atoms in the empty octants and substituting transition metals and main-group atoms. High Seebeck coefficients and low thermal conductivities are achieved in combination with large electrical conductivities in these filled skutterudites for large ZT values. Substituting and filling methods are disclosed to synthesize skutterudite compositions with desired thermoelectric properties. A melting and/or sintering process in combination with powder metallurgy techniques is used to fabricate these new materials.

  3. Synthesis of the thermoelectric nanopowder recovered from the used thermoelectric modules.

    PubMed

    Lee, Kun-Jae; Jin, Yun-Ho; Kong, Man-Sik

    2014-10-01

    We fabricated the thermoelectric powder using the used thermoelectric modules in a vehicle. As a starting material, the used thermoelectric modules were collected and separated to substrate, electrode, solder, and thermoelectric parts by a thermal process. The separation process was performed in a wet process at the critical temperature. The solder in the module was the neighbor part of the thermoelectric material with the lowest melting temperature in the module. We focused on the thermal property of the solder to separate the thermoelectric chips in the module. After the separation process, we prepared the pure thermoelectric material by the chemical etching for an impurity removal. Also the thermoelectric nanopowder was fabricated by a chemical reduction reaction using the recycled thermoelectric materials. The recovered nanopowder was confirmed to the phase of bismuth telluride (Bi2Te3) with the particle size of -15 nm.

  4. Synthesis of the thermoelectric nanopowder recovered from the used thermoelectric modules.

    PubMed

    Lee, Kun-Jae; Jin, Yun-Ho; Kong, Man-Sik

    2014-10-01

    We fabricated the thermoelectric powder using the used thermoelectric modules in a vehicle. As a starting material, the used thermoelectric modules were collected and separated to substrate, electrode, solder, and thermoelectric parts by a thermal process. The separation process was performed in a wet process at the critical temperature. The solder in the module was the neighbor part of the thermoelectric material with the lowest melting temperature in the module. We focused on the thermal property of the solder to separate the thermoelectric chips in the module. After the separation process, we prepared the pure thermoelectric material by the chemical etching for an impurity removal. Also the thermoelectric nanopowder was fabricated by a chemical reduction reaction using the recycled thermoelectric materials. The recovered nanopowder was confirmed to the phase of bismuth telluride (Bi2Te3) with the particle size of -15 nm. PMID:25942894

  5. Classification of Valleytronics in Thermoelectricity.

    PubMed

    Norouzzadeh, Payam; Vashaee, Daryoosh

    2016-01-01

    The theory of valleytronics as a material design tool for engineering both thermal and electrical transport properties is presented. It is shown that the interplay among the valleytronics parameters such as the degeneracy of the band, intervalley transitions, effective mass, scattering exponent, and the Fermi energy may deteriorate or ameliorate any or all of the main thermoelectric properties. A flowchart classifying the different paths through which the valleytronics can influence the thermoelectric figure-of-merit ZT is derived and discussed in detail. To exemplify the application of the flowchart, valleytronics in four different semiconductors, Mg2Si, Si0.8Ge0.2, Al(x)Ga(1-x)As and clathrate Si46-VIII were studied, which showed different trends. Therefore, a degenerate multivalley bandstructure, which is typically anticipated for a good thermoelectric material, cannot be a general design rule for ZT enhancement and a detailed transport study is required to engineer the optimum bandstructure. PMID:26972331

  6. Control system for thermoelectric refrigerator

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Nelson, John L. (Inventor); Criscuolo, Lance (Inventor); Gilley, Michael D. (Inventor); Park, Brian V. (Inventor)

    1996-01-01

    Apparatus including a power supply (202) and control system is provided for maintaining the temperature within an enclosed structure (40) using thermoelectric devices (92). The apparatus may be particularly beneficial for use with a refrigerator (20) having superinsulation materials (46) and phase change materials (112) which cooperate with the thermoelectric device (92) to substantially enhance the overall operating efficiency of the refrigerator (20). The electrical power supply (202) and control system allows increasing the maximum power capability of the thermoelectric device (92) in response to increased heat loads within the refrigerator (20). The electrical power supply (202) and control system may also be used to monitor the performance of the cooling system (70) associated with the refrigerator (20).

  7. Classification of Valleytronics in Thermoelectricity

    PubMed Central

    Norouzzadeh, Payam; Vashaee, Daryoosh

    2016-01-01

    The theory of valleytronics as a material design tool for engineering both thermal and electrical transport properties is presented. It is shown that the interplay among the valleytronics parameters such as the degeneracy of the band, intervalley transitions, effective mass, scattering exponent, and the Fermi energy may deteriorate or ameliorate any or all of the main thermoelectric properties. A flowchart classifying the different paths through which the valleytronics can influence the thermoelectric figure-of-merit ZT is derived and discussed in detail. To exemplify the application of the flowchart, valleytronics in four different semiconductors, Mg2Si, Si0.8Ge0.2, AlxGa1−xAs and clathrate Si46-VIII were studied, which showed different trends. Therefore, a degenerate multivalley bandstructure, which is typically anticipated for a good thermoelectric material, cannot be a general design rule for ZT enhancement and a detailed transport study is required to engineer the optimum bandstructure. PMID:26972331

  8. Classification of Valleytronics in Thermoelectricity

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Norouzzadeh, Payam; Vashaee, Daryoosh

    2016-03-01

    The theory of valleytronics as a material design tool for engineering both thermal and electrical transport properties is presented. It is shown that the interplay among the valleytronics parameters such as the degeneracy of the band, intervalley transitions, effective mass, scattering exponent, and the Fermi energy may deteriorate or ameliorate any or all of the main thermoelectric properties. A flowchart classifying the different paths through which the valleytronics can influence the thermoelectric figure-of-merit ZT is derived and discussed in detail. To exemplify the application of the flowchart, valleytronics in four different semiconductors, Mg2Si, Si0.8Ge0.2, AlxGa1‑xAs and clathrate Si46-VIII were studied, which showed different trends. Therefore, a degenerate multivalley bandstructure, which is typically anticipated for a good thermoelectric material, cannot be a general design rule for ZT enhancement and a detailed transport study is required to engineer the optimum bandstructure.

  9. Thermoelectric effects in graphene nanostructures

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dollfus, Philippe; Nguyen, Viet Hung; Saint-Martin, Jérôme

    2015-04-01

    The thermoelectric properties of graphene and graphene nanostructures have recently attracted significant attention from the physics and engineering communities. In fundamental physics, the analysis of Seebeck and Nernst effects is very useful in elucidating some details of the electronic band structure of graphene that cannot be probed by conductance measurements alone, due in particular to the ambipolar nature of this gapless material. For applications in thermoelectric energy conversion, graphene has two major disadvantages. It is gapless, which leads to a small Seebeck coefficient due to the opposite contributions of electrons and holes, and it is an excellent thermal conductor. The thermoelectric figure of merit ZT of a two-dimensional (2D) graphene sheet is thus very limited. However, many works have demonstrated recently that appropriate nanostructuring and bandgap engineering of graphene can concomitantly strongly reduce the lattice thermal conductance and enhance the Seebeck coefficient without dramatically degrading the electronic conductance. Hence, in various graphene nanostructures, ZT has been predicted to be high enough to make them attractive for energy conversion. In this article, we review the main results obtained experimentally and theoretically on the thermoelectric properties of graphene and its nanostructures, emphasizing the physical effects that govern these properties. Beyond pure graphene structures, we discuss also the thermoelectric properties of some hybrid graphene structures, as graphane, layered carbon allotropes such as graphynes and graphdiynes, and graphene/hexagonal boron nitride heterostructures which offer new opportunities. Finally, we briefly review the recent activities on other atomically thin 2D semiconductors with finite bandgap, i.e. dichalcogenides and phosphorene, which have attracted great attention for various kinds of applications, including thermoelectrics.

  10. Thermoelectric effects in graphene nanostructures.

    PubMed

    Dollfus, Philippe; Hung Nguyen, Viet; Saint-Martin, Jérôme

    2015-04-10

    The thermoelectric properties of graphene and graphene nanostructures have recently attracted significant attention from the physics and engineering communities. In fundamental physics, the analysis of Seebeck and Nernst effects is very useful in elucidating some details of the electronic band structure of graphene that cannot be probed by conductance measurements alone, due in particular to the ambipolar nature of this gapless material. For applications in thermoelectric energy conversion, graphene has two major disadvantages. It is gapless, which leads to a small Seebeck coefficient due to the opposite contributions of electrons and holes, and it is an excellent thermal conductor. The thermoelectric figure of merit ZT of a two-dimensional (2D) graphene sheet is thus very limited. However, many works have demonstrated recently that appropriate nanostructuring and bandgap engineering of graphene can concomitantly strongly reduce the lattice thermal conductance and enhance the Seebeck coefficient without dramatically degrading the electronic conductance. Hence, in various graphene nanostructures, ZT has been predicted to be high enough to make them attractive for energy conversion. In this article, we review the main results obtained experimentally and theoretically on the thermoelectric properties of graphene and its nanostructures, emphasizing the physical effects that govern these properties. Beyond pure graphene structures, we discuss also the thermoelectric properties of some hybrid graphene structures, as graphane, layered carbon allotropes such as graphynes and graphdiynes, and graphene/hexagonal boron nitride heterostructures which offer new opportunities. Finally, we briefly review the recent activities on other atomically thin 2D semiconductors with finite bandgap, i.e. dichalcogenides and phosphorene, which have attracted great attention for various kinds of applications, including thermoelectrics.

  11. Thermoelectric refrigerator having improved temperature stabilization means

    DOEpatents

    Falco, Charles M.

    1982-01-01

    A control system for thermoelectric refrigerators is disclosed. The thermoelectric refrigerator includes at least one thermoelectric element that undergoes a first order change at a predetermined critical temperature. The element functions as a thermoelectric refrigerator element above the critical temperature, but discontinuously ceases to function as a thermoelectric refrigerator element below the critical temperature. One example of such an arrangement includes thermoelectric refrigerator elements which are superconductors. The transition temperature of one of the superconductor elements is selected as the temperature control point of the refrigerator. When the refrigerator attempts to cool below the point, the metals become superconductors losing their ability to perform as a thermoelectric refrigerator. An extremely accurate, first-order control is realized.

  12. Semimetal/Semiconductor Nanocomposites for Thermoelectrics

    SciTech Connect

    Lu, Hong; Burke, Peter G.; Gossard, Arthur C.; Zeng, Gehong; Ramu, Ashok T.; Bahk, Je-Hyeong; Bowers, John E.

    2011-04-15

    In this work, we present research on semimetal-semiconductor nanocomposites grown by molecular beam epitaxy (MBE) for thermoelectric applications. We study several different III-V semiconductors embedded with semimetallic rare earth-group V (RE-V) compounds, but focus is given here to ErSb:InxGa1-xSb as a promising p-type thermoelectric material. Nano­structures of RE-V compounds are formed and embedded within the III-V semiconductor matrix. By codoping the nanocomposites with the appropriate dopants, both n-type and p-type materials have been made for thermoelectric applications. The thermoelectric properties have been engineered for enhanced thermoelectric device performance. Segmented thermoelectric power generator modules using 50 μm thick Er-containing nanocomposites have been fabricated and measured. Research on different rare earth elements for thermoelectrics is discussed.

  13. Coupled improvement between thermoelectric and piezoelectric materials

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Montgomery, David; Hewitt, Corey; Dun, Chaochao; Carroll, David

    A novel coupling effect in a thermoelectric and piezoelectric meta-structure is discussed. Thermo-piezoelectric generators (TPEGs) exhibit a synergistic effect that amplifies output voltage, and has been observed to increase piezoelectric voltages over 500% of initial values a time dependent thermoelectric/pyroelectric effect. The resulting improvement in voltage has been observed in carbon nanotubes as well as inorganics such as two-dimensional Bismuth Selenide platelets and Telluride nanorods thin-film thermoelectrics. TPEGs are built by integrating insulating layers of polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF) piezoelectric films between flexible thin film p-type and n-type thermoelectrics. The physical phenomena arising in the interaction between thermoelectric and piezoelectrics is discussed and a model is presented to quantify the expected coupling voltage as a function of stress, thermal gradient, and different thermoelectric materials. TPEG are ideal to capture waste heat and vibrational energy while creating larger voltages and minimizing space when compared with similar thermoelectric or piezoelectric generators.

  14. Improved Thermoelectric Performance via Piezoelectric Interaction

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Montgomery, David

    2015-03-01

    Presented are the initial findings of enhanced voltage output in a hybrid thermoelectric piezoelectric generator (TPEG). We constructed TPEG by integrating insulating layers of polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF) piezoelectric films between flexible thin film p-type and n-type thermoelectrics. The piezoelectric bound surface charge modifies the thermoelectric properties of the semiconductor electrodes which facilitates an increase in voltage. The TPEG voltage output has three contributions: traditional thermoelectric and piezoelectric terms, and a unique coupling term. A combined thermoelectric and piezoelectric model can be used to quantify the expected coupling voltage as a function of stress and thermal gradient. The fabrication, placement, and configuration of this interface allows for different device designs and affects overall performance. Under easily achievable stress and thermal gradient this new coupling effect can increase voltage output by 20%. Because of this piezoelectric modified thermoelectric effect these hybrid generators can out preform equivalent thermoelectric or piezoelectric generators.

  15. Phonon thermoelectric transistors and rectifiers

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Jiang, Jian-Hua; Kulkarni, Manas; Segal, Dvira; Imry, Yoseph

    2015-07-01

    We describe nonlinear phonon-thermoelectric devices where charge current and electronic and phononic heat currents are coupled, driven by voltage and temperature biases, when phonon-assisted inelastic processes dominate the transport. Our thermoelectric transistors and rectifiers can be realized in a gate-tunable double quantum-dot system embedded in a nanowire which is realizable within current technology. The inelastic electron-phonon scattering processes are found to induce pronounced charge, heat, and cross rectification effects, as well as a thermal transistor effect that, remarkably, can appear in the present model even in the linear-response regime without relying on the onset of negative differential thermal conductance.

  16. Polymer composites for thermoelectric applications.

    PubMed

    McGrail, Brendan T; Sehirlioglu, Alp; Pentzer, Emily

    2015-02-01

    This review covers recently reported polymer composites that show a thermoelectric (TE) effect and thus have potential application as thermoelectric generators and Peltier coolers. The growing need for CO2-minimizing energy sources and thermal management systems makes the development of new TE materials a key challenge for researchers across many fields, particularly in light of the scarcity or toxicity of traditional inorganic TE materials based on Te and Pb. Recent reports of composites with inorganic and organic additives in conjugated and insulating polymer matrices are covered, as well as the techniques needed to fully characterize their TE properties. PMID:25537227

  17. Concentrated Solar Thermoelectric Power

    SciTech Connect

    Chen, Gang; Ren, Zhifeng

    2015-07-09

    The goal of this project is to demonstrate in the lab that solar thermoelectric generators (STEGs) can exceed 10% solar-to-electricity efficiency, and STEGs can be integrated with phase-change materials (PCM) for thermal storage, providing operation beyond daylight hours. This project achieved significant progress in many tasks necessary to achieving the overall project goals. An accurate Themoelectric Generator (TEG) model was developed, which included realistic treatment of contact materials, contact resistances and radiative losses. In terms of fabricating physical TEGs, high performance contact materials for skutterudite TE segments were developed, along with brazing and soldering methods to assemble segmented TEGs. Accurate measurement systems for determining device performance (in addition to just TE material performance) were built for this project and used to characterize our TEGs. From the optical components’ side, a spectrally selective cermet surface was developed with high solar absorptance and low thermal emittance, with thermal stability at high temperature. A measurement technique was also developed to determine absorptance and total hemispherical emittance at high temperature, and was used to characterize the fabricated spectrally selective surfaces. In addition, a novel reflective cavity was designed to reduce radiative absorber losses and achieve high receiver efficiency at low concentration ratios. A prototype cavity demonstrated that large reductions in radiative losses were possible through this technique. For the overall concentrating STEG system, a number of devices were fabricated and tested in a custom built test platform to characterize their efficiency performance. Additionally, testing was performed with integration of PCM thermal storage, and the storage time of the lab scale system was evaluated. Our latest testing results showed a STEG efficiency of 9.6%, indicating promising potential for high performance concentrated STEGs.

  18. High Performance Bulk Thermoelectric Materials

    SciTech Connect

    Ren, Zhifeng

    2013-03-31

    Over 13 plus years, we have carried out research on electron pairing symmetry of superconductors, growth and their field emission property studies on carbon nanotubes and semiconducting nanowires, high performance thermoelectric materials and other interesting materials. As a result of the research, we have published 104 papers, have educated six undergraduate students, twenty graduate students, nine postdocs, nine visitors, and one technician.

  19. Design Calculations for Thermoelectric Generators

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Zeldin, B.

    1983-01-01

    Nine simplified analytic models based on average properties accurately predict heat rates for silicon/germanium thermoelectric generators. Solutions from simplified models were compared with those obtained using sophisticated numerical analysis. Maximum errors in calculated heat rate range from about 4 percent to about 0.2 percent. Models also used to calculate power delivered to load and thermodynamic efficiency.

  20. Transient thermal analysis of a space reactor power system

    SciTech Connect

    Gaeta, M.J.; Best, F.R. . Dept. of Nuclear Engineering)

    1993-07-01

    Space nuclear power systems utilize materials and processes that are completely different from terrestrial reactor systems. Therefore, the tools used to analyze ground-based systems are inappropriate for space reactor design and analysis. The purpose of this study was to develop a space reactor transient analysis tool and to apply this tool to scenarios of interest. The scope of the simulation includes the thermal and neutronic behavior of a liquid-metal-cooled fast reactor, the electrical and thermal performance of the thermoelectric generators, the thermal dynamics of heat pipe radiators, and the thermal behavior of the coolant piping between major components. The thermal model of the system is explicitly coupled to a momentum model of the primary and secondary coolant loops. A one-dimensional conduction model is employed in all solid component models. The reactor model includes an expression for energy generation due to fission and decay heat. The thermoelectric heat exchanger model accounts for thermal energy conversion to useful electrical output. The two-node radiator heat pipe model includes normal operation as well as limited heat pipe operation under sonic limit conditions. The reactor, thermoelectric heat exchanger, and heat pipe models are coupled explicitly by the coolant piping thermal model. The computer program is used to simulate a variety of transients including reactor power changer, degradation of the radiator, and a temporary open circuit condition on the thermoelectrics.

  1. Thermoionic converter for space Reactor

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cao, Shengquan; Yang, Jicai

    1990-05-01

    Thermionic converters offer many advantages for use as space reactors. Over the last several years, six experiments were performed, of which four were in-pile experiments and two out-pile experiments. Of the four in-pile experiments, three involved the use of three converters linked in series. The use of nuclear reactors as the power source for an electrical system in space is one of the important developmental projects under consideration today. For a time extending relatively long into the future, according to most opinions on potential power requirements, the choice of a thermionic converter to implement thermoelectric conversion has many advantages.

  2. Probabilistic Mechanical Reliability Prediction of Thermoelectric Legs

    SciTech Connect

    Jadaan, Osama M.; Wereszczak, Andrew A

    2009-05-01

    The probability of failure, Pf, for various square-arrayed thermoelectric device designs using bismuth telluride, lead telluride, or skutterudite thermoelectric materials were estimated. Only volume- or bulk-based Pf analysis was considered in this study. The effects of the choice of the thermoelectric material, the size of the leg array, the height of the thermoelectric legs, and the boundary conditions on the Pf of thermoelectric devices were investigated. Yielding of the solder contacts and mounting layer was taken into account. The modeling results showed that the use of longer legs, using skutterudites, allowing the thermoelectric device to freely deform while under a thermal gradient, and using smaller arrays promoted higher probabilities of survival.

  3. Direct-energy-conversion implications of Space Nuclear Reactors

    SciTech Connect

    Morris, J.F.

    1982-08-01

    The Air Force, NASA and DOE stress space-nuclear reactor (SNR) needs in 1981 IECEC papers. SNR proposals range from 10-to-100kW /SUB e/,s with thermoelectrics through the fractional-to-several MW /SUB e/ 's with thermionic conversion to rotating bed-reactor (RBR) and NERVA ultraversions. SNR direct conversion comprises thermionic and thermoelectric generation (TEG). Thermionic energy conversion (TEC) pervades the pre-1973 in-core and out-of-core-heat-pipe concepts. SPAR and SP-100 focus on thermoelectrics because of ostensible fuel-temperature limits. A Rasor Associates mini-heat-pipe reactor verifies again the high-power capability of this SNR type--as well as TEC advantages over TEG. Finally with about 2000K effluents, directly from RBR's, NERVA's or from MHD used with them, TEC could also produce very high power levels. This paper outlines SNR needs, discusses some proposed concepts and recommends future technology programs.

  4. Static conversion systems. [for space power reactors

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Ewell, R.; Mondt, J.

    1985-01-01

    Historically, all space power systems that have actually flown in space have relied on static energy conversion technology. Thus, static conversion is being considered for space nuclear power systems as well. There are four potential static conversion technologies which should be considered. These include: the alkali metal thermoelectric converter (AMTEC), the thermionic converter, the thermoelectric converter, and the thermophotovoltaic converter (TPV). These four conversion technologies will be described in brief detail along with their current status and development needs. In addition, the systems implications of using each of these conversion technologies with a space nuclear reactor power system will be evaluated and some comparisons made.

  5. Boron nitride zigzag nanoribbons: optimal thermoelectric systems.

    PubMed

    Zberecki, K; Swirkowicz, R; Barnaś, J

    2015-09-14

    Conventional and spin related thermoelectric effects in zigzag boron nitride nanoribbons are studied theoretically within the Density Functional Theory (DFT) approach. Nanoribbons with edges passivated with hydrogen, as well as those with bare edges are analyzed. It is shown that one spin channel in the nanoribbons of 0HB-0HN and 2HB-1HN types becomes nonconductive slightly above the Fermi level, and therefore such nanoribbons reveal remarkable spin related thermoelectric phenomena and are promising materials for thermoelectric nanodevices. Thermoelectricity in BN nanoribbons of other types is less efficient and therefore these materials are less interesting for applications. PMID:26250512

  6. Thermoelectric Polymers and their Elastic Aerogels.

    PubMed

    Khan, Zia Ullah; Edberg, Jesper; Hamedi, Mahiar Max; Gabrielsson, Roger; Granberg, Hjalmar; Wågberg, Lars; Engquist, Isak; Berggren, Magnus; Crispin, Xavier

    2016-06-01

    Electronically conducting polymers constitute an emerging class of materials for novel electronics, such as printed electronics and flexible electronics. Their properties have been further diversified to introduce elasticity, which has opened new possibility for "stretchable" electronics. Recent discoveries demonstrate that conducting polymers have thermoelectric properties with a low thermal conductivity, as well as tunable Seebeck coefficients - which is achieved by modulating their electrical conductivity via simple redox reactions. Using these thermoelectric properties, all-organic flexible thermoelectric devices, such as temperature sensors, heat flux sensors, and thermoelectric generators, are being developed. In this article we discuss the combination of the two emerging fields: stretchable electronics and polymer thermoelectrics. The combination of elastic and thermoelectric properties seems to be unique for conducting polymers, and difficult to achieve with inorganic thermoelectric materials. We introduce the basic concepts, and state of the art knowledge, about the thermoelectric properties of conducting polymers, and illustrate the use of elastic thermoelectric conducting polymer aerogels that could be employed as temperature and pressure sensors in an electronic-skin.

  7. Thermionic Energy Conversion (TEC) topping thermoelectrics

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Morris, J. F.

    1981-01-01

    Performance expectations for thermionic and thermoelectric energy conversion systems are reviewed. It is noted that internal radiation effects diminish thermoelectric figures of merit significantly at 1000 K and substantially at 2000 K; the effective thermal conductivity contribution of intrathermoelectric radiative dissipation increases with the third power of temperature. It is argued that a consideration of thermoelectric power generation with high temperature heat sources should include utilization of thermionic energy conversion (TEC) topping thermoelectrics. However TEC alone or TEC topping more efficient conversion systems like steam or gas turbines, combined cycles, or Stirling engines would be more desirable generally.

  8. Thermoelectric Energy Conversion: Future Directions and Technology Development Needs

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Fleurial, Jean-Pierre

    2007-01-01

    This viewgraph presentation reviews the process of thermoelectric energy conversion along with key technology needs and challenges. The topics include: 1) The Case for Thermoelectrics; 2) Advances in Thermoelectrics: Investment Needed; 3) Current U.S. Investment (FY07); 4) Increasing Thermoelectric Materials Conversion Efficiency Key Science Needs and Challenges; 5) Developing Advanced TE Components & Systems Key Technology Needs and Challenges; 6) Thermoelectrics; 7) 200W Class Lightweight Portable Thermoelectric Generator; 8) Hybrid Absorption Cooling/TE Power Cogeneration System; 9) Major Opportunities in Energy Industry; 10) Automobile Waste Heat Recovery; 11) Thermoelectrics at JPL; 12) Recent Advances at JPL in Thermoelectric Converter Component Technologies; 13) Thermoelectrics Background on Power Generation and Cooling Operational Modes; 14) Thermoelectric Power Generation; and 15) Thermoelectric Cooling.

  9. Thermoelectric Devices Advance Thermal Management

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2007-01-01

    Thermoelectric (TE) devices heat, cool, and generate electricity when a temperature differential is provided between the two module faces. In cooperation with NASA, Chico, California-based United States Thermoelectric Consortium Inc. (USTC) built a gas emissions analyzer (GEA) for combustion research. The GEA precipitated hydrocarbon particles, preventing contamination that would hinder precise rocket fuel analysis. The USTC research and design team uses patent-pending dimple, pin-fin, microchannel and microjet structures to develop and design heat dissipation devices on the mini-scale level, which not only guarantee high performance of products, but also scale device size from 1 centimeter to 10 centimeters. USTC continues to integrate the benefits of TE devices in its current line of thermal management solutions and has found the accessibility of NASA technical research to be a valuable, sustainable resource that has continued to positively influence its product design and manufacturing

  10. Thermoelectric Outer Planets Spacecraft (TOPS)

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    1973-01-01

    The research and advanced development work is reported on a ballistic-mode, outer planet spacecraft using radioisotope thermoelectric generator (RTG) power. The Thermoelectric Outer Planet Spacecraft (TOPS) project was established to provide the advanced systems technology that would allow the realistic estimates of performance, cost, reliability, and scheduling that are required for an actual flight mission. A system design of the complete RTG-powered outer planet spacecraft was made; major technical innovations of certain hardware elements were designed, developed, and tested; and reliability and quality assurance concepts were developed for long-life requirements. At the conclusion of its active phase, the TOPS Project reached its principal objectives: a development and experience base was established for project definition, and for estimating cost, performance, and reliability; an understanding of system and subsystem capabilities for successful outer planets missions was achieved. The system design answered long-life requirements with massive redundancy, controlled by on-board analysis of spacecraft performance data.

  11. Mechanical Response of Thermoelectric Materials

    SciTech Connect

    Wereszczak, Andrew A.; Case, Eldon D.

    2015-05-01

    A sufficient mechanical response of thermoelectric materials (TEMats) to structural loadings is a prerequisite to the exploitation of any candidate TEMat's thermoelectric efficiency. If a TEMat is mechanically damaged or cracks from service-induced stresses, then its thermal and electrical functions can be compromised or even cease. Semiconductor TEMats tend to be quite brittle and have a high coefficient of thermal expansion; therefore, they can be quite susceptible to mechanical failure when subjected to operational thermal gradients. Because of this, sufficient mechanical response (vis-a-vis, mechanical properties) of any candidate TEMat must be achieved and sustained in the context of the service-induced stress state to which it is subjected. This report provides an overview of the mechanical responses of state-of-the-art TEMats; discusses the relevant properties that are associated with those responses and their measurement; and describes important, nonequilibrium phenomena that further complicate their use in thermoelectric devices. For reference purposes, the report also includes several appendixes that list published data on elastic properties and strengths of a variety of TEMats.

  12. Towards a Microbial Thermoelectric Cell

    PubMed Central

    Rodríguez-Barreiro, Raúl; Abendroth, Christian; Vilanova, Cristina; Moya, Andrés; Porcar, Manuel

    2013-01-01

    Microbial growth is an exothermic process. Biotechnological industries produce large amounts of heat, usually considered an undesirable by-product. In this work, we report the construction and characterization of the first microbial thermoelectric cell (MTC), in which the metabolic heat produced by a thermally insulated microbial culture is partially converted into electricity through a thermoelectric device optimized for low ΔT values. A temperature of 41°C and net electric voltage of around 250–600 mV was achieved with 1.7 L baker’s yeast culture. This is the first time microbial metabolic energy has been converted into electricity with an ad hoc thermoelectric device. These results might contribute towards developing a novel strategy to harvest excess heat in the biotechnology industry, in processes such as ethanol fermentation, auto thermal aerobic digestion (ATAD) or bioremediation, which could be coupled with MTCs in a single unit to produce electricity as a valuable by-product of the primary biotechnological product. Additionally, we propose that small portable MTCs could be conceived and inoculated with suitable thermophilic of hyperthermophilic starter cultures and used for powering small electric devices. PMID:23468862

  13. Towards Improved Thermoelectric Generator Materials

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Julian Goldsmid, H.

    2016-07-01

    Over recent years, new thermoelectric materials have been developed with values for the dimensionless figure of merit, zT, substantially greater than unity. This has opened up the possibility of many new applications, particularly those involving the utilisation of waste heat. However, further improvements are necessary if thermoelectric generation is to have a significant impact on the world's energy problems. It is well known that zT for a single energy band can be related to the Fermi energy and a parameter (μ/λ L) (m*/m)3/2, where μ is the carrier mobility, m*/m is the ratio of the carrier effective mass to the mass of a free electron and λ L is the lattice thermal conductivity. However, even when this parameter tends towards infinity, zT does not become much greater than 1 unless the Fermi level lies within the energy gap, far from the appropriate band edge. Thus, the magnitude of the energy gap is becoming of increasing importance. The two-fold requirements of a high value of (μ/λ L) (m*/m)3/2 and a sufficiently large energy gap are discussed. It is also shown that the likelihood of the required conditions being met at elevated temperatures can be predicted from low-temperature observations. It is, of course, much more difficult to make accurate determinations of the thermoelectric properties at higher temperatures.

  14. Towards a microbial thermoelectric cell.

    PubMed

    Rodríguez-Barreiro, Raúl; Abendroth, Christian; Vilanova, Cristina; Moya, Andrés; Porcar, Manuel

    2013-01-01

    Microbial growth is an exothermic process. Biotechnological industries produce large amounts of heat, usually considered an undesirable by-product. In this work, we report the construction and characterization of the first microbial thermoelectric cell (MTC), in which the metabolic heat produced by a thermally insulated microbial culture is partially converted into electricity through a thermoelectric device optimized for low ΔT values. A temperature of 41°C and net electric voltage of around 250-600 mV was achieved with 1.7 L baker's yeast culture. This is the first time microbial metabolic energy has been converted into electricity with an ad hoc thermoelectric device. These results might contribute towards developing a novel strategy to harvest excess heat in the biotechnology industry, in processes such as ethanol fermentation, auto thermal aerobic digestion (ATAD) or bioremediation, which could be coupled with MTCs in a single unit to produce electricity as a valuable by-product of the primary biotechnological product. Additionally, we propose that small portable MTCs could be conceived and inoculated with suitable thermophilic of hyperthermophilic starter cultures and used for powering small electric devices.

  15. Nanostructures having high performance thermoelectric properties

    DOEpatents

    Yang, Peidong; Majumdar, Arunava; Hochbaum, Allon I; Chen, Renkun; Delgado, Raul Diaz

    2014-05-20

    The invention provides for a nanostructure, or an array of such nanostructures, each comprising a rough surface, and a doped or undoped semiconductor. The nanostructure is an one-dimensional (1-D) nanostructure, such a nanowire, or a two-dimensional (2-D) nanostructure. The nanostructure can be placed between two electrodes and used for thermoelectric power generation or thermoelectric cooling.

  16. Thermoelectric generator apparatus and operation method

    SciTech Connect

    Lowther, F.E.

    1984-07-31

    A method of operating a thermoelectric generator includes: cyclically producing increasing then decreasing temperature differences in the thermoelectric material of the generator; and generating a cyclically increasing then decreasing electrical generator output signal, in response to such temperature differences, to transmit electrical power generated by the generator from the generator. Part of the thermoelectric material reaches temperatures substantially above the melting temperature of the material. The thermoelectric material of the generator forms a part of a closed electrical loop about a transformer core so that the inductor voltage for the loop serves as the output signal of the generator. A thermoelectric generator, which can be driven by the described method of operation, incorporates fins into a thermopile to conduct heat toward or away from the alternating spaces between adjacent layers of different types of thermoelectric material. The fins extend from between adjacent layers, so that they can also conduct electrical current between such layers, perpendicularly to the direction of stacking of the layers. The exhaust from an internal combustion engine can be employed to drive the thermoelectric generator, and, also, to act as a driver for a thermoelectric generator in accordance with the method of operation initially described.

  17. Nanostructures having high performance thermoelectric properties

    DOEpatents

    Yang, Peidong; Majumdar, Arunava; Hochbaum, Allon I.; Chen, Renkun; Delgado, Raul Diaz

    2015-12-22

    The invention provides for a nanostructure, or an array of such nanostructures, each comprising a rough surface, and a doped or undoped semiconductor. The nanostructure is an one-dimensional (1-D) nanostructure, such a nanowire, or a two-dimensional (2-D) nanostructure. The nanostructure can be placed between two electrodes and used for thermoelectric power generation or thermoelectric cooling.

  18. Boron Carbides As Thermo-electric Materials

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Wood, Charles

    1988-01-01

    Report reviews recent theoretical and experimental research on thermoelectric materials. Recent work with narrow-band semiconductors demonstrated possibility of relatively high thermoelectric energy-conversion efficiencies in materials withstanding high temperatures needed to attain such efficiencies. Among promising semiconductors are boron-rich borides, especially boron carbides.

  19. Thermoelectric Development at Hi-Z Technology

    SciTech Connect

    Kushch, Aleksandr S.; Bass, John C.; Ghamaty, Saeid; Elsner, Norbert B.; Bergstrand, Richard A.; Furrow, David; Melvin, Mike

    2002-08-25

    An improved Thermoelectric Generator (TEG) for the Heavy Duty Class Eight Diesel Trucks is under development at Hi-Z Technology. The current TEG is equipped with the improved HZ-14 Thermoelectric module, which features better mechanical properties as well as higher electric power output. Also, the modules are held in place more securely.

  20. Heat reflecting tape for thermoelectric converter

    DOEpatents

    Purdy, David L.

    1977-01-01

    Threads are interlaced with thermoelectric wires to provide a woven cloth in tape form, there being an intermediate layer of heat radiation reflecting material (e.g., aluminum foil) insulated electrically from said wires, which are of opposite thermoelectric polarity and connected as a plurality of thermocouples.

  1. Review of nanostructured devices for thermoelectric applications.

    PubMed

    Pennelli, Giovanni

    2014-01-01

    A big research effort is currently dedicated to the development of thermoelectric devices capable of a direct thermal-to-electrical energy conversion, aiming at efficiencies as high as possible. These devices are very attractive for many applications in the fields of energy recovery and green energy harvesting. In this paper, after a quick summary of the fundamental principles of thermoelectricity, the main characteristics of materials needed for high efficiency thermoelectric conversion will be discussed, and a quick review of the most promising materials currently under development will be given. This review paper will put a particular emphasis on nanostructured silicon, which represents a valid compromise between good thermoelectric properties on one side and material availability, sustainability, technological feasibility on the other side. The most important bottom-up and top-down nanofabrication techniques for large area silicon nanowire arrays, to be used for high efficiency thermoelectric devices, will be presented and discussed. PMID:25247111

  2. Review of nanostructured devices for thermoelectric applications

    PubMed Central

    2014-01-01

    Summary A big research effort is currently dedicated to the development of thermoelectric devices capable of a direct thermal-to-electrical energy conversion, aiming at efficiencies as high as possible. These devices are very attractive for many applications in the fields of energy recovery and green energy harvesting. In this paper, after a quick summary of the fundamental principles of thermoelectricity, the main characteristics of materials needed for high efficiency thermoelectric conversion will be discussed, and a quick review of the most promising materials currently under development will be given. This review paper will put a particular emphasis on nanostructured silicon, which represents a valid compromise between good thermoelectric properties on one side and material availability, sustainability, technological feasibility on the other side. The most important bottom-up and top-down nanofabrication techniques for large area silicon nanowire arrays, to be used for high efficiency thermoelectric devices, will be presented and discussed. PMID:25247111

  3. Review of nanostructured devices for thermoelectric applications.

    PubMed

    Pennelli, Giovanni

    2014-01-01

    A big research effort is currently dedicated to the development of thermoelectric devices capable of a direct thermal-to-electrical energy conversion, aiming at efficiencies as high as possible. These devices are very attractive for many applications in the fields of energy recovery and green energy harvesting. In this paper, after a quick summary of the fundamental principles of thermoelectricity, the main characteristics of materials needed for high efficiency thermoelectric conversion will be discussed, and a quick review of the most promising materials currently under development will be given. This review paper will put a particular emphasis on nanostructured silicon, which represents a valid compromise between good thermoelectric properties on one side and material availability, sustainability, technological feasibility on the other side. The most important bottom-up and top-down nanofabrication techniques for large area silicon nanowire arrays, to be used for high efficiency thermoelectric devices, will be presented and discussed.

  4. Effect of heat transfer on the performance of thermoelectric generator-driven thermoelectric refrigerator system

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Chen, Lingen; Meng, Fankai; Sun, Fengrui

    2012-01-01

    A model of thermoelectric generator-driven thermoelectric refrigerator with external heat transfer is proposed. The performance of the combined thermoelectric refrigerator device obeying Newton's heat transfer law is analyzed using the combination of finite time thermodynamics and non-equilibrium thermodynamics. Two analytical formulae for cooling load vs. working electrical current, and the coefficient of performance (COP) vs. working electrical current, are derived. For a fixed total heat transfer surface area of four heat exchangers, the allocations of the heat transfer surface area among the four heat exchangers are optimized for maximizing the cooling load and the coefficient of performance (COP) of the combined thermoelectric refrigerator device. For a fixed total number of thermoelectric elements, the ratio of number of thermoelectric elements of the generator to the total number of thermoelectric elements is also optimized for maximizing both the cooling load and the COP of the combined thermoelectric refrigerator device. The influences of thermoelectric element allocation and heat transfer area allocation are analyzed by detailed numerical examples. Optimum working electrical current for maximum cooling load and COP at different total number of thermoelectric elements and different total heat transfer area are obtained, respectively.

  5. Thermoelectric generator having a resiliently mounted removable thermoelectric module

    DOEpatents

    Purdy, David L.; Shapiro, Zalman M.; Hursen, Thomas F.; Maurer, Gerould W.

    1976-11-02

    An electrical generator having an Isotopic Heat Capsule including radioactive fuel rod 21 as a primary heat source and Thermoelectric Modules 41 and 43 as converters. The Biological Shield for the Capsule is suspended from Spiders at each end each consisting of pretensioned rods 237 and 239 defining planes at right angles to each other. The Modules are mounted in cups 171 of transition members 173 of a heat rejection Fin Assembly whose fins 195 and 197 extend from both sides of the transition member 173 for effective cooling.

  6. Catalytic converter with thermoelectric generator

    SciTech Connect

    Parise, R.J.

    1998-07-01

    The unique design of an electrically heated catalyst (EHC) and the inclusion of an ECO valve in the exhaust of an internal combustion engine will meet the strict new emission requirements, especially at vehicle cold start, adopted by several states in this country as well as in Europe and Japan. The catalytic converter (CC) has been a most useful tool in pollution abatement for the automobile. But the emission requirements are becoming more stringent and, along with other improvements, the CC must be improved to meet these new standards. Coupled with the ECO valve, the EHC can meet these new emission limits. In an internal combustion engine vehicle (ICEV), approximately 80% of the energy consumed leaves the vehicle as waste heat: out the tail pipe, through the radiator, or convected/radiated off the engine. Included with the waste heat out the tail pipe are the products of combustion which must meet strict emission requirements. The design of a new CC is presented here. This is an automobile CC that has the capability of producing electrical power and reducing the quantity of emissions at vehicle cold start, the Thermoelectric Catalytic Power Generator. The CC utilizes the energy of the exothermic reactions that take place in the catalysis substrate to produce electrical energy with a thermoelectric generator. On vehicle cold start, the thermoelectric generator is used as a heat pump to heat the catalyst substrate to reduce the time to catalyst light-off. Thus an electrically heated catalyst (EHC) will be used to augment the abatement of tail pipe emissions. Included with the EHC in the exhaust stream of the automobile is the ECO valve. This valve restricts the flow of pollutants out the tail pipe of the vehicle for a specified amount of time until the EHC comes up to operating temperature. Then the ECO valve opens and allows the full exhaust, now treated by the EHC, to leave the vehicle.

  7. Thermoelectric materials development. Final report

    SciTech Connect

    Fleurial, J.P.; Caillat, T.; Borshchevsky, A.

    1998-09-01

    A systematic search for advanced thermoelectric materials was initiated at JPL several years ago to evaluate candidate materials which includes consideration of the following property attributes: (1) semiconducting properties; (2) large Seebeck coefficient; (3) high carrier mobility and high electrical conductivity; (4) low lattice thermal conductivity; and (5) chemical stability and low vapor pressure. Through this candidate screening process, JPL identified several families of materials as promising candidates for improved thermoelectric materials including the skutterudite family. There are several programs supporting various phases of the effort on these materials. As part of an ongoing effort to develop skutterudite materials with lower thermal conductivity values, several solid solutions and filled skutterudite materials were investigated under the effort sponsored by DOE. The efforts have primarily focused on: (1) study of existence and properties of solid solutions between the binary compounds CoSb{sub 3} and IrSb{sub 3}, and RuSb{sub 2}Te, and (2) CeFe{sub 4{minus}x}Sb{sub 12} based filled compositions. For the solid solutions, the lattice thermal conductivity reduction was expected to be reduced by the introduction of the Te and Ru atoms while in the case of CeFe{sub 4{minus}x}Ru{sub x}Sb{sub 12} based filled compositions. For the solid solutions, the lattice thermal conductivity reduction was expected to be reduced by the introduction of the Te and Ru atoms while in the case of CeFe{sub 4{minus}x}Ru{sub x}Sb{sub 12} filled compositions, the reduction would be caused by the rattling of Ce atoms located in the empty voids of the skutterudite structure and the substitution of Fe for Ru. The details of the sample preparation and characterization of their thermoelectric properties are reported in this report.

  8. Thermoelectricity in Confined Liquid Electrolytes.

    PubMed

    Dietzel, Mathias; Hardt, Steffen

    2016-06-01

    The electric field in an extended phase of a liquid electrolyte exposed to a temperature gradient is attributed to different thermophoretic mobilities of the ion species. As shown herein, such Soret-type ion thermodiffusion is not required to induce thermoelectricity even in the simplest electrolyte if it is confined between charged walls. The space charge of the electric double layer leads to selective ion diffusion driven by a temperature-dependent electrophoretic ion mobility, which-for narrow channels-may cause thermovoltages larger in magnitude than for the classical Soret equilibrium. PMID:27314730

  9. Thermoelectric effects in nanoscale junctions.

    PubMed

    Dubi, Yonatan; Di Ventra, Massimiliano

    2009-01-01

    Despite its intrinsic nonequilibrium origin, thermoelectricity in nanoscale systems is usually described within a static scattering approach which disregards the dynamical interaction with the thermal baths that maintain energy flow. Using the theory of open quantum systems, we show instead that unexpected properties, such as a resonant structure and large sign sensitivity, emerge if the nonequilibrium nature of this problem is considered. Our approach also allows us to define and study a local temperature, which shows hot spots and oscillations along the system according to the coupling of the latter to the electrodes. This demonstrates that Fourier's lawa paradigm of statistical mechanicsis generally violated in nanoscale junctions. PMID:19072125

  10. Thermoelectric properties of inverse opals

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mahan, G. D.; Poilvert, N.; Crespi, V. H.

    2016-02-01

    Rayleigh's method [Philos. Mag. Ser. 5 34, 481 (1892)] is used to solve for the classical thermoelectric equations in inverse opals. His theory predicts that in an inverse opal, with periodic holes, the Seebeck coefficient and the figure of merit are identical to that of the bulk material. We also provide a major revision to Rayleigh's method, in using the electrochemical potential as an important variable, instead of the electrostatic potential. We also show that in some cases, the thermal boundary resistance is important in the effective thermal conductivity.

  11. Scanning near-field thermoelectric microscopy for subsurface nanoscale thermoelectric behavior

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Xu, K. Q.; Zeng, H. R.; Zhao, K. Y.; Li, G. R.; Shi, X.; Chen, L. D.

    2016-05-01

    A novel scanning near-field thermoelectric microscopy (STeM) was proposed and developed for characterizing subsurface, nanoscale Seebeck coefficient of thermoelectric energy materials. In STeM, near-field evanescent thermal wave was induced around the thermal probe's contact with the thermoelectric sample's surface via a periodically modulated heated thermal probe, giving rise to a thermoelectric near-field interaction with simultaneous excitation of three harmonic signals for local Seebeck coefficient derivation. The near-field STeM was capable of characterizing local Seebeck coefficient of thermoelectric materials with high lateral resolution at nanometer scale and more importantly provides a convenient, powerful tool for quantitative characterization of subsurface nanoscale thermoelectric properties.

  12. Thermoelectric standardisation - Reference materials and characterisation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ziolkowski, P.; Blaschkewitz, P.; Stiewe, C.; Karpinski, G.; Müller, E.

    2012-06-01

    Thermoelectric materials for working temperatures between 300 K and 1000 K become continuously more important for energy recuperation applications. The efficiency is determined by the transport properties (electrical and thermal conductivity and Seebeck coefficient), which form the known thermoelectric figure of merit ZT. The thorough determination of ZT represents the basis for the assessment of thermoelectric materials research. Due to different continuing difficulties measurement errors distinctly higher than 15% can be observed repeatedly, which is still too high for an industrial benchmark and deficient for many scientific investigations and technological developments. Against this background a project was launched in 2011 together with the Fraunhofer Institute of Physical Measurement Techniques (IPM, Freiburg), the Department Temperature of the Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB, Berlin) and the company Netzsch Gerätebau GbmH (Selb). The aim of the project "Thermoelectric Standardisation" (TEST) is to minimise the measurement uncertainties and to develop traceable, high-accurate thermoelectric characterisation techniques and thermoelectric reference materials for the mentioned temperature range. Here we initially present the project to the thermoelectric society and want to give a survey on the planned activities and the current status of the contributions of the German Aerospace Center (DLR, Cologne).

  13. Dynamic thermoelectricity in uniform bipolar semiconductor

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Volovichev, I. N.

    2016-07-01

    The theory of the dynamic thermoelectric effect has been developed. The effect lies in an electric current flowing in a closed circuit that consists of a uniform bipolar semiconductor, in which a non-uniform temperature distribution in the form of the traveling wave is created. The calculations are performed for the one-dimensional model in the quasi-neutrality approximation. It was shown that the direct thermoelectric current prevails, despite the periodicity of the thermal excitation, the circuit homogeneity and the lack of rectifier properties of the semiconductor system. Several physical reasons underlining the dynamic thermoelectric effect are found. One of them is similar to the Dember photoelectric effect, its contribution to the current flowing is determined by the difference in the electron and hole mobilities, and is completely independent of the carrier Seebeck coefficients. The dependence of the thermoelectric short circuit current magnitude on the semiconductor parameters, as well as on the temperature wave amplitude, length and velocity is studied. It is shown that the magnitude of the thermoelectric current is proportional to the square of the temperature wave amplitude. The dependence of the thermoelectric short circuit current on the temperature wave length and velocity is the nonmonotonic function. The optimum values for the temperature wave length and velocity, at which the dynamic thermoelectric effect is the greatest, have been deduced. It is found that the thermoelectric short circuit current changes its direction with decreasing the temperature wave length under certain conditions. The prospects for the possible applications of the dynamic thermoelectric effect are also discussed.

  14. Scanning thermoelectric microscopy of local thermoelectric behaviors in (Bi,Sb)2Te3 films

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zhao, Kunyu; Zeng, Huarong; Xu, Kunqi; Yu, Huizhu; Li, Guorong; Song, Junqiang; Shi, Xun; Chen, Lidong

    2015-01-01

    In this paper we develop scanning thermoelectric microscopy (STeM) on the basis of commercial atomic force microscope. The nanoscale thermoelectric behaviors of (Bi,Sb)2Te3 (BST) thin films were studied. 3ω-technique was used for thermal conductivity imaging and quantitative thermal characterization. By acquiring the unique Seebeck information from 2ω frequency component, nanoscale thermoelectric images were firstly obtained, exhibiting remarkably inhomogeneous distribution of local Seebeck coefficient in the thin films. Positive thermoelectric response is revealed by the modulation of temperature difference between thermal tip and sample, corresponding to p-type conduction within BST sample.

  15. Silicon-Based Thermoelectrics: Harvesting Low Quality Heat Using Economically Printed Flexible Nanostructured Stacked Thermoelectric Junctions

    SciTech Connect

    2010-03-01

    Broad Funding Opportunity Announcement Project: UIUC is experimenting with silicon-based materials to develop flexible thermoelectric devices—which convert heat into energy—that can be mass-produced at low cost. A thermoelectric device, which resembles a computer chip, creates electricity when a different temperature is applied to each of its sides. Existing commercial thermoelectric devices contain the element tellurium, which limits production levels because tellurium has become increasingly rare. UIUC is replacing this material with microscopic silicon wires that are considerably cheaper and could be equally effective. Improvements in thermoelectric device production could return enough wasted heat to add up to 23% to our current annual electricity production.

  16. New directions for nanoscale thermoelectric materials research

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Dresselhaus, M. S.; Chen, G.; Tang, M. Y.; Yang, R. G.; Lee, H.; Wang, D. Z.; Ren, F.; Fleurial, J. P.; Gogna, P.

    2005-01-01

    Many of the recent advances in enhancing the thermoelectric figure of merit are linked to nanoscale phenomena with both bulk samples containing nanoscale constituents and nanoscale materials exhibiting enhanced thermoelectric performance in their own right. Prior theoretical and experimental proof of principle studies on isolated quantum well and quantum wire samples have now evolved into studies on bulk samples containing nanostructured constituents. In this review, nanostructural composites are shown to exhibit nanostructures and properties that show promise for thermoelectric applications. A review of some of the results obtained to date are presented.

  17. Thermoelectric effect in Aharonov-Bohm structures

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lu, Xin; Wang, Jian-Sheng; Morrel, William G.; Ni, Xiaoxi; Wu, Chang-Qin; Li, Baowen

    2015-01-01

    The thermoelectric effects of a single Aharonov-Bohm (SAB) ring and coupled double Aharonov-Bohm (DAB) rings have been investigated on a theoretical basis, taking into account the contributions of both electrons and phonons to the transport process by using the nonequilibrium Green's function technique. The thermoelectric figure of merit of the coupled DAB rings cannot be predicted directly by combining the values of two SAB ring systems due to the contribution of electron-phonon interaction to coupling between the two sites connecting the rings. We find that thermoelectric efficiency can be optimized by modulating the phases of the magnetic flux threading the two rings.

  18. Bulk dimensional nanocomposites for thermoelectric applications

    DOEpatents

    Nolas, George S

    2014-06-24

    Thermoelectric elements may be used for heat sensors, heat pumps, and thermoelectric generators. A quantum-dot or nano-scale grain size polycrystalline material the effects of size-quantization are present inside the nanocrystals. A thermoelectric element composed of densified Groups IV-VI material, such as calcogenide-based materials are doped with metal or chalcogenide to form interference barriers form along grains. The dopant used is either silver or sodium. These chalcogenide materials form nanoparticles of highly crystal grains, and may specifically be between 1- and 100 nm. The compound is densified by spark plasma sintering.

  19. Thermoelectric converters for alternating current standards

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Anatychuk, L. I.; Taschuk, D. D.

    2012-06-01

    Thermoelectric converters of alternating current remain priority instruments when creating standard equipment. This work presents the results of design and manufacture of alternating current converter for a military standard of alternating current in Ukraine. Results of simulation of temperature distribution in converter elements, ways of optimization to improve the accuracy of alternating current signal reproduction are presented. Results of metrological trials are given. The quality of thermoelectric material specially created for alternating current metrology is verified. The converter was used in alternating current standard for the frequency range from 10 Hz to 30 MHz. The efficiency of using thermoelectric signal converters in measuring instruments is confirmed.

  20. Thermoelectricity and thermodiffusion in charged colloids.

    PubMed

    Huang, B T; Roger, M; Bonetti, M; Salez, T J; Wiertel-Gasquet, C; Dubois, E; Cabreira Gomes, R; Demouchy, G; Mériguet, G; Peyre, V; Kouyaté, M; Filomeno, C L; Depeyrot, J; Tourinho, F A; Perzynski, R; Nakamae, S

    2015-08-01

    The Seebeck and Soret coefficients of ionically stabilized suspension of maghemite nanoparticles in dimethyl sulfoxide are experimentally studied as a function of nanoparticle volume fraction. In the presence of a temperature gradient, the charged colloidal nanoparticles experience both thermal drift due to their interactions with the solvent and electric forces proportional to the internal thermoelectric field. The resulting thermodiffusion of nanoparticles is observed through forced Rayleigh scattering measurements, while the thermoelectric field is accessed through voltage measurements in a thermocell. Both techniques provide independent estimates of nanoparticle's entropy of transfer as high as 82 meV K(-1). Such a property may be used to improve the thermoelectric coefficients in liquid thermocells.

  1. In-line thermoelectric module

    DOEpatents

    Pento, Robert; Marks, James E.; Staffanson, Clifford D.

    2000-01-01

    A thermoelectric module with a plurality of electricity generating units each having a first end and a second end, the units being arranged first end to second end along an in-line axis. Each unit includes first and second elements each made of a thermoelectric material, an electrically conductive hot member arranged to heat one side of the first element, and an electrically conductive cold member arranged to cool another side of the first element and to cool one side of the second element. The hot member, the first element, the cold member and the second element are supported in a fixture, are electrically connected respectively to provide an electricity generating unit, and are arranged respectively in positions along the in-line axis. The individual components of each generating unit and the respective generating units are clamped in their in-line positions by a loading bolt at one end of the fixture and a stop wall at the other end of the fixture. The hot members may have a T-shape and the cold members an hourglass shape to facilitate heat transfer. The direction of heat transfer through the hot members may be perpendicular to the direction of heat transfer through the cold members, and both of these heat transfer directions may be perpendicular to the direction of current flow through the module.

  2. In-Line Thermoelectric Module

    SciTech Connect

    Pento, Robert; Marks, James E.; Staffanson, Clifford D.

    1998-07-28

    A thermoelectric module with a plurality of electricity generating units each having a first end and a second end, the units being arranged first end to second end along an-in-line axis. Each unit includes first and second elements each made of a thermoelectric material, an electrically conductive hot member arranged to heat one side of the first element, and an electrically conductive cold member arranged to cool another side of the first element and to cool one side of the second element. The hot member, the first element, the cold member and the second element are supported in a fixture, are electrically connected respectively to provide an electricity generating unit, and are arranged respectively in positions along the in-line axis. The individual components of each generating unit and the respective generating units are clamped in their in-line positions by a loading bolt at one end of the fixture and a stop wall at the other end of the fixture. The hot members may have a T-shape and the cold members an hourglass shape to facilitate heat transfer. The direction of heat transfer through the hot members may be perpendicular to the direction of heat transfer through the cold members, and both of these heat transfer directions maybe perpendicular to the direction-of current flow through the module.

  3. Thermoelectric generator cooling system and method of control

    DOEpatents

    Prior, Gregory P; Meisner, Gregory P; Glassford, Daniel B

    2012-10-16

    An apparatus is provided that includes a thermoelectric generator and an exhaust gas system operatively connected to the thermoelectric generator to heat a portion of the thermoelectric generator with exhaust gas flow through the thermoelectric generator. A coolant system is operatively connected to the thermoelectric generator to cool another portion of the thermoelectric generator with coolant flow through the thermoelectric generator. At least one valve is controllable to cause the coolant flow through the thermoelectric generator in a direction that opposes a direction of the exhaust gas flow under a first set of operating conditions and to cause the coolant flow through the thermoelectric generator in the direction of exhaust gas flow under a second set of operating conditions.

  4. Alkali Metal Thermoelectric Conversion (AMTEC) for space nuclear power systems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bankston, C. P.; Cole, T.; Khanna, S. K.; Thakoor, A. P.

    Performance parameters of the Alkali Metal Thermoelectric Converter (AMTEC) for a 100 kW electric power system have been calculated at four technological levels assuming a heat pipe-cooled nuclear reactor heat source. The most advanced level considered would operate between 1180 K converter temperature and 711 K radiator temperature at 16 percent efficiency, and would weigh 1850 kg with a radiator area of 43 sq m. In addition, electrode research studies for the AMTEC systems have been conducted utilizing an experimental test cell of Bankston et al. (1983) and Mo and several Mo-Ti electrodes. It was found that the Mo-Ti electrodes offered no improvement in lifetime characteristics over the pure Mo electrodes, however, oxygen treatment of a degraded Mo electrode restored its specific power output to 90 percent of its original specific power and maintained this level for 60 hr, thus offering a potential for lifetime stability.

  5. Summary of space nuclear reactor power systems, 1983 - 1992

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Buden, D.

    1993-08-01

    This report summarizes major developments in the last ten years which have greatly expanded the space nuclear reactor power systems technology base. In the SP-100 program, after a competition between liquid-metal, gas-cooled, thermionic, and heat pipe reactors integrated with various combinations of thermoelectric thermionic, Brayton, Rankine, and Stirling energy conversion systems, three concepts were selected for further evaluation. In 1985, the high-temperature (1,350 K), lithium-cooled reactor with thermoelectric conversion was selected for full scale development. Since then, significant progress has been achieved including the demonstration of a 7-y-life uranium nitride fuel pin. Progress on the lithium-cooled reactor with thermoelectrics has progressed from a concept, through a generic flight system design, to the design, development, and testing of specific components. Meanwhile, the USSR in 1987-88 orbited a new generation of nuclear power systems beyond the, thermoelectric plants on the RORSAT satellites. The US has continued to advance its own thermionic fuel element development, concentrating on a multicell fuel element configuration. Experimental work has demonstrated a single cell operating time of about 1 1/2-y. Technology advances have also been made in the Stirling engine; an advanced engine that operates at 1,050 K is ready for testing. Additional concepts have been studied and experiments have been performed on a variety of systems to meet changing needs; such as powers of tens-to-hundreds of megawatts and highly survivable systems of tens-of-kilowatts power.

  6. Space nuclear system expansion joints

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Whitaker, W. D.; Shimazki, T. T.

    1973-01-01

    The engineering, design, and fabrication status of the expansion joint unit (EJU) to be employed in the NaK primary coolant piping loop of the 5-kwe Reactor thermoelectric system are described. Four EJU's are needed in the NaK primary coolant piping loop. The four EJU's which will be identical, utilize bellows as the flexing member, are hermetically sealed, and provide double containment. The bellows are of a nested-formed design, and are to be constructed of 1-ply thickness of 0.010-in. Inconel 718. The EJU's provide a minimum piping load margin of safety of +0.22.

  7. Volume accumulator design analysis computer codes

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Whitaker, W. D.; Shimazaki, T. T.

    1973-01-01

    The computer codes, VANEP and VANES, were written and used to aid in the design and performance calculation of the volume accumulator units (VAU) for the 5-kwe reactor thermoelectric system. VANEP computes the VAU design which meets the primary coolant loop VAU volume and pressure performance requirements. VANES computes the performance of the VAU design, determined from the VANEP code, at the conditions of the secondary coolant loop. The codes can also compute the performance characteristics of the VAU's under conditions of possible modes of failure which still permit continued system operation.

  8. Space nuclear system volume accumulator development (SNAP program)

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Whitaker, W. D.; Shimazaki, T. T.

    1973-01-01

    The engineering, design, and fabrication status of the volume accumulator units to be employed in the NaK primary and secondary coolant loops of the 5-kwe reactor thermoelectric system are described. Three identical VAU's are required - two for the primary coolant loop, and one for the secondary coolant loop. The VAU's utilize nested-formed bellows as the flexing member, are hermetically sealed, provide double containment and utilize a combination of gas pressure force and bellows spring force to obtain the desired pressure regulation of the coolant loops. All parts of the VAU, except the NaK inlet tube, are to be fabricated from Inconel 718.

  9. Heat Management in Thermoelectric Power Generators.

    PubMed

    Zebarjadi, M

    2016-04-01

    Thermoelectric power generators are used to convert heat into electricity. Like any other heat engine, the performance of a thermoelectric generator increases as the temperature difference on the sides increases. It is generally assumed that as more heat is forced through the thermoelectric legs, their performance increases. Therefore, insulations are typically used to minimize the heat losses and to confine the heat transport through the thermoelectric legs. In this paper we show that to some extend it is beneficial to purposely open heat loss channels in order to establish a larger temperature gradient and therefore to increase the overall efficiency and achieve larger electric power output. We define a modified Biot number (Bi) as an indicator of requirements for sidewall insulation. We show cooling from sidewalls increases the efficiency for Bi values less than one, and decreases the efficiency for Bi values larger than one.

  10. Effective thermal conductivity in thermoelectric materials

    SciTech Connect

    Baranowski, LL; Snyder, GJ; Toberer, ES

    2013-05-28

    Thermoelectric generators (TEGs) are solid state heat engines that generate electricity from a temperature gradient. Optimizing these devices for maximum power production can be difficult due to the many heat transport mechanisms occurring simultaneously within the TEG. In this paper, we develop a model for heat transport in thermoelectric materials in which an "effective thermal conductivity" (kappa(eff)) encompasses both the one dimensional steady-state Fourier conduction and the heat generation/consumption due to secondary thermoelectric effects. This model is especially powerful in that the value of kappa(eff) does not depend upon the operating conditions of the TEG but rather on the transport properties of the TE materials themselves. We analyze a variety of thermoelectric materials and generator designs using this concept and demonstrate that kappa(eff) predicts the heat fluxes within these devices to 5% of the exact value. (C) 2013 AIP Publishing LLC.

  11. Heat Management in Thermoelectric Power Generators

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zebarjadi, M.

    2016-04-01

    Thermoelectric power generators are used to convert heat into electricity. Like any other heat engine, the performance of a thermoelectric generator increases as the temperature difference on the sides increases. It is generally assumed that as more heat is forced through the thermoelectric legs, their performance increases. Therefore, insulations are typically used to minimize the heat losses and to confine the heat transport through the thermoelectric legs. In this paper we show that to some extend it is beneficial to purposely open heat loss channels in order to establish a larger temperature gradient and therefore to increase the overall efficiency and achieve larger electric power output. We define a modified Biot number (Bi) as an indicator of requirements for sidewall insulation. We show cooling from sidewalls increases the efficiency for Bi values less than one, and decreases the efficiency for Bi values larger than one.

  12. Heat Management in Thermoelectric Power Generators

    PubMed Central

    Zebarjadi, M.

    2016-01-01

    Thermoelectric power generators are used to convert heat into electricity. Like any other heat engine, the performance of a thermoelectric generator increases as the temperature difference on the sides increases. It is generally assumed that as more heat is forced through the thermoelectric legs, their performance increases. Therefore, insulations are typically used to minimize the heat losses and to confine the heat transport through the thermoelectric legs. In this paper we show that to some extend it is beneficial to purposely open heat loss channels in order to establish a larger temperature gradient and therefore to increase the overall efficiency and achieve larger electric power output. We define a modified Biot number (Bi) as an indicator of requirements for sidewall insulation. We show cooling from sidewalls increases the efficiency for Bi values less than one, and decreases the efficiency for Bi values larger than one. PMID:27033717

  13. Enhanced Thermoelectric Performance in Rough Silicon Nanowires

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Chen, Renkun; Hochbaum, Allon I.; Diaz Delgado, Raul; Liang, Wenjie; Garnett, Erik C.; Najarian, Mark; Majumdar, Arun; Yang, Peidong

    2008-03-01

    Due to the disparity between electron (<10 nm) and phonon ( ˜100 nm) mean free paths in silicon, nanostructured Si could effectively block phonon transport by boundary scattering while maintaining electron transport, thereby enhancing thermoelectric figure of merit, ZT. Here we report the wafer-scale electrochemical synthesis and thermoelectric characterization of rough Si nanowires with enhanced ZT, relative to the bulk material. Single nanowire measurements show that their electrical resistivity and Seebeck coefficient are similar to those of bulk Si with similar dopant concentration. Thin nanowires, however, exhibit a 100-fold reduction in thermal conductivity (k), yielding a large ZT = 0.6 at room temperature. Although bulk Si is a poor thermoelectric material, Si nanowire arrays show promise as high-performance, scalable thermoelectric materials.

  14. Resolving thermoelectric “paradox” in superconductors

    PubMed Central

    Shelly, Connor D.; Matrozova, Ekaterina A.; Petrashov, Victor T.

    2016-01-01

    For almost a century, thermoelectricity in superconductors has been one of the most intriguing topics in physics. During its early stages in the 1920s, the mere existence of thermoelectric effects in superconductors was questioned. In 1944, it was demonstrated that the effects may occur in inhomogeneous superconductors. Theoretical breakthrough followed in the 1970s, when the generation of a measurable thermoelectric magnetic flux in superconducting loops was predicted; however, a major crisis developed when experiments showed puzzling discrepancies with the theory. Moreover, different experiments were inconsistent with each other. This led to a stalemate in bringing theory and experiment into agreement. With this work, we resolve this stalemate, thus solving this long-standing “paradox,” and open prospects for exploration of novel thermoelectric phenomena predicted recently. PMID:26933688

  15. Thermoelectric device with multiple, nanometer scale, elements

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Fleurial, Jean-Pierre (Inventor); Ryan, Margaret A. (Inventor); Borshchevsky, Alexander (Inventor); Herman, Jennifer (Inventor)

    2006-01-01

    A thermoelectric device formed of nanowires on the nm scale. The nanowires are preferably of a size that causes quantum confinement effects within the wires. The wires are connected together into a bundle to increase the power density.

  16. Effective thermal conductivity in thermoelectric materials

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Baranowski, Lauryn L.; Jeffrey Snyder, G.; Toberer, Eric S.

    2013-05-01

    Thermoelectric generators (TEGs) are solid state heat engines that generate electricity from a temperature gradient. Optimizing these devices for maximum power production can be difficult due to the many heat transport mechanisms occurring simultaneously within the TEG. In this paper, we develop a model for heat transport in thermoelectric materials in which an "effective thermal conductivity" (κeff) encompasses both the one dimensional steady-state Fourier conduction and the heat generation/consumption due to secondary thermoelectric effects. This model is especially powerful in that the value of κeff does not depend upon the operating conditions of the TEG but rather on the transport properties of the TE materials themselves. We analyze a variety of thermoelectric materials and generator designs using this concept and demonstrate that κeff predicts the heat fluxes within these devices to 5% of the exact value.

  17. Heat Management in Thermoelectric Power Generators.

    PubMed

    Zebarjadi, M

    2016-01-01

    Thermoelectric power generators are used to convert heat into electricity. Like any other heat engine, the performance of a thermoelectric generator increases as the temperature difference on the sides increases. It is generally assumed that as more heat is forced through the thermoelectric legs, their performance increases. Therefore, insulations are typically used to minimize the heat losses and to confine the heat transport through the thermoelectric legs. In this paper we show that to some extend it is beneficial to purposely open heat loss channels in order to establish a larger temperature gradient and therefore to increase the overall efficiency and achieve larger electric power output. We define a modified Biot number (Bi) as an indicator of requirements for sidewall insulation. We show cooling from sidewalls increases the efficiency for Bi values less than one, and decreases the efficiency for Bi values larger than one. PMID:27033717

  18. Computer modeling of thermoelectric generator performance

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Chmielewski, A. B.; Shields, V.

    1982-01-01

    Features of the DEGRA 2 computer code for simulating the operations of a spacecraft thermoelectric generator are described. The code models the physical processes occurring during operation. Input variables include the thermoelectric couple geometry and composition, the thermoelectric materials' properties, interfaces and insulation in the thermopile, the heat source characteristics, mission trajectory, and generator electrical requirements. Time steps can be specified and sublimation of the leg and hot shoe is accounted for, as are shorts between legs. Calculations are performed for conduction, Peltier, Thomson, and Joule heating, the cold junction can be adjusted for solar radition, and the legs of the thermoelectric couple are segmented to enhance the approximation accuracy. A trial run covering 18 couple modules yielded data with 0.3% accuracy with regard to test data. The model has been successful with selenide materials, SiGe, and SiN4, with output of all critical operational variables.

  19. Materials for high-temperature thermoelectric conversion

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Feigelson, R. S.; Elwell, D.; Auld, B. A.

    1984-01-01

    The development of materials for high temperature thermoelectric energy conversion devices was investigated. The development of new criteria for the selection of materials which is based on understanding of the fundamental principles governing the behavior of high temperature thermoelectric materials is discussed. The synthesis and characterization of promising new materials and the growth of single crystals to eliminate possible problems associated with grain boundaries and other defects in polycrystalline materials are outlined.

  20. Thermoelectric materials and methods for synthesis thereof

    DOEpatents

    Ren, Zhifeng; Zhang, Qinyong; Zhang, Qian; Chen, Gang

    2015-08-04

    Materials having improved thermoelectric properties are disclosed. In some embodiments, lead telluride/selenide based materials with improved figure of merit and mechanical properties are disclosed. In some embodiments, the lead telluride/selenide based materials of the present disclosure are p-type thermoelectric materials formed by adding sodium (Na), silicon (Si) or both to thallium doped lead telluride materials. In some embodiments, the lead telluride/selenide based materials are formed by doping lead telluride/selenides with potassium.

  1. Electrodeposition of nanoengineered thermoelectric materials

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Xiao, Feng

    Thermoelectric (TE) energy converters are solid-state devices that can generate electricity by harvesting waste thermal energy, thereby improving the efficiency of a system. The many advantages of TE devices include solid-state operation, zero-emissions, vast scalability, no maintenance and a long operating lifetime. The efficiency of TE materials is directly related to a dimensionless figure of merit ZT. In order to compete with conventional refrigerators and power generators, ZT of 3 is required. Due to their limited energy conversion efficiencies (i.e. ZT < 1), thermoelectric devices currently have a rather limited set of applications. Classical and quantum mechanical size effects provide additional ways to enhance energy conversion efficiencies in nanostructured materials. Theoretical calculations predict that ZT of 5 can be achieved in one-dimensional nanostructures including nanowires and nanotubes. The goal of my work was to develop electrodeposition techniques to synthesis various thermoelectric nanostructures including 2-D superlatticed thin films, 1-D nanowires and nanotubes and quasi 0-D superlatticed nanowires and investigate their properties. Electrodeposition is selected because of the ability to "tailor-made" their morphology and properties. Specifically, the accomplishments of this thesis include the following: (1) Electrodeposition of PbTe thin films was systematically investigated in an acidic nitric bath. (2) Single crystalline PbTe cubes were electrodeposited on polycrystalline gold substrates. (3) Single crystalline PbTe nanowires were synthesized using a template-directed electrodeposition process. The temperature dependent electro-transport studies reveal that the conduction mechanism in the temperature range 150-220 K is different from that in the temperature range 220-300 K. (4) Bi1.8 Sb0.1Te3.1 and (Bi0.3Sb0.7) 2Te3 nanowires were electrodeposited from acidic tartaric-nitric baths and their temperature dependent electrical properties were

  2. Direct conversion nuclear reactor space power systems

    SciTech Connect

    Britt, E.J.; Fitzpatrick, G.O.

    1982-08-01

    This paper presents the results of a study of space nuclear reactor power systems using either thermoelectric or thermionic energy converters. An in-core reactor design and two heat pipe cooled out-of-core reactor designs were considered. One of the out-of-core cases utilized, long heat pipes (LHP) directly coupled to the energy converter. The second utilized a larger number of smaller heat pipes (mini-pipe) radiatively coupled to the energy converter. In all cases the entire system, including power conditioning, was constrained to be launched in a single shuttle flight. Assuming presently available performance, both the LHP thermoelectric system and minipipe thermionic system, designed to produce 100 kWe for seven years, would have a specific mass near 22kg/kWe. The specific mass of the thermionic minipipe system designed for a one year mission is 165 kg/kWe due to less fuel swelling. Shuttle imposed growth limits are near 300 kWe and 1.2 MWe for the thermoelectric and thermionic systems, respectively. Converter performance improvements could double this potential, and over 10 MWe may be possible for very short missions.

  3. Electrostatic control of thermoelectricity in molecular junctions.

    PubMed

    Kim, Youngsang; Jeong, Wonho; Kim, Kyeongtae; Lee, Woochul; Reddy, Pramod

    2014-11-01

    Molecular junctions hold significant promise for efficient and high-power-output thermoelectric energy conversion. Recent experiments have probed the thermoelectric properties of molecular junctions. However, electrostatic control of thermoelectric properties via a gate electrode has not been possible due to technical challenges in creating temperature differentials in three-terminal devices. Here, we show that extremely large temperature gradients (exceeding 1 × 10(9) K m(-1)) can be established in nanoscale gaps bridged by molecules, while simultaneously controlling their electronic structure via a gate electrode. Using this platform, we study prototypical Au-biphenyl-4,4'-dithiol-Au and Au-fullerene-Au junctions to demonstrate that the Seebeck coefficient and the electrical conductance of molecular junctions can be simultaneously increased by electrostatic control. Moreover, from our studies of fullerene junctions, we show that thermoelectric properties can be significantly enhanced when the dominant transport orbital is located close to the chemical potential (Fermi level) of the electrodes. These results illustrate the intimate relationship between the thermoelectric properties and charge transmission characteristics of molecular junctions and should enable systematic exploration of the recent computational predictions that promise extremely efficient thermoelectric energy conversion in molecular junctions. PMID:25282046

  4. Thermoelectric Properties of Complex Oxide Heterostructures

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cain, Tyler Andrew

    Thermoelectrics are a promising energy conversion technology for power generation and cooling systems. The thermal and electrical properties of the materials at the heart of thermoelectric devices dictate conversion efficiency and technological viability. Studying the fundamental properties of potentially new thermoelectric materials is of great importance for improving device performance and understanding the electronic structure of materials systems. In this dissertation, investigations on the thermoelectric properties of a prototypical complex oxide, SrTiO3, are discussed. Hybrid molecular beam epitaxy (MBE) is used to synthesize La-doped SrTiO3 thin films, which exhibit high electron mobilities and large Seebeck coefficients resulting in large thermoelectric power factors at low temperatures. Large interfacial electron densities have been observed in SrTiO3/RTiO 3 (R=Gd,Sm) heterostructures. The thermoelectric properties of such heterostructures are investigated, including the use of a modulation doping approach to control interfacial electron densities. Low-temperature Seebeck coefficients of extreme electron-density SrTiO3 quantum wells are shown to provide insight into their electronic structure.

  5. Transient Thermoelectric Solution Employing Green's Functions

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Mackey, Jon; Sehirlioglu, Alp; Dynys, Fred

    2014-01-01

    The study works to formulate convenient solutions to the problem of a thermoelectric couple operating under a time varying condition. Transient operation of a thermoelectric will become increasingly common as thermoelectric technology permits applications in an increasing number of uses. A number of terrestrial applications, in contrast to steady-state space applications, can subject devices to time varying conditions. For instance thermoelectrics can be exposed to transient conditions in the automotive industry depending on engine system dynamics along with factors like driving style. In an effort to generalize the thermoelectric solution a Greens function method is used, so that arbitrary time varying boundary and initial conditions may be applied to the system without reformulation. The solution demonstrates that in thermoelectric applications of a transient nature additional factors must be taken into account and optimized. For instance, the materials specific heat and density become critical parameters in addition to the thermal mass of a heat sink or the details of the thermal profile, such as oscillating frequency. The calculations can yield the optimum operating conditions to maximize power output andor efficiency for a given type of device.

  6. High Performance Oxides-Based Thermoelectric Materials

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ren, Guangkun; Lan, Jinle; Zeng, Chengcheng; Liu, Yaochun; Zhan, Bin; Butt, Sajid; Lin, Yuan-Hua; Nan, Ce-Wen

    2015-01-01

    Thermoelectric materials have attracted much attention due to their applications in waste-heat recovery, power generation, and solid state cooling. In comparison with thermoelectric alloys, oxide semiconductors, which are thermally and chemically stable in air at high temperature, are regarded as the candidates for high-temperature thermoelectric applications. However, their figure-of-merit ZT value has remained low, around 0.1-0.4 for more than 20 years. The poor performance in oxides is ascribed to the low electrical conductivity and high thermal conductivity. Since the electrical transport properties in these thermoelectric oxides are strongly correlated, it is difficult to improve both the thermoelectric power and electrical conductivity simultaneously by conventional methods. This review summarizes recent progresses on high-performance oxide-based thermoelectric bulk-materials including n-type ZnO, SrTiO3, and In2O3, and p-type Ca3Co4O9, BiCuSeO, and NiO, enhanced by heavy-element doping, band engineering and nanostructuring.

  7. POTENTIAL THERMOELECTRIC APPLICATIONS IN DIESEL VEHICLES

    SciTech Connect

    Crane, D

    2003-08-24

    Novel thermodynamic cycles developed by BSST provide improvements by factors of approximately 2 in cooling, heating and power generation efficiency of solid-state thermoelectric systems. The currently available BSST technology is being evaluated in automotive development programs for important new applications. Thermoelectric materials are likely to become available that further increase performance by a comparable factor. These major advancements should allow the use of thermoelectric systems in new applications that have the prospect of contributing to emissions reduction, fuel economy, and improved user comfort. Potential applications of thermoelectrics in diesel vehicles are identified and discussed. As a case in point, the history and status of the Climate Controlled Seat (CCS) system from Amerigon, the parent of BSST, is presented. CCS is the most successful and highest production volume thermoelectric system in vehicles today. As a second example, the results of recent analyses on electric power generation from vehicle waste heat are discussed. Conclusions are drawn as to the practicality of waste power generation systems that incorporate BSST's thermodynamic cycle and advanced thermoelectric materials.

  8. TOPICAL REVIEW: Physics of thermoelectric cooling

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gurevich, Yu G.; Logvinov, G. N.

    2005-12-01

    A new approach is suggested to explain the Peltier effect. It assumes that the Peltier effect is not an isothermal effect. The approach is based on the occurrences of induced thermal fluxes in a structure which consists of two conducting media, through which a dc electric current flows. These induced thermal diffusion fluxes arise to compensate for the change in the thermal flux caused by the electric current (the drift thermal flux) flowing through the junction, in accordance with the general Le Châtelier-Braun principle. The occurrence of these thermal diffusion fluxes leads to temperature heterogeneity in the structure and, as a result, to a cooling or heating of the junction. Within the framework of this concept, the thermoelectric cooling is analysed. It is shown that in the general case the Peltier effect always occurs together with another thermoelectric effect. This thermoelectric effect is predicted for the first time, and we have called it the barrierless thermoelectric effect. Both these effects essentially depend on the junction surface thermal resistance. The Peltier effect disappears in the limiting case of a very large surface thermal resistance, while the barrierless effect disappears in the limiting case of a very small surface thermal resistance. The dependence of thermoelectric cooling on the geometrical dimensions of the structure is noted, and the corresponding interpretation of this fact is discussed. It is shown that the thermoelectric cooling (heating) is a thermodynamically reversible process in the linear approximation of the electric current applied.

  9. Preparation of Ring-Shaped Thermoelectric Legs from PbTe Powders for Tubular Thermoelectric Modules

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Schmitz, Andreas; Stiewe, Christian; Müller, Eckhard

    2013-07-01

    Waste heat recovery—for example, in automotive applications—is a major field for thermoelectric research and future application. Commercially available thermoelectric modules are based on planar structures, whereas tubular modules may have advantages for integration and performance in the field of automotive waste heat recovery. One major drawback of tubular generator designs is the necessity for ring-shaped legs made from thermoelectric material. Cutting these geometries from sintered tablets leads to considerable loss of thermoelectric material and therefore high cost. Direct sintering of ring-shaped legs or tubes of thermoelectric material is a solution to this problem. However, sintering such rings with high homogeneity and density faces some difficulties related to the mechanical properties of typical thermoelectric materials such as lead telluride (PbTe)—particularly brittleness and high coefficient of thermal expansion. This work shows a process for production of thermoelectric rings made of p- and n-doped PbTe. Long tubes of PbTe have been sintered in a current-assisted sintering process with specially designed sintering molds, coated with a diffusion barrier, and finally cut into ring-shaped slices. To demonstrate the technology, a tubular thermoelectric module has been assembled using these PbTe rings.

  10. High Temperature Integrated Thermoelectric Ststem and Materials

    SciTech Connect

    Mike S. H. Chu

    2011-06-06

    The final goal of this project is to produce, by the end of Phase II, an all ceramic high temperature thermoelectric module. Such a module design integrates oxide ceramic n-type, oxide ceramic p-type materials as thermoelectric legs and oxide ceramic conductive material as metalizing connection between n-type and p-type legs. The benefits of this all ceramic module are that it can function at higher temperatures (> 700 C), it is mechanically and functionally more reliable and it can be scaled up to production at lower cost. With this all ceramic module, millions of dollars in savings or in new opportunities recovering waste heat from high temperature processes could be made available. A very attractive application will be to convert exhaust heat from a vehicle to reusable electric energy by a thermoelectric generator (TEG). Phase I activities were focused on evaluating potential n-type and p-type oxide compositions as the thermoelectric legs. More than 40 oxide ceramic powder compositions were made and studied in the laboratory. The compositions were divided into 6 groups representing different material systems. Basic ceramic properties and thermoelectric properties of discs sintered from these powders were measured. Powders with different particles sizes were made to evaluate the effects of particle size reduction on thermoelectric properties. Several powders were submitted to a leading thermoelectric company for complete thermoelectric evaluation. Initial evaluation showed that when samples were sintered by conventional method, they had reasonable values of Seebeck coefficient but very low values of electrical conductivity. Therefore, their power factors (PF) and figure of merits (ZT) were too low to be useful for high temperature thermoelectric applications. An unconventional sintering method, Spark Plasma Sintering (SPS) was determined to produce better thermoelectric properties. Particle size reduction of powders also was found to have some positive benefits

  11. Thermoelectric Corrections to Quantum Measurement

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bergfield, Justin; Ratner, Mark; Stafford, Charles; di Ventra, Massimiliano

    The voltage and temperature measured by a floating probe of a nonequilibrium quantum system is shown to exhibit nontrivial thermoelectric corrections at finite temperature. Using a realistic model of a scanning thermal microscope to calculate the voltage and temperature distributions, we predict quantum temperature variations along graphene nanoribbons subject to a thermal bias which are not simply related to the local density of states. Experimentally, the wavelength of the oscillations can be tuned over several orders of magnitude by gating/doping, bringing quantum temperature oscillations within reach of the spatial resolution of existing measurement techniques. We also find that the Peltier cooling/heating which causes the temperature oscillations can lead to significant errors in voltage measurements for a wide range of system.

  12. Compact thermoelectric converter systems technology

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    1973-01-01

    A schematic of the developed tubular thermoelectric module is shown. It consists of alternate washers of n- and p-type lead telluride, separated by thin natural mica washers. Electrical continuity within the circuit is accomplished by cylindrical conductor rings located at the I.D. and O.D. of the lead telluride washers. The conductor rings are also separated by the same mica which separate the lead telluride washers. The result is a radially serpentine current path along the length of the module. The circuit is isolated from the structural claddings by thin sleeves of boron nitride. Circuit containment and heat transfer surfaces are provided by the inner and outer cladding, heat being transferred from a heat source at the inner clad, conducted radially outward through the lead telluride to the outer clad where the waste heat is removed by a heat rejection system.

  13. Interface scattering in polycrystalline thermoelectrics

    SciTech Connect

    Popescu, Adrian; Haney, Paul M.

    2014-03-28

    We study the effect of electron and phonon interface scattering on the thermoelectric properties of disordered, polycrystalline materials (with grain sizes larger than electron and phonons' mean free path). Interface scattering of electrons is treated with a Landauer approach, while that of phonons is treated with the diffuse mismatch model. The interface scattering is embedded within a diffusive model of bulk transport, and we show that, for randomly arranged interfaces, the overall system is well described by effective medium theory. Using bulk parameters similar to those of PbTe and a square barrier potential for the interface electron scattering, we identify the interface scattering parameters for which the figure of merit ZT is increased. We find the electronic scattering is generally detrimental due to a reduction in electrical conductivity; however, for sufficiently weak electronic interface scattering, ZT is enhanced due to phonon interface scattering.

  14. p × n -Transverse Thermoelectrics: Single leg thermoelectrics with scalable integration and cryogenic promise

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Grayson, M.

    Under the p × n -type transverse thermoelectric paradigm electrons dominate conduction in one direction and holes dominate perpendicularly, allowing electrical current to drive transverse heat flow. Bulk anisotropic crystals, superlattices, and nanowire arrays have all been previously proposed as viable p × n materials. This talk will describe the general philosophy behind p × n -type transverse thermoelectrics as well as the tensor equations that define their anisotropic Seebeck effect. The advantages of single-leg thermoelectric devices - available only to transverse thermoelectrics - are detailed. Various device geometries are discussed which take advantage of the single-leg nature, in particular to provide advantages for cryogenic thermoelectric cooling and integrated thermal management. Supported by AFOSR FA9550-15-1-0377.

  15. Symmetry Analysis of Thermoelectric Energy Converters with Inhomogeneous Legs

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Korzhuev, M. A.

    2010-09-01

    Symmetry analysis has been applied to thermoelectric energy converters [thermoelectric generators (TEG), coolers (TEC), and heaters (TEH)] with inhomogeneous legs. The features of the crystallographic symmetry of thermoelectric materials and the symmetry of legs, thermocouples, and modules are studied. The effect of symmetry on the figure of merit Z of thermoelectric energy converters is considered. A general rule for proper placement of legs in thermoelectric converters is developed. A modified tetratomic classification for thermoelectric energy converters with inhomogeneous legs (TEGa, TEGb, TEC, and TEH) is proposed. An increase in Z for thermoelectric energy converters with inhomogeneous legs is due to the bulk thermoelectric effect. An increase in Z gives the reduction of irreversible processes in the modules (Joule heating and thermal conductivity), accompanying breaking of the symmetry of the legs. It is found that violations of the symmetry requirements can lead to significant energy losses in converters.

  16. Compositional ordering and stability in nanostructured, bulk thermoelectric alloys.

    SciTech Connect

    Hekmaty, Michelle A.; Faleev, S.; Medlin, Douglas L.; Leonard, F.; Lensch-Falk, J.; Sharma, Peter Anand; Sugar, J. D.

    2009-09-01

    Thermoelectric materials have many applications in the conversion of thermal energy to electrical power and in solid-state cooling. One route to improving thermoelectric energy conversion efficiency in bulk material is to embed nanoscale inclusions. This report summarize key results from a recently completed LDRD project exploring the science underpinning the formation and stability of nanostructures in bulk thermoelectric and the quantitative relationships between such structures and thermoelectric properties.

  17. Alternative Approaches to Group IV Thermoelectric Materials

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Snedaker, Matthew Loren

    In the pursuit of energy efficiency, there is a demand for systems capable of recovering waste heat. A temperature gradient across a thermoelectric material results in the thermal diffusion of charge carriers from the hot side to the cold side, giving rise to a voltage that can be used to convert waste heat to electricity. Silicon germanium (SiGe) alloys are the standard materials used for thermoelectric generators at high temperatures. We report an alternative method for preparing p-type Si1- xGex alloys from a boron-doped silica-germania nanocomposite. This is the first demonstration of the thermoelectric properties of SiGe-based thermoelectrics prepared at temperatures below the alloy's melting point through a magnesiothermic reduction of the (SiO 2)1-x(GeO2) x. We observe a thermoelectric power factor that is competitive with the literature record for the conventionally prepared SiGe. The large grain size in our hot pressed SiGe limits the thermoelectric figure of merit to 0.5 at 800°C for an optimally doped p-type Si80Ge 20 alloy. A phosphorus-doped oxide can yield n-type Si1- xGex; however, the current processing method introduces a background boron content that compensates ~10% of the donor impurities and limits the thermoelectric power factor. Spark plasma sintering of the nano-Si1-xGe x yields a heterogeneous alloy with thermal conductivity lower than that of the hot pressed homogeneous alloy due to a reduction in the average crystallite size. Magnesiothermic reduction in the presence of molten salts allows some control over crystallite growth and the extent of Si-Ge alloying.

  18. A Methodology for the Neutronics Design of Space Nuclear Reactors

    SciTech Connect

    King, Jeffrey C.; El-Genk, Mohamed S.

    2004-02-04

    A methodology for the neutronics design of space power reactors is presented. This methodology involves balancing the competing requirements of having sufficient excess reactivity for the desired lifetime, keeping the reactor subcritical at launch and during submersion accidents, and providing sufficient control over the lifetime of the reactor. These requirements are addressed by three reactivity values for a given reactor design: the excess reactivity at beginning of mission, the negative reactivity at shutdown, and the negative reactivity margin in submersion accidents. These reactivity values define the control worth and the safety worth in submersion accidents, used for evaluating the merit of a proposed reactor type and design. The Heat Pipe-Segmented Thermoelectric Module Converters space reactor core design is evaluated and modified based on the proposed methodology. The final reactor core design has sufficient excess reactivity for 10 years of nominal operation at 1.82 MW of fission power and is subcritical at launch and in all water submersion accidents.

  19. A Methodology for the Neutronics Design of Space Nuclear Reactors

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    King, Jeffrey C.; El-Genk, Mohamed S.

    2004-02-01

    A methodology for the neutronics design of space power reactors is presented. This methodology involves balancing the competing requirements of having sufficient excess reactivity for the desired lifetime, keeping the reactor subcritical at launch and during submersion accidents, and providing sufficient control over the lifetime of the reactor. These requirements are addressed by three reactivity values for a given reactor design: the excess reactivity at beginning of mission, the negative reactivity at shutdown, and the negative reactivity margin in submersion accidents. These reactivity values define the control worth and the safety worth in submersion accidents, used for evaluating the merit of a proposed reactor type and design. The Heat Pipe-Segmented Thermoelectric Module Converters space reactor core design is evaluated and modified based on the proposed methodology. The final reactor core design has sufficient excess reactivity for 10 years of nominal operation at 1.82 MW of fission power and is subcritical at launch and in all water submersion accidents.

  20. Development of thermoelectric fibers for miniature thermoelectric devices

    DOE PAGES

    Ren, Fei; Menchhofer, Paul A.; Kiggans, Jr., James O.; Wang, Hsin

    2016-09-23

    Miniature thermoelectric (TE) devices may be used in a variety of applications such as power sources of small sensors, temperature regulation of precision electronics, etc. Reducing the size of TE elements may also enable design of novel devices with unique form factor and higher device efficiency. Current industrial practice of fabricating TE devices usually involves mechanical removal processes that not only lead to material loss but also limit the geometry of the TE elements. In this project, we explored a powder-processing method for the fabrication of TE fibers with large length-to-area ratio, which could be potentially used for miniature TEmore » devices. Powders were milled from Bi2Te3-based bulk materials and then mixed with a thermoplastic resin dissolved in an organic solvent. Through an extrusion process, flexible, continuous fibers with sub-millimeter diameters were formed. The polymer phase was then removed by sintering. Sintered fibers exhibited similar Seebeck coefficients to the bulk materials. Moreover, their electrical resistivity was much higher, which might be related to the residual porosity and grain boundary contamination. Prototype miniature uni-couples fabricated from these fibers showed a linear I-V behavior and could generate millivolt voltages and output power in the nano-watt range. Further development of these TE fibers requires improvement in their electrical conductivities, which needs a better understanding of the causes that lead to the low conductivity in the sintered fibers.« less

  1. Development of Thermoelectric Fibers for Miniature Thermoelectric Devices

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ren, Fei; Menchhofer, Paul; Kiggans, James; Wang, Hsin

    2016-03-01

    Miniature thermoelectric (TE) devices may be used in a variety of applications such as power sources of small sensors, temperature regulation of precision electronics, etc. Reducing the size of TE elements may also enable design of novel devices with unique form factor and higher device efficiency. Current industrial practice of fabricating TE devices usually involves mechanical removal processes that not only lead to material loss but also limit the geometry of the TE elements. In this project, we explored a powder-processing method for the fabrication of TE fibers with large length-to-area ratio, which could be potentially used for miniature TE devices. Powders were milled from Bi2Te3-based bulk materials and then mixed with a thermoplastic resin dissolved in an organic solvent. Through an extrusion process, flexible, continuous fibers with sub-millimeter diameters were formed. The polymer phase was then removed by sintering. Sintered fibers exhibited similar Seebeck coefficients to the bulk materials. However, their electrical resistivity was much higher, which might be related to the residual porosity and grain boundary contamination. Prototype miniature uni-couples fabricated from these fibers showed a linear I- V behavior and could generate millivolt voltages and output power in the nano-watt range. Further development of these TE fibers requires improvement in their electrical conductivities, which needs a better understanding of the causes that lead to the low conductivity in the sintered fibers.

  2. Thermoelectric behavior of conducting polymers: On the possibility of off-diagonal thermoelectricity

    SciTech Connect

    Mateeva, N.; Testardi, L.; Niculescu, H. ||

    1998-12-01

    Non-cubic materials, when structurally aligned, possess sufficient anisotropy to exhibit thermoelectric effects where the electrical and thermal paths can be orthogonal due to off-diagonal thermoelectricity (ODTE). The authors discuss the benefits of this form of thermoelectricity for device applications and describe a search for suitable thermoelectric properties in the air-stable conducting polymers polyaniline and polypyrrole. They find, at 300K for diagonal (ordinary) thermoelectricity (DTE), the general correlation that the logarithm of the electrical conductivity varies linearly with the Seebeck coefficient on doping, but with a proportionality in excess of a prediction from theory. The correlation is unexpected in its universality and unfavorable in its consequences for applications in DTE and ODTE. A standard model suggests that conduction by carriers of both signs occurs in these polymers, which thus leads to reduced thermoelectric efficiency. They also discuss polyacetylene (which is not air-stable), where this ambipolar conduction does not occur, and where properties seem more favorable for thermoelectricity.

  3. Expansion Compression Contacts for Thermoelectric Legs

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Sakamoto, Jeffrey

    2009-01-01

    In a proposed alternative to previous approaches to making hot-shoe contacts to the legs of thermoelectric devices, one relies on differential thermal expansion to increase contact pressures for the purpose of reducing the electrical resistances of contacts as temperatures increase. The proposed approach is particularly applicable to thermoelectric devices containing p-type (positive-charge-carrier) legs made of a Zintl compound (specifically, Yb14MnSb11) and n-type (negative charge-carrier) legs made of SiGe. This combination of thermoelectric materials has been selected for further development, primarily on the basis of projected thermoelectric performance. However, it is problematic to integrate, into a practical thermoelectric device, legs made of these materials along with a metal or semiconductor hot shoe that is required to be in thermal and electrical contact with the legs. This is partly because of the thermal-expansion mismatch of these materials: The coefficient of thermal expansion (CTE) of SiGe is 4.5 x 10(exp -6) C (exp -1), while the CTE of Yb14MnSb11 is 20 x 10(exp -6) C(exp -1). Simply joining a Yb14MnSb11 and a SiGe leg to a common hot shoe could be expected to result in significant thermal stresses in either or both legs during operation. Heretofore, such thermal stresses have been regarded as disadvantageous. In the proposed approach, stresses resulting from the CTE mismatch would be turned to advantage.

  4. Determination of Thermoelectric Module Efficiency A Survey

    SciTech Connect

    Wang, Hsin; McCarty, Robin; Salvador, James R.; Yamamoto, Atsushi; Konig, Jan

    2014-01-01

    The development of thermoelectrics (TE) for energy conversion is in the transition phase from laboratory research to device development. There is an increasing demand to accurately determine the module efficiency, especially for the power generation mode. For many thermoelectrics, the figure of merit, ZT, of the material sometimes cannot be fully realized at the device level. Reliable efficiency testing of thermoelectric modules is important to assess the device ZT and provide the end-users with realistic values on how much power can be generated under specific conditions. We conducted a general survey of efficiency testing devices and their performance. The results indicated the lack of industry standards and test procedures. This study included a commercial test system and several laboratory systems. Most systems are based on the heat flow meter method and some are based on the Harman method. They are usually reproducible in evaluating thermoelectric modules. However, cross-checking among different systems often showed large errors that are likely caused by unaccounted heat loss and thermal resistance. Efficiency testing is an important area for the thermoelectric community to focus on. A follow-up international standardization effort is planned.

  5. Silicon Germanium Quantum Well Thermoelectrics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Davidson, Anthony Lee, III

    Today's growing energy demands require new technologies to provide high efficiency clean energy. Thermoelectrics that convert heat to electrical energy directly can provide a method for the automobile industry to recover waste heat to power vehicle electronics, hence improving fuel economy. If large enough efficiencies can be obtained then the internal combustion engine could even be replaced. Exhaust temperature for automotive application range from 400 to 800 K. In this temperature range the current state of the art materials are bulk Si1-xGex alloys. By alternating layers of Si and Si1-xGex alloy device performance may be enhanced through quantum well effects and variations in material thermal properties. In this study, superlattices designed for in-plane operation with varying period and crystallinity are examined to determine the effect on electrical and thermal properties. In-plane electrical resistivity of these materials was found to be below the bulk material at a similar doping at room temperature, confirming the role of quantum wells in electron transport. As period is reduced in the structures boundary scattering limits electron propagation leading to increased resistivity. The Seebeck coefficient measured at room temperature is higher than the bulk material, additionally lending proof to the effects of quantum wells. When examining cross-plane operation the low doping in the Si layers of the device produce high resistivity resulting from boundary scattering. Thermal conductivity was measured from 77 K up to 674 K and shows little variation due to periodicity and temperature, however an order of magnitude reduction over bulk Si1-xGex is shown in all samples. A model is developed that suggests a combination of phonon dispersion effects and strong boundary scattering. Further study of the phonon dispersion effects was achieved through the examination of the heat capacity by combining thermal diffusivity with thermal conductivity. All superlattices show a

  6. Improved thermoelectric cooling based on the Thomson effect

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Snyder, G. Jeffrey; Khanna, Raghav; Toberer, Eric S.; Heinz, Nicholas A.; Seifert, Wolfgang

    2016-05-01

    Traditional thermoelectric cooling relies on the Peltier effect which produces a temperature drop limited by the figure of merit, zT. This cooling limit is not required from classical thermodynamics but can be traced to problems of thermoelectric compatibility. Alternatively, if a thermoelectric cooler can be designed to achieve full thermoelectric compatibility, lower temperature can be achieved even if the zT is low. In such a device the Thomson effect plays an important role. We present the theoretical concept of a "Thomson cooler," for cryogenic cooling which is designed to maintain thermoelectric compatibility and we derive the requirements for the Seebeck coefficient.

  7. Fabrication of Advanced Thermoelectric Materials by Hierarchical Nanovoid Generation

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Choi, Sang Hyouk (Inventor); Park, Yeonjoon (Inventor); Chu, Sang-Hyon (Inventor); Elliott, James R. (Inventor); King, Glen C. (Inventor); Kim, Jae-Woo (Inventor); Lillehei, Peter T. (Inventor); Stoakley, Diane M. (Inventor)

    2011-01-01

    A novel method to prepare an advanced thermoelectric material has hierarchical structures embedded with nanometer-sized voids which are key to enhancement of the thermoelectric performance. Solution-based thin film deposition technique enables preparation of stable film of thermoelectric material and void generator (voigen). A subsequent thermal process creates hierarchical nanovoid structure inside the thermoelectric material. Potential application areas of this advanced thermoelectric material with nanovoid structure are commercial applications (electronics cooling), medical and scientific applications (biological analysis device, medical imaging systems), telecommunications, and defense and military applications (night vision equipments).

  8. A Monolithic Oxide-Based Transversal Thermoelectric Energy Harvester

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Teichert, S.; Bochmann, A.; Reimann, T.; Schulz, T.; Dreßler, C.; Udich, S.; Töpfer, J.

    2016-03-01

    We report the fabrication and properties of a monolithic transversal thermoelectric energy harvester based on the combination of a thermoelectric oxide and a metal. The fabrication of the device is done with a ceramic multilayer technology using printing and co-firing processes. Five transversal devices were combined to a meander-like thermoelectric generator. Electrical measurements and finite element calculations were performed to characterize the resulting thermoelectric generator. A maximum experimental electrical power output of 30.2 mW at a temperature difference of {Δ }T = 208 K was found. The prepared monolithic thermoelectric generator provides at {Δ }T = 35 K sufficient energy to drive a simple electronic sensor application.

  9. Alumina Paste Sublimation Suppression Barrier for Thermoelectric Device

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Paik, Jong-Ah (Inventor); Caillat, Thierry (Inventor)

    2014-01-01

    Alumina as a sublimation suppression barrier for a Zintl thermoelectric material in a thermoelectric power generation device operating at high temperature, e.g. at or above 1000K, is disclosed. The Zintl thermoelectric material may comprise Yb.sub.14MnSb.sub.11. The alumina may be applied as an adhesive paste dried and cured on a substantially oxide free surface of the Zintl thermoelectric material and polished to a final thickness. The sublimation suppression barrier may be finalized by baking out the alumina layer on the Zintl thermoelectric material until it becomes substantially clogged with ytterbia.

  10. High temperature thermoelectric energy conversion

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Wood, Charles

    1987-01-01

    The theory and current status of materials research for high-temperature thermoelectric energy conversion are reviewed. Semiconductors are shown to be the preferred class of materials for this application. Optimization of the figure of merit of both broadband and narrow-band semiconductors is discussed as a function of temperature. Phonon scattering mechanisms are discussed, and basic material guidelines are given for reduction of thermal conductivity. Two general classes of materials show promise for high temperature figure of merit (Z) values, namely the rare earth chalcogenides and the boron-rich borides. The electronic transport properties of the rare earth chalcogenides are explicable on the basis of degenerate or partially degenerate n-type semiconductors. Boron and boron-rich borides exhibit p-type hopping conductivity, with detailed explanations proposed for the transport differing from compound to compound. Some discussion is presented on the reasons for the low thermal conductivities in these materials. Also, ZTs greater than one appear to have been realized at high temperature in many of these compounds.

  11. Thermoelectricity in natural and synthetic hydrogels.

    PubMed

    Brown, Brandon R; Hughes, Mary E; Russo, Clementina

    2004-09-01

    We describe a technique for measuring a Seebeck effect in gels and present data for three systems. Notably distinct signals are obtained for gel originating in the electrosensitive organs of marine sharks, synthetic collagen-based gel, and as a control, seawater, the gels' solvent. Only the gel of sharks shows a reversible thermoelectric signal. The difference between gel samples and seawater simply confirms that gels suppress mass transport. The difference between synthetic gel and the gel of sharks shows that the charged polymers of the shark gel restrict mass transport much more successfully than the polymers of the collagen gel, and we submit that this sort of ion localization is key to the emergence of thermoelectricity in a gelatinous substance. We compare the properties of the natural gel to those of established thermoelectrics. PMID:15524559

  12. Internal convection in thermoelectric generator models

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Apertet, Y.; Ouerdane, H.; Goupil, C.; Lecæur, Ph

    2012-11-01

    Coupling between heat and electrical currents is at the heart of thermoelectric processes. In a thermoelectric system this may be seen, from a thermal viewpoint, as an additional thermal flux linked to the appearance of an electrical current. Since this additional flux is associated with the global displacement of charge carriers in the system, it can be qualified as convective in opposition to the conductive part related to both phonon transport and heat transport by electrons under open circuit condition as, e.g., in the Wiedemann-Franz relation. In this article we demonstrate that considering the convective part of the thermal flux allows both new insight into the thermoelectric energy conversion and the derivation of the maximum power condition for generators with realistic thermal coupling.

  13. Nano-materials for enhanced thermoelectric efficiencies

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Boukai, Akram

    2010-04-01

    Energy is the ultimate currency that drives the world economy. Without energy, the global economy would cease to function normally. Most of the world's energy comes from the burning of fossil fuels such as coal and oil. Unfortunately, these fossil fuels are limited and pollute the atmosphere. The rising costs and demand of energy products and the alarming rate of global warming have focused research efforts into alternative forms of renewable energy. Thermoelectrics are one class of renewable energy producing devices. Thermoelectrics operate by converting temperature differences into electrical power and vice versa. They find limited use due to their low efficiencies and high cost. This article will review the operation of thermoelectrics and their current state-of-the-art. It will also explore future promising research endeavors that aim to increase their efficiency.

  14. Thermoelectricity and thermodiffusion in charged colloids.

    PubMed

    Huang, B T; Roger, M; Bonetti, M; Salez, T J; Wiertel-Gasquet, C; Dubois, E; Cabreira Gomes, R; Demouchy, G; Mériguet, G; Peyre, V; Kouyaté, M; Filomeno, C L; Depeyrot, J; Tourinho, F A; Perzynski, R; Nakamae, S

    2015-08-01

    The Seebeck and Soret coefficients of ionically stabilized suspension of maghemite nanoparticles in dimethyl sulfoxide are experimentally studied as a function of nanoparticle volume fraction. In the presence of a temperature gradient, the charged colloidal nanoparticles experience both thermal drift due to their interactions with the solvent and electric forces proportional to the internal thermoelectric field. The resulting thermodiffusion of nanoparticles is observed through forced Rayleigh scattering measurements, while the thermoelectric field is accessed through voltage measurements in a thermocell. Both techniques provide independent estimates of nanoparticle's entropy of transfer as high as 82 meV K(-1). Such a property may be used to improve the thermoelectric coefficients in liquid thermocells. PMID:26254665

  15. Thermoelectric properties of a trilayer graphene nanoribbon

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Orellana, Pedro; Cortes, Natalia; Rosales, Luis; Pacheco, Monica; Chico, Leonor

    2015-03-01

    In this work the electronic and thermoelectric properties of a three-layer graphene with AAA stacking type are studied. By using a tight-binding model analytical expressions for the transmission and density of states are obtained. Thermoelectric properties are analyzed by numerical integration and results for thermopower and figure of merit, electronic conductance and thermal conductance are obtained. The results show that the interference effects present in this system, like Fano effect, directly affect the behavior of these thermoelectric properties and as well as the Wiedemann-Franz law. There is an enhancement of the thermopower of the system and a violation of the Wiedemann-Franz law in the region of energies close the Fano antiresonances and this has as a consequence an enhancement of the figure of merit of the system. FONDECYT 1140571, 1140388, CONICYT ACT 1204, DGIP/ USM internal Grant 11.14.68.

  16. Microfabricated thermoelectric power-generation devices

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Fleurial, Jean-Pierre (Inventor); Ryan, Margaret A. (Inventor); Borshchevsky, Alex (Inventor); Phillips, Wayne (Inventor); Kolawa, Elizabeth A. (Inventor); Snyder, G. Jeffrey (Inventor); Caillat, Thierry (Inventor); Kascich, Thorsten (Inventor); Mueller, Peter (Inventor)

    2004-01-01

    A device for generating power to run an electronic component. The device includes a heat-conducting substrate (composed, e.g., of diamond or another high thermal conductivity material) disposed in thermal contact with a high temperature region. During operation, heat flows from the high temperature region into the heat-conducting substrate, from which the heat flows into the electrical power generator. A thermoelectric material (e.g., a BiTe alloy-based film or other thermoelectric material) is placed in thermal contact with the heat-conducting substrate. A low temperature region is located on the side of the thermoelectric material opposite that of the high temperature region. The thermal gradient generates electrical power and drives an electrical component.

  17. Microfabricated thermoelectric power-generation devices

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Fleurial, Jean-Pierre (Inventor); Ryan, Margaret A. (Inventor); Borshchevsky, Alex (Inventor); Phillips, Wayne (Inventor); Kolawa, Elizabeth A. (Inventor); Snyder, G. Jeffrey (Inventor); Caillat, Thierry (Inventor); Kascich, Thorsten (Inventor); Mueller, Peter (Inventor)

    2002-01-01

    A device for generating power to run an electronic component. The device includes a heat-conducting substrate (composed, e.g., of diamond or another high thermal conductivity material) disposed in thermal contact with a high temperature region. During operation, heat flows from the high temperature region into the heat-conducting substrate, from which the heat flows into the electrical power generator. A thermoelectric material (e.g., a BiTe alloy-based film or other thermoelectric material) is placed in thermal contact with the heat-conducting substrate. A low temperature region is located on the side of the thermoelectric material opposite that of the high temperature region. The thermal gradient generates electrical power and drives an electrical component.

  18. Enhanced thermoelectric performance of defected silicene nanoribbons

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zhao, W.; Guo, Z. X.; Zhang, Y.; Ding, J. W.; Zheng, X. J.

    2016-02-01

    Based on non-equilibrium Green's function method, we investigate the thermoelectric performance for both zigzag (ZSiNRs) and armchair (ASiNRs) silicene nanoribbons with central or edge defects. For perfect silicene nanoribbons (SiNRs), it is shown that with its width increasing, the maximum of ZT values (ZTM) decreases monotonously while the phononic thermal conductance increases linearly. For various types of edges and defects, with increasing defect numbers in longitudinal direction, ZTM increases monotonously while the phononic thermal conductance decreases. Comparing with ZSiNRs, defected ASiNRs possess higher thermoelectric performance due to higher Seebeck coefficient and lower thermal conductance. In particular, about 2.5 times enhancement to ZT values is obtained in ASiNRs with edge defects. Our theoretical simulations indicate that by controlling the type and number of defects, ZT values of SiNRs could be enhanced greatly which suggests their very appealing thermoelectric applications.

  19. Method of operating a thermoelectric generator

    SciTech Connect

    Reynolds, Michael G; Cowgill, Joshua D

    2013-11-05

    A method for operating a thermoelectric generator supplying a variable-load component includes commanding the variable-load component to operate at a first output and determining a first load current and a first load voltage to the variable-load component while operating at the commanded first output. The method also includes commanding the variable-load component to operate at a second output and determining a second load current and a second load voltage to the variable-load component while operating at the commanded second output. The method includes calculating a maximum power output of the thermoelectric generator from the determined first load current and voltage and the determined second load current and voltage, and commanding the variable-load component to operate at a third output. The commanded third output is configured to draw the calculated maximum power output from the thermoelectric generator.

  20. Heavily Doped PBSE with High Thermoelectric Performance

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Snyder, G. Jeffrey (Inventor); Wang, Heng (Inventor); Pei, Yanzhong (Inventor)

    2015-01-01

    The present invention discloses heavily doped PbSe with high thermoelectric performance. Thermoelectric property measurements disclosed herein indicated that PbSe is high zT material for mid-to-high temperature thermoelectric applications. At 850 K a peak zT (is) greater than 1.3 was observed when n(sub H) approximately 1.0 X 10(exp 20) cm(exp -3). The present invention also discloses that a number of strategies used to improve zT of PbTe, such as alloying with other elements, nanostructuring and band modification may also be used to further improve zT in PbSe.

  1. Holistic quantum design of thermoelectric niobium oxynitride

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Music, Denis; Bliem, Pascal; Hans, Marcus

    2015-06-01

    We have applied holistic quantum design to thermoelectric NbON (space group Pm-3m). Even though transport properties are central in designing efficient thermoelectrics, mechanical properties should also be considered to minimize their thermal fatigue during multiple heating/cooling cycles. Using density functional theory, elastic constants of NbON were predicted and validated by nanoindentation measurements on reactively sputtered thin films. Based on large bulk-to-shear modulus ratio and positive Cauchy pressure, ceramic NbON appears ductile. These unusual properties may be understood by analyzing the electronic structure. Nb-O bonding is of covalent-ionic nature with metallic contributions. Second neighbor O-N bonds exhibit covalent-ionic character. Upon shear loading, these O-N bonds break giving rise to easily shearable planes. Ductile NbON, together with large Seebeck coefficient and low thermal expansion, is promising for thermoelectric applications.

  2. Thermoelectric transport phenomena in semiconducting nanostructures

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cornett, Jane

    The efficiencies of state-of-the-art thermoelectric devices made from bulk materials remain too low for widespread application. Early predictions by Hicks and Dresselhaus indicated that one potential route for improving the thermoelectric properties of materials was through nanostructuring. This predicted improvement was due to two effects: an increase in the thermoelectric power factor and a decrease in the lattice thermal conductivity. In this thesis, new models are developed for calculation of the thermoelectric transport properties of nanostructures. The results of these models are in line with what has been seen experimentally in the field of nanostructured thermoelectrics: the power factor of nanostructures falls below the bulk value for sizes accessible by current experimental techniques. While this is demonstrated first for a particular system (cylindrical InSb nanowires), this result is shown to hold true regardless of the dimensionality of the system, the material of interest or the temperature. Using the analytical forms of the transport properties of nanostructured systems, we derive universal scaling relations for the power factor which further point to the fundamental and general nature of this result. Calculations done for nanostructured systems in which the scattering time is a function of carrier energy indicate that the introduction of nanoscale grain boundaries can lead to improvements in the power factor. We present experimental methods for the fabrication and characterization of porous bismuth-antimony-telluride (Bi2-xSbxTe3 ) thin films using a templated deposition technique. Preliminary results from this experimental work indicate that the nanostructured morphology of the templates used for the deposition of porous films limits diffusion during grain growth, and thus the crystal structure of these porous films differs from that of films deposited on dense substrates. For fundamental investigation of the effects of porosity on thermoelectric

  3. NEUTRONIC REACTOR

    DOEpatents

    Fermi, E.; Zinn, W.H.; Anderson, H.L.

    1958-09-16

    Means are presenied for increasing the reproduction ratio of a gaphite- moderated neutronic reactor by diminishing the neutron loss due to absorption or capture by gaseous impurities within the reactor. This means comprised of a fluid-tight casing or envelope completely enclosing the reactor and provided with a valve through which the casing, and thereby the reactor, may be evacuated of atmospheric air.

  4. Development concept for a small, split-core, heat-pipe-cooled nuclear reactor

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Lantz, E.; Breitwieser, R.; Niederauer, G. F.

    1974-01-01

    There have been two main deterrents to the development of semiportable nuclear reactors. One is the high development costs; the other is the inability to satisfy with assurance the questions of operational safety. This report shows how a split-core, heat-pipe cooled reactor could conceptually eliminate these deterrents, and examines and summarizes recent work on split-core, heat-pipe reactors. A concept for a small reactor that could be developed at a comparatively low cost is presented. The concept would extend the technology of subcritical radioisotope thermoelectric generators using 238 PuO2 to the evolution of critical space power reactors using 239 PuO2.

  5. Method of Suppressing Sublimation in Advanced Thermoelectric Devices

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Sakamoto, Jeffrey S. (Inventor); Caillat, Thierry (Inventor); Fleurial, Jean-Pierre (Inventor); Snyder, G. Jeffrey (Inventor)

    2009-01-01

    A method of applying a physical barrier to suppress thermal decomposition near a surface of a thermoelectric material including applying a continuous metal foil to a predetermined portion of the surface of the thermoelectric material, physically binding the continuous metal foil to the surface of the thermoelectric material using a binding member, and heating in a predetermined atmosphere the applied and physically bound continuous metal foil and the thermoelectric material to a sufficient temperature in order to promote bonding between the continuous metal foil and the surface of the thermoelectric material. The continuous metal foil forms a physical barrier to enclose a predetermined portion of the surface. Thermal decomposition is suppressed at the surface of the thermoelectric material enclosed by the physical barrier when the thermoelectric element is in operation.

  6. Autonomous Control and Diagnostics of Space Reactor Systems

    SciTech Connect

    Upadhyaya, B.R.; Xu, X.; Perillo, S.R.P.; Na, M.G.

    2006-07-01

    This paper describes three key features of the development of an autonomous control strategy for space reactor systems. These include the development of a reactor simulation model for transient analysis, development of model-predictive control as part of the autonomous control strategy, and a fault detection and isolation module. The latter is interfaced with the control supervisor as part of a hierarchical control system. The approach has been applied to the nodal model of the SP-100 reactor with a thermo-electric generator. The results of application demonstrate the effectiveness of the control approach and its ability to reconfigure the control mode under fault conditions. (authors)

  7. Transport in charged colloids driven by thermoelectricity.

    PubMed

    Würger, Alois

    2008-09-01

    We study the thermal diffusion coefficient D{T} of a charged colloid in a temperature gradient, and find that it is to a large extent determined by the thermoelectric response of the electrolyte solution. The thermally induced salinity gradient leads in general to a strong increase with temperature. The difference of the heat of transport of coions and counterions gives rise to a thermoelectric field that drives the colloid to the cold or to the warm, depending on the sign of its charge. Our results provide an explanation for recent experimental findings on thermophoresis in colloidal suspensions. PMID:18851262

  8. Search for new high temperature thermoelectric materials

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Caillat, Thierry; Borshchevsky, Alex; Fleurial, Jean-Pierre

    1992-01-01

    Although important efforts are actually devoted to improve Si-Ge materials, their thermoelectric energy conversion efficiency remains relatively low and the nondimensional ZT value does not exceed 1. Higher values can be obtained by investigating new materials. A search for new high temperature thermoelectric materials identified a certain number of compounds between transition metals and bismuth, antimony and germanium as potential candidates. Results of the preliminary synthesis of samples by a variety of techniques (Bridgman, mechanical alloying) are presented as well as some electrical measurements. Some compounds showed interesting properties and need to be investigated in more details.

  9. Chiral thermoelectrics with quantum Hall edge states.

    PubMed

    Sánchez, Rafael; Sothmann, Björn; Jordan, Andrew N

    2015-04-10

    The thermoelectric properties of a three-terminal quantum Hall conductor are investigated. We identify a contribution to the thermoelectric response that relies on the chirality of the carrier motion rather than on spatial asymmetries. The Onsager matrix becomes maximally asymmetric with configurations where either the Seebeck or the Peltier coefficients are zero while the other one remains finite. Reversing the magnetic field direction exchanges these effects, which originate from the chiral nature of the quantum Hall edge states. The possibility to generate spin-polarized currents in quantum spin Hall samples is discussed. PMID:25910147

  10. Chiral Thermoelectrics with Quantum Hall Edge States

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sánchez, Rafael; Sothmann, Björn; Jordan, Andrew N.

    2015-04-01

    The thermoelectric properties of a three-terminal quantum Hall conductor are investigated. We identify a contribution to the thermoelectric response that relies on the chirality of the carrier motion rather than on spatial asymmetries. The Onsager matrix becomes maximally asymmetric with configurations where either the Seebeck or the Peltier coefficients are zero while the other one remains finite. Reversing the magnetic field direction exchanges these effects, which originate from the chiral nature of the quantum Hall edge states. The possibility to generate spin-polarized currents in quantum spin Hall samples is discussed.

  11. Compatibility of Segments of Thermoelectric Generators

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Snyder, G. Jeffrey; Ursell, Tristan

    2009-01-01

    A method of calculating (usually for the purpose of maximizing) the power-conversion efficiency of a segmented thermoelectric generator is based on equations derived from the fundamental equations of thermoelectricity. Because it is directly traceable to first principles, the method provides physical explanations in addition to predictions of phenomena involved in segmentation. In comparison with the finite-element method used heretofore to predict (without being able to explain) the behavior of a segmented thermoelectric generator, this method is much simpler to implement in practice: in particular, the efficiency of a segmented thermoelectric generator can be estimated by evaluating equations using only hand-held calculator with this method. In addition, the method provides for determination of cascading ratios. The concept of cascading is illustrated in the figure and the definition of the cascading ratio is defined in the figure caption. An important aspect of the method is its approach to the issue of compatibility among segments, in combination with introduction of the concept of compatibility within a segment. Prior approaches involved the use of only averaged material properties. Two materials in direct contact could be examined for compatibility with each other, but there was no general framework for analysis of compatibility. The present method establishes such a framework. The mathematical derivation of the method begins with the definition of reduced efficiency of a thermoelectric generator as the ratio between (1) its thermal-to-electric power-conversion efficiency and (2) its Carnot efficiency (the maximum efficiency theoretically attainable, given its hot- and cold-side temperatures). The derivation involves calculation of the reduced efficiency of a model thermoelectric generator for which the hot-side temperature is only infinitesimally greater than the cold-side temperature. The derivation includes consideration of the ratio (u) between the

  12. Thermoelectric power generator with intermediate loop

    DOEpatents

    Bell, Lon E; Crane, Douglas Todd

    2013-05-21

    A thermoelectric power generator is disclosed for use to generate electrical power from heat, typically waste heat. An intermediate heat transfer loop forms a part of the system to permit added control and adjustability in the system. This allows the thermoelectric power generator to more effectively and efficiently generate power in the face of dynamically varying temperatures and heat flux conditions, such as where the heat source is the exhaust of an automobile, or any other heat source with dynamic temperature and heat flux conditions.

  13. Thermoelectric material characterization and module fabrication

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    D'Angelo, Jonathan James

    Thermoelectric generators operate with no moving parts to convert heat flow to electricity. Significant interest in developing new materials in recent years has led to the discovery of several promising thermoelectrics; however there can be considerable challenges in developing the materials into working devices. Testing and feedback is needed at each step to gain valuable information for identification of difficulties in; quality of the materials and modules, electrical contacts to the materials, repeatability in fabrication, and longevity of the devices. The goal of this dissertation is to show results in all of these categories.

  14. Thermoelectric efficiency of holey topological insulators

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Abanov, Artem; Tretiakov, Oleg; Sinova, Jairo

    2012-02-01

    We study the thermoelectric properties of three-dimensional topological insulators with many holes (or pores) in the bulk. We show that at high density of these holes the thermoelectric figure of merit, ZT, can be large due to the contribution of the conducting surfaces and the suppressed phonon thermal conductivity. The maximum efficiency can be tuned by an induced gap in the surface states dispersion through tunneling or external magnetic fields. The large values of ZT, much higher than unity for reasonable parameters, make this system a strong candidate for applications in heat management of nanodevices, especially at low temperatures.

  15. Thermoelectric Generator for a Stationary Diesel Plant

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Anatychuk, L. I.; Rozver, Yu. Yu.; Velichuk, D. D.

    2011-05-01

    This paper describes the development and testing of a thermoelectric generator (TEG) using the exhaust heat of a 50-kW stationary diesel power plant. The generator consists of six units that represent primary generators for each diesel engine cylinder. Each primary generator comprises five sections with gas heat exchangers, thermoelectric modules, and liquid heat exchangers. The sections were optimized for the exhaust gas operating temperatures. The generator electric power was 2.1 kW at rated power of 2.2 kW, corresponding to 4.4% of the diesel plant electric power.

  16. Quantum Thermoelectric Effects on the Nanoscale

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bergfield, Justin; Stafford, Charles

    2011-03-01

    An exact expression for the heat current in a nanostructure coupled to multiple metallic electrodes is derived, including both electron-electron and electron-phonon interactions. We use this formalism to investigate quantum effects on the flow of charge and entropy, and find an enormous quantum enhancement of thermoelectric effects in the vicinity of higher-order interferences in the transmission spectrum of a nanoscale junction. A nonequilibrium quantum analysis of a single-molecule junction based on 3,3'-biphenyldithiol demonstrates a maximum operating efficiency of 27% of the Carnot limit. Nonlocal quantum corrections to thermoelectric transport coefficients in multiterminal geometries are predicted.

  17. Alkaline earth filled nickel skutterudite antimonide thermoelectrics

    DOEpatents

    Singh, David Joseph

    2013-07-16

    A thermoelectric material including a body centered cubic filled skutterudite having the formula A.sub.xFe.sub.yNi.sub.zSb.sub.12, where A is an alkaline earth element, x is no more than approximately 1.0, and the sum of y and z is approximately equal to 4.0. The alkaline earth element includes guest atoms selected from the group consisting of Be, Mb, Ca, Sr, Ba, Ra and combinations thereof. The filled skutterudite is shown to have properties suitable for a wide variety of thermoelectric applications.

  18. Holey Silicon as an Efficient Thermoelectric Material

    SciTech Connect

    Tang, Jinyao; Wang, Hung-Ta; Hyun Lee, Dong; Fardy, Melissa; Huo, Ziyang; Russell, Thomas P.; Yang, Peidong

    2010-09-30

    This work investigated the thermoelectric properties of thin silicon membranes that have been decorated with high density of nanoscopic holes. These ?holey silicon? (HS) structures were fabricated by either nanosphere or block-copolymer lithography, both of which are scalable for practical device application. By reducing the pitch of the hexagonal holey pattern down to 55 nm with 35percent porosity, the thermal conductivity of HS is consistently reduced by 2 orders of magnitude and approaches the amorphous limit. With a ZT value of 0.4 at room temperature, the thermoelectric performance of HS is comparable with the best value recorded in silicon nanowire system.

  19. Thermoelectric power generator with intermediate loop

    DOEpatents

    Bel,; Lon E.; Crane, Douglas Todd

    2009-10-27

    A thermoelectric power generator is disclosed for use to generate electrical power from heat, typically waste heat. An intermediate heat transfer loop forms a part of the system to permit added control and adjustability in the system. This allows the thermoelectric power generator to more effectively and efficiently generate power in the face of dynamically varying temperatures and heat flux conditions, such as where the heat source is the exhaust of an automobile, or any other heat source with dynamic temperature and heat flux conditions.

  20. Vaporizable Scaffolds for Fabricating Thermoelectric Modules

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Sakamoto, Jeffrey; Yen, Shiao-pin; Fleurial, Jean-Pierre; Paik, Jong-Ah

    2006-01-01

    A process for fabricating thermoelectric modules with vacuum gaps separating the thermoelectric legs has been conceived, and the feasibility of some essential parts of the process has been demonstrated. The vacuum gaps are needed to electrically insulate the legs from each other. The process involves the use of scaffolding in the form of sheets of a polymer to temporarily separate the legs by the desired distance, which is typically about 0.5 mm. During a bonding subprocess that would take place in a partial vacuum at an elevated temperature, the polymer would be vaporized, thereby creating the vacuum gaps.

  1. Accelerated Discovery of Thermoelectric Materials: Combinatorial Facility and High-Throughput Measurement of Thermoelectric Power Factor.

    PubMed

    García-Cañadas, Jorge; Adkins, Nicholas J E; McCain, Stephen; Hauptstein, Bastian; Brew, Ashley; Jarvis, David J; Min, Gao

    2016-06-13

    A series of processes have been developed to facilitate the rapid discovery of new promising thermoelectric alloys. A novel combinatorial facility where elements are wire-fed and laser-melted was designed and constructed. Different sample compositions can be achieved by feeding different element wires at specific rates. The composition of all the samples prepared was tested by energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDS). Then, their thermoelectric properties (power factor) at room temperature were screened in a specially designed new high-throughput setup. After the screening, the thermoelectric properties can be mapped with the possibility of identifying compositional trends. As a proof-of-concept, a promising thermoelectric ternary system, Al-Fe-Ti, has been identified, demonstrating the capability of this accelerated approach.

  2. Accelerated Discovery of Thermoelectric Materials: Combinatorial Facility and High-Throughput Measurement of Thermoelectric Power Factor.

    PubMed

    García-Cañadas, Jorge; Adkins, Nicholas J E; McCain, Stephen; Hauptstein, Bastian; Brew, Ashley; Jarvis, David J; Min, Gao

    2016-06-13

    A series of processes have been developed to facilitate the rapid discovery of new promising thermoelectric alloys. A novel combinatorial facility where elements are wire-fed and laser-melted was designed and constructed. Different sample compositions can be achieved by feeding different element wires at specific rates. The composition of all the samples prepared was tested by energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDS). Then, their thermoelectric properties (power factor) at room temperature were screened in a specially designed new high-throughput setup. After the screening, the thermoelectric properties can be mapped with the possibility of identifying compositional trends. As a proof-of-concept, a promising thermoelectric ternary system, Al-Fe-Ti, has been identified, demonstrating the capability of this accelerated approach. PMID:27186664

  3. Progress towards an Optimization Methodology for Combustion-Driven Portable Thermoelectric Power Generation Systems

    SciTech Connect

    Krishnan, Shankar; Karri, Naveen K.; Gogna, Pawan K.; Chase, Jordan R.; Fleurial, Jean-Pierre; Hendricks, Terry J.

    2012-03-13

    Enormous military and commercial interests exist in developing quiet, lightweight, and compact thermoelectric (TE) power generation systems. This paper investigates design integration and analysis of an advanced TE power generation system implementing JP-8 fueled combustion and thermal recuperation. Design and development of a portable TE power system using a JP-8 combustor as a high temperature heat source and optimal process flows depend on efficient heat generation, transfer, and recovery within the system are explored. Design optimization of the system required considering the combustion system efficiency and TE conversion efficiency simultaneously. The combustor performance and TE sub-system performance were coupled directly through exhaust temperatures, fuel and air mass flow rates, heat exchanger performance, subsequent hot-side temperatures, and cold-side cooling techniques and temperatures. Systematic investigation of this system relied on accurate thermodynamic modeling of complex, high-temperature combustion processes concomitantly with detailed thermoelectric converter thermal/mechanical modeling. To this end, this work reports on design integration of systemlevel process flow simulations using commercial software CHEMCADTM with in-house thermoelectric converter and module optimization, and heat exchanger analyses using COMSOLTM software. High-performance, high-temperature TE materials and segmented TE element designs are incorporated in coupled design analyses to achieve predicted TE subsystem level conversion efficiencies exceeding 10%. These TE advances are integrated with a high performance microtechnology combustion reactor based on recent advances at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL). Predictions from this coupled simulation established a basis for optimal selection of fuel and air flow rates, thermoelectric module design and operating conditions, and microtechnology heat-exchanger design criteria. This paper will discuss this

  4. Interference enhanced thermoelectricity in quinoid type structures.

    PubMed

    Strange, M; Seldenthuis, J S; Verzijl, C J O; Thijssen, J M; Solomon, G C

    2015-02-28

    Quantum interference (QI) effects in molecular junctions may be used to obtain large thermoelectric responses. We study the electrical conductance G and the thermoelectric response of a series of molecules featuring a quinoid core using density functional theory, as well as a semi-empirical interacting model Hamiltonian describing the π-system of the molecule which we treat in the GW approximation. Molecules with a quinoid type structure are shown to have two distinct destructive QI features close to the frontier orbital energies. These manifest themselves as two dips in the transmission, that remain separated, even when either electron donating or withdrawing side groups are added. We find that the position of the dips in the transmission and the frontier molecular levels can be chemically controlled by varying the electron donating or withdrawing character of the side groups as well as the conjugation length inside the molecule. This feature results in a very high thermoelectric power factor S(2)G and figure of merit ZT, where S is the Seebeck coefficient, making quinoid type molecules potential candidates for efficient thermoelectric devices. PMID:25725747

  5. Copper ion liquid-like thermoelectrics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Liu, Huili; Shi, Xun; Xu, Fangfang; Zhang, Linlin; Zhang, Wenqing; Chen, Lidong; Li, Qiang; Uher, Ctirad; Day, Tristan; Snyder, G. Jeffrey

    2012-05-01

    Advanced thermoelectric technology offers a potential for converting waste industrial heat into useful electricity, and an emission-free method for solid state cooling. Worldwide efforts to find materials with thermoelectric figure of merit, zT values significantly above unity, are frequently focused on crystalline semiconductors with low thermal conductivity. Here we report on Cu2-xSe, which reaches a zT of 1.5 at 1,000 K, among the highest values for any bulk materials. Whereas the Se atoms in Cu2-xSe form a rigid face-centred cubic lattice, providing a crystalline pathway for semiconducting electrons (or more precisely holes), the copper ions are highly disordered around the Se sublattice and are superionic with liquid-like mobility. This extraordinary ‘liquid-like’ behaviour of copper ions around a crystalline sublattice of Se in Cu2-xSe results in an intrinsically very low lattice thermal conductivity which enables high zT in this otherwise simple semiconductor. This unusual combination of properties leads to an ideal thermoelectric material. The results indicate a new strategy and direction for high-efficiency thermoelectric materials by exploring systems where there exists a crystalline sublattice for electronic conduction surrounded by liquid-like ions.

  6. Enhanced Thermoelectric Efficiency of Porous Silicene Nanoribbons

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sadeghi, Hatef; Sangtarash, Sara; Lambert, Colin J.

    2015-03-01

    There is a critical need to attain new sustainable materials for direct upgrade of waste heat to electrical energy via the thermoelectric effect. Here we demonstrate that the thermoelectric performance of silicene nanoribbons can be improved dramatically by introducing nanopores and tuning the Fermi energy. We predict that values of electronic thermoelectric figure of merit ZTe up to 160 are achievable, provided the Fermi energy is located approximately 100 meV above the charge neutrality point. Including the effect of phonons yields a value for the full figure of merit of ZT = 3.5. Furthermore the sign of the thermopower S can be varied with achievable values as high as S = +/- 500 μV/K. As a method of tuning the Fermi energy, we analyse the effect of doping the silicene with either a strong electron donor (TTF) or a strong electron acceptor (TCNQ) and demonstrate that adsorbed layers of the former increases ZTe to a value of 3.1, which is insensitive to temperature over the range 100 K - 400 K. This combination of a high, temperature-insensitive ZTe, and the ability to choose the sign of the thermopower identifies nanoporous silicene as an ideal thermoelectric material with the potential for unprecedented performance.

  7. Thermoelectric devices and applications for the same

    DOEpatents

    DeSteese, John G [Kennewick, WA; Olsen, Larry C [Richland, WA; Martin, Peter M [Kennewick, WA

    2010-12-14

    High performance thin film thermoelectric couples and methods of making the same are disclosed. Such couples allow fabrication of at least microwatt to watt-level power supply devices operating at voltages greater than one volt even when activated by only small temperature differences.

  8. Interference enhanced thermoelectricity in quinoid type structures

    SciTech Connect

    Strange, M. Solomon, G. C.; Seldenthuis, J. S.; Verzijl, C. J. O.; Thijssen, J. M.

    2015-02-28

    Quantum interference (QI) effects in molecular junctions may be used to obtain large thermoelectric responses. We study the electrical conductance G and the thermoelectric response of a series of molecules featuring a quinoid core using density functional theory, as well as a semi-empirical interacting model Hamiltonian describing the π-system of the molecule which we treat in the GW approximation. Molecules with a quinoid type structure are shown to have two distinct destructive QI features close to the frontier orbital energies. These manifest themselves as two dips in the transmission, that remain separated, even when either electron donating or withdrawing side groups are added. We find that the position of the dips in the transmission and the frontier molecular levels can be chemically controlled by varying the electron donating or withdrawing character of the side groups as well as the conjugation length inside the molecule. This feature results in a very high thermoelectric power factor S{sup 2}G and figure of merit ZT, where S is the Seebeck coefficient, making quinoid type molecules potential candidates for efficient thermoelectric devices.

  9. Development of advanced thermoelectric materials, phase A

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    1980-01-01

    Work performed on the chemical system characterized by chrome sulfide, chrome selenide, lanthanum selenide, and lanthanum sulfide is described. Most materials within the chemical systems possess the requisites for attractive thermoelectric materials. The preparation of the alloys is discussed. Graphs show the Seebeck coefficient, electrical resistivity, and thermal conductivity of various materials within the chemical systems. The results of selected doping are included.

  10. Shockwave Consolidation of Nanostructured Thermoelectric Materials

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Prasad, Narasimha S.; Taylor, Patrick; Nemir, David

    2014-01-01

    Nanotechnology based thermoelectric materials are considered attractive for developing highly efficient thermoelectric devices. Nano-structured thermoelectric materials are predicted to offer higher ZT over bulk materials by reducing thermal conductivity and increasing electrical conductivity. Consolidation of nano-structured powders into dense materials without losing nanostructure is essential towards practical device development. Using the gas atomization process, amorphous nano-structured powders were produced. Shockwave consolidation is accomplished by surrounding the nanopowder-containing tube with explosives and then detonating. The resulting shock wave causes rapid fusing of the powders without the melt and subsequent grain growth. We have been successful in generating consolidated nano-structured bismuth telluride alloy powders by using the shockwave technique. Using these consolidated materials, several types of thermoelectric power generating devices have been developed. Shockwave consolidation is anticipated to generate large quantities of nanostructred materials expeditiously and cost effectively. In this paper, the technique of shockwave consolidation will be presented followed by Seebeck Coefficient and thermal conductivity measurements of consolidated materials. Preliminary results indicate a substantial increase in electrical conductivity due to shockwave consolidation technique.

  11. Thermoelectric Generators used as Cryogenic Heat Engines

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Smith, D. E.; Ordonez, C. A.

    1997-03-01

    A future experiment is being planned at the University of North Texas to design, build, and test a cryogenic heat engine(C. A. Ordonez, Am. J. Phys. 64), 479 (1996). suitable as an electric-vehicle power system. The power system shall then be installed in a demonstration vehicle. This will be a next-generation vehicle following the current project described in the accompanying poster, ``Experimental Car Which Uses Liquid Nitrogen as Its Fuel" by M. E. Parker et al. The cryogenic heat engine electric vehicle power system will incorporate both a thermoelectric generator and an ambient-temperature turbine or pneumatic-motor/generator. The thermoelectric generator shall use liquid nitrogen (under pressure) as its cold reservoir. Energy is produced with the thermoelectric generator by using the liquid/gas phase change to absorb heat. At the present time a study is being carried out to determine the efficiency of thermoelectric devices which are used as cryogenic heat engines. Initial data is being taken using frozen H_2O and CO2 as cold reservoirs. The results of the study shall be presented.

  12. Performance testing of thermoelectric generators at JPL

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Rouklove, P.; Truscello, V.

    1974-01-01

    Results of life tests of thermoelectric generators ranging in output power from 800 microwatts to 170 watts. Emphasis is placed on the results obtained from tests of three advanced prototypes - a high-performance generator, a transit-type generator, and a ring converter. In addition, the results of life tests of a number of generators representing Nimbus, Pioneer, and Viking technology are presented.

  13. Thermoelectric unicouple used for power generation

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Caillat, Thierry (Inventor); Zoltan, Andrew (Inventor); Zoltan, Leslie (Inventor); Snyder, Jeffrey (Inventor)

    2004-01-01

    A high-efficiency thermoelectric unicouple is used for power generation. The unicouple is formed with a plurality of legs, each leg formed of a plurality of segments. The legs are formed in a way that equalizes certain aspects of the different segments. Different materials are also described.

  14. Enhanced Thermoelectric Efficiency of Porous Silicene Nanoribbons

    PubMed Central

    Sadeghi, Hatef; Sangtarash, Sara; Lambert, Colin J.

    2015-01-01

    There is a critical need to attain new sustainable materials for direct upgrade of waste heat to electrical energy via the thermoelectric effect. Here we demonstrate that the thermoelectric performance of silicene nanoribbons can be improved dramatically by introducing nanopores and tuning the Fermi energy. We predict that values of electronic thermoelectric figure of merit ZTe up to 160 are achievable, provided the Fermi energy is located approximately 100 meV above the charge neutrality point. Including the effect of phonons yields a value for the full figure of merit of ZT = 3.5. Furthermore the sign of the thermopower S can be varied with achievable values as high as S = +/− 500 μV/K. As a method of tuning the Fermi energy, we analyse the effect of doping the silicene with either a strong electron donor (TTF) or a strong electron acceptor (TCNQ) and demonstrate that adsorbed layers of the former increases ZTe to a value of 3.1, which is insensitive to temperature over the range 100 K – 400 K. This combination of a high, temperature-insensitive ZTe, and the ability to choose the sign of the thermopower identifies nanoporous silicene as an ideal thermoelectric material with the potential for unprecedented performance. PMID:25820162

  15. Molybdenum oxide electrodes for thermoelectric generators

    DOEpatents

    Schmatz, Duane J.

    1989-01-01

    The invention is directed to a composite article suitable for use in thermoelectric generators. The article comprises a thin film comprising molybdenum oxide as an electrode deposited by physical deposition techniques onto solid electrolyte. The invention is also directed to the method of making same.

  16. Titanium nitride electrodes for thermoelectric generators

    DOEpatents

    Novak, Robert F.; Schmatz, Duane J.; Hunt, Thomas K.

    1987-12-22

    The invention is directed to a composite article suitable for use in thermoelectric generators. The article comprises a thin film of titanium nitride as an electrode deposited onto solid electrolyte. The invention is also directed to the method of making same.

  17. Thermoelectric devices and applications for the same

    DOEpatents

    Olsen, Larry C.; DeSteese, John G.; Martin, Peter M.; Johnston, John W.; Peters, Timothy J.

    2016-03-08

    High performance thin film thermoelectric couples and methods of making the same are disclosed. Such couples allow fabrication of at least microwatt to watt-level power supply devices operating at voltages greater than one volt even when activated by only small temperature differences.

  18. Enhanced thermoelectric efficiency of porous silicene nanoribbons.

    PubMed

    Sadeghi, Hatef; Sangtarash, Sara; Lambert, Colin J

    2015-03-30

    There is a critical need to attain new sustainable materials for direct upgrade of waste heat to electrical energy via the thermoelectric effect. Here we demonstrate that the thermoelectric performance of silicene nanoribbons can be improved dramatically by introducing nanopores and tuning the Fermi energy. We predict that values of electronic thermoelectric figure of merit ZTe up to 160 are achievable, provided the Fermi energy is located approximately 100 meV above the charge neutrality point. Including the effect of phonons yields a value for the full figure of merit of ZT = 3.5. Furthermore the sign of the thermopower S can be varied with achievable values as high as S = +/- 500 μV/K. As a method of tuning the Fermi energy, we analyse the effect of doping the silicene with either a strong electron donor (TTF) or a strong electron acceptor (TCNQ) and demonstrate that adsorbed layers of the former increases ZTe to a value of 3.1, which is insensitive to temperature over the range 100 K - 400 K. This combination of a high, temperature-insensitive ZTe, and the ability to choose the sign of the thermopower identifies nanoporous silicene as an ideal thermoelectric material with the potential for unprecedented performance.

  19. Progress in the Development of Segmented Thermoelectric Unicouples at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Caillat, T.; Fleurial, J-P.; Snyder, G.; Borshchevsky, A.

    2000-01-01

    A new verison of a segmented thermoelectric unicouple incorporating advanced thermoelectric materials with superior thermoelectric figures of merit has been recetly proposed and is currently under development at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL).

  20. Aerogels for Thermal Insulation of Thermoelectric Devices

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Sakamoto, Jeffrey; Fleurial, Jean-Pierre; Snyder, Jeffrey; Jones, Steven; Caillat, Thierry

    2006-01-01

    Silica aerogels have been shown to be attractive for use as thermal-insulation materials for thermoelectric devices. It is desirable to thermally insulate the legs of thermoelectric devices to suppress lateral heat leaks that degrade thermal efficiency. Aerogels offer not only high thermal- insulation effectiveness, but also a combination of other properties that are especially advantageous in thermoelectric- device applications. Aerogels are synthesized by means of sol-gel chemistry, which is ideal for casting insulation into place. As the scale of the devices to be insulated decreases, the castability from liquid solutions becomes increasingly advantageous: By virtue of castability, aerogel insulation can be made to encapsulate devices having any size from macroscopic down to nanoscopic and possibly having complex, three-dimensional shapes. Castable aerogels can permeate voids having characteristic dimensions as small as nanometers. Hence, practically all the void space surrounding the legs of thermoelectric devices could be filled with aerogel insulation, making the insulation highly effective. Because aerogels have the lowest densities of any known solid materials, they would add very little mass to the encapsulated devices. The thermal-conductivity values of aerogels are among the lowest reported for any material, even after taking account of the contributions of convection and radiation (in addition to true thermal conduction) to overall effective thermal conductivities. Even in ambient air, the contribution of convection to effective overall thermal conductivity of an aerogel is extremely low because of the highly tortuous nature of the flow paths through the porous aerogel structure. For applications that involve operating temperatures high enough to give rise to significant amounts of infrared radiation, opacifiers could be added to aerogels to reduce the radiative contributions to overall effective thermal conductivities. One example of an opacifier is

  1. Current Pulses Momentarily Enhance Thermoelectric Cooling

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Snyder, G. Jeffrey; Fleurial, Jean-Pierre; Caillat, Thierry; Chen, Gang; Yang, Rong Gui

    2004-01-01

    The rates of cooling afforded by thermoelectric (Peltier) devices can be increased for short times by applying pulses of electric current greater than the currents that yield maximum steady-state cooling. It has been proposed to utilize such momentary enhancements of cooling in applications in which diode lasers and other semiconductor devices are required to operate for times of the order of milliseconds at temperatures too low to be easily obtainable in the steady state. In a typical contemplated application, a semiconductor device would be in contact with the final (coldest) somewhat taller stage of a multistage thermoelectric cooler. Steady current would be applied to the stages to produce steady cooling. Pulsed current would then be applied, enhancing the cooling of the top stage momentarily. The principles of operation are straightforward: In a thermoelectric device, the cooling occurs only at a junction at one end of the thermoelectric legs, at a rate proportional to the applied current. However, Joule heating occurs throughout the device at a rate proportional to the current squared. Hence, in the steady state, the steady temperature difference that the device can sustain increases with current only to the point beyond which the Joule heating dominates. If a pulse of current greater than the optimum current (the current for maximum steady cooling) is applied, then the junction becomes momentarily cooled below its lowest steady temperature until thermal conduction brings the resulting pulse of Joule heat to the junction and thereby heats the junction above its lowest steady temperature. A theoretical and experimental study of such transient thermoelectric cooling followed by transient Joule heating in response to current pulses has been performed. The figure presents results from one of the experiments. The study established the essential parameters that characterize the pulse cooling effect, including the minimum temperature achieved, the maximum

  2. Enhanced thermoelectric performance of rough silicon nanowires.

    PubMed

    Hochbaum, Allon I; Chen, Renkun; Delgado, Raul Diaz; Liang, Wenjie; Garnett, Erik C; Najarian, Mark; Majumdar, Arun; Yang, Peidong

    2008-01-10

    Approximately 90 per cent of the world's power is generated by heat engines that use fossil fuel combustion as a heat source and typically operate at 30-40 per cent efficiency, such that roughly 15 terawatts of heat is lost to the environment. Thermoelectric modules could potentially convert part of this low-grade waste heat to electricity. Their efficiency depends on the thermoelectric figure of merit ZT of their material components, which is a function of the Seebeck coefficient, electrical resistivity, thermal conductivity and absolute temperature. Over the past five decades it has been challenging to increase ZT > 1, since the parameters of ZT are generally interdependent. While nanostructured thermoelectric materials can increase ZT > 1 (refs 2-4), the materials (Bi, Te, Pb, Sb, and Ag) and processes used are not often easy to scale to practically useful dimensions. Here we report the electrochemical synthesis of large-area, wafer-scale arrays of rough Si nanowires that are 20-300 nm in diameter. These nanowires have Seebeck coefficient and electrical resistivity values that are the same as doped bulk Si, but those with diameters of about 50 nm exhibit 100-fold reduction in thermal conductivity, yielding ZT = 0.6 at room temperature. For such nanowires, the lattice contribution to thermal conductivity approaches the amorphous limit for Si, which cannot be explained by current theories. Although bulk Si is a poor thermoelectric material, by greatly reducing thermal conductivity without much affecting the Seebeck coefficient and electrical resistivity, Si nanowire arrays show promise as high-performance, scalable thermoelectric materials.

  3. Nanoscale thermal and thermoelectric transport in silicon

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ryu, Hyuk Ju

    Hotspots on microchips are a major challenge for the semiconductor industry. To understand heat conduction from hotspots on silicon, measurements of the thermal resistance and transfer function have been performed using patterned nanoheater/sensor pairs with width from 100 nm up to 5000 nm at temperature range of 30 ˜ 300 K. Calculations of the thermal resistance based on a simple thermal model, considering resistances by spreading, interface, and localized heating match with the measurements. The results reveal several important trends indicating the prevalence of localized heating or sub-continuum transport phenomena in the vicinity of a nanoscale hotspot. Thermoelectric cooling is a possible solution to cope with the hotspot issue. Silicon, in a nanostructured form, is an interesting thermoelectric material, because of significantly reduced thermal conductivity. However, further improvement in thermoelectric efficiency is highly desirable. Thermopower measurements of silicon nanoribbons with an integrated gate have been performed. The gate in the device is used to provide strong carrier confinement and enable tunability of the carrier density over a wide range, which is fully compatible with conventional silicon processing and microelectronics. It therefore offers a promising alternative to doping when considering the thermoelectric engineering of nanostructures. An enhancement of thermoelectric power factor has been observed in silicon nanoribbons. This enhancement can be understood by considering its behavior as a function of carrier density. We identify the underlying mechanisms for the power factor in the nanoribbon, which include quantum confinement, low scattering due to the absence of dopants, and, at low temperatures, a significant phonon drag contribution.

  4. Automotive Thermoelectric Waste Heat Recovery

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Meisner, Gregory P.

    2015-03-01

    Considerable fuel energy, as much as 70%, is not converted to useful work by internal combustion engines but is instead rejected as waste heat, and more than half of the waste heat, nearly 40% of fuel energy, is contained in vehicle exhaust gas. This provides an opportunity to recover some of the wasted fuel energy and convert it from heat into useful work, subject to the laws of thermodynamics, and thereby improve vehicle energy efficiency. Thermoelectric (TE) materials have been extensively researched and TE devices are now being developed for operation at high temperatures corresponding to automotive exhaust gases for direct solid-state conversion of heat into electricity. This has stimulated substantial progress in the development of practical TE generator (TEG) systems for large-scale commercialization. A significant enabler of this progress has been the US Department of Energy's Vehicle Technologies Program through funding for low cost solutions for automotive TE waste heat recovery to improve fuel economy. Our current project at General Motors has culminated in the identification of the potential supply chain for all components and assembly of an automotive TEG. A significant focus has been to develop integrated and iterative modeling tools for a fully optimized TEG design that includes all components and subsystems (TE modules, heat exchangers, thermal interfaces, electrical interconnects, power conditioning, and vehicle integration for maximal use of TEG power). We have built and tested a new, low-cost Initial TEG prototype based on state-of-the-art production-scale skutterudite TE modules, novel heat exchanger designs, and practical solutions to the many technical challenges for optimum TEG performance. We will use the results for our Initial TEG prototype to refine our modeling and design tools for a Final automotive TEG system prototype. Our recent results will be presented. Thanks to: J.R. Salvador, E.R. Gundlach, D. Thompson, N.K. Bucknor, M

  5. Thermoelectricity in atom-sized junctions at room temperatures.

    PubMed

    Tsutsui, Makusu; Morikawa, Takanori; Arima, Akihide; Taniguchi, Masateru

    2013-01-01

    Atomic and molecular junctions are an emerging class of thermoelectric materials that exploit quantum confinement effects to obtain an enhanced figure of merit. An important feature in such nanoscale systems is that the electron and heat transport become highly sensitive to the atomic configurations. Here we report the characterization of geometry-sensitive thermoelectricity in atom-sized junctions at room temperatures. We measured the electrical conductance and thermoelectric power of gold nanocontacts simultaneously down to the single atom size. We found junction conductance dependent thermoelectric voltage oscillations with period 2e(2)/h. We also observed quantum suppression of thermovoltage fluctuations in fully-transparent contacts. These quantum confinement effects appeared only statistically due to the geometry-sensitive nature of thermoelectricity in the atom-sized junctions. The present method can be applied to various nanomaterials including single-molecules or nanoparticles and thus may be used as a useful platform for developing low-dimensional thermoelectric building blocks. PMID:24270238

  6. On-Chip Sensing of Thermoelectric Thin Film's Merit.

    PubMed

    Xiao, Zhigang; Zhu, Xiaoshan

    2015-01-01

    Thermoelectric thin films have been widely explored for thermal-to-electrical energy conversion or solid-state cooling, because they can remove heat from integrated circuit (IC) chips or micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS) devices without involving any moving mechanical parts. In this paper, we report using silicon diode-based temperature sensors and specific thermoelectric devices to characterize the merit of thermoelectric thin films. The silicon diode temperature sensors and thermoelectric devices were fabricated using microfabrication techniques. Specifically, e-beam evaporation was used to grow the thermoelectric thin film of Sb2Te3 (100 nm thick). The Seebeck coefficient and the merit of the Sb2Te3 thin film were measured or determined. The fabrication of silicon diode temperature sensors and thermoelectric devices are compatible with the integrated circuit fabrication.

  7. Designing high-performance layered thermoelectric materials through orbital engineering

    PubMed Central

    Zhang, Jiawei; Song, Lirong; Madsen, Georg K. H.; Fischer, Karl F. F.; Zhang, Wenqing; Shi, Xun; Iversen, Bo B.

    2016-01-01

    Thermoelectric technology, which possesses potential application in recycling industrial waste heat as energy, calls for novel high-performance materials. The systematic exploration of novel thermoelectric materials with excellent electronic transport properties is severely hindered by limited insight into the underlying bonding orbitals of atomic structures. Here we propose a simple yet successful strategy to discover and design high-performance layered thermoelectric materials through minimizing the crystal field splitting energy of orbitals to realize high orbital degeneracy. The approach naturally leads to design maps for optimizing the thermoelectric power factor through forming solid solutions and biaxial strain. Using this approach, we predict a series of potential thermoelectric candidates from layered CaAl2Si2-type Zintl compounds. Several of them contain nontoxic, low-cost and earth-abundant elements. Moreover, the approach can be extended to several other non-cubic materials, thereby substantially accelerating the screening and design of new thermoelectric materials. PMID:26948043

  8. Designing high-performance layered thermoelectric materials through orbital engineering.

    PubMed

    Zhang, Jiawei; Song, Lirong; Madsen, Georg K H; Fischer, Karl F F; Zhang, Wenqing; Shi, Xun; Iversen, Bo B

    2016-01-01

    Thermoelectric technology, which possesses potential application in recycling industrial waste heat as energy, calls for novel high-performance materials. The systematic exploration of novel thermoelectric materials with excellent electronic transport properties is severely hindered by limited insight into the underlying bonding orbitals of atomic structures. Here we propose a simple yet successful strategy to discover and design high-performance layered thermoelectric materials through minimizing the crystal field splitting energy of orbitals to realize high orbital degeneracy. The approach naturally leads to design maps for optimizing the thermoelectric power factor through forming solid solutions and biaxial strain. Using this approach, we predict a series of potential thermoelectric candidates from layered CaAl2Si2-type Zintl compounds. Several of them contain nontoxic, low-cost and earth-abundant elements. Moreover, the approach can be extended to several other non-cubic materials, thereby substantially accelerating the screening and design of new thermoelectric materials. PMID:26948043

  9. Designing high-performance layered thermoelectric materials through orbital engineering

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zhang, Jiawei; Song, Lirong; Madsen, Georg K. H.; Fischer, Karl F. F.; Zhang, Wenqing; Shi, Xun; Iversen, Bo B.

    2016-03-01

    Thermoelectric technology, which possesses potential application in recycling industrial waste heat as energy, calls for novel high-performance materials. The systematic exploration of novel thermoelectric materials with excellent electronic transport properties is severely hindered by limited insight into the underlying bonding orbitals of atomic structures. Here we propose a simple yet successful strategy to discover and design high-performance layered thermoelectric materials through minimizing the crystal field splitting energy of orbitals to realize high orbital degeneracy. The approach naturally leads to design maps for optimizing the thermoelectric power factor through forming solid solutions and biaxial strain. Using this approach, we predict a series of potential thermoelectric candidates from layered CaAl2Si2-type Zintl compounds. Several of them contain nontoxic, low-cost and earth-abundant elements. Moreover, the approach can be extended to several other non-cubic materials, thereby substantially accelerating the screening and design of new thermoelectric materials.

  10. On-Chip Sensing of Thermoelectric Thin Film's Merit.

    PubMed

    Xiao, Zhigang; Zhu, Xiaoshan

    2015-01-01

    Thermoelectric thin films have been widely explored for thermal-to-electrical energy conversion or solid-state cooling, because they can remove heat from integrated circuit (IC) chips or micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS) devices without involving any moving mechanical parts. In this paper, we report using silicon diode-based temperature sensors and specific thermoelectric devices to characterize the merit of thermoelectric thin films. The silicon diode temperature sensors and thermoelectric devices were fabricated using microfabrication techniques. Specifically, e-beam evaporation was used to grow the thermoelectric thin film of Sb2Te3 (100 nm thick). The Seebeck coefficient and the merit of the Sb2Te3 thin film were measured or determined. The fabrication of silicon diode temperature sensors and thermoelectric devices are compatible with the integrated circuit fabrication. PMID:26193272

  11. Designing high-performance layered thermoelectric materials through orbital engineering.

    PubMed

    Zhang, Jiawei; Song, Lirong; Madsen, Georg K H; Fischer, Karl F F; Zhang, Wenqing; Shi, Xun; Iversen, Bo B

    2016-03-07

    Thermoelectric technology, which possesses potential application in recycling industrial waste heat as energy, calls for novel high-performance materials. The systematic exploration of novel thermoelectric materials with excellent electronic transport properties is severely hindered by limited insight into the underlying bonding orbitals of atomic structures. Here we propose a simple yet successful strategy to discover and design high-performance layered thermoelectric materials through minimizing the crystal field splitting energy of orbitals to realize high orbital degeneracy. The approach naturally leads to design maps for optimizing the thermoelectric power factor through forming solid solutions and biaxial strain. Using this approach, we predict a series of potential thermoelectric candidates from layered CaAl2Si2-type Zintl compounds. Several of them contain nontoxic, low-cost and earth-abundant elements. Moreover, the approach can be extended to several other non-cubic materials, thereby substantially accelerating the screening and design of new thermoelectric materials.

  12. NUCLEAR REACTOR

    DOEpatents

    Treshow, M.

    1961-09-01

    A boiling-water nuclear reactor is described wherein control is effected by varying the moderator-to-fuel ratio in the reactor core. This is accomplished by providing control tubes containing a liquid control moderator in the reactor core and providing means for varying the amount of control moderatcr within the control tubes.

  13. NEUTRONIC REACTOR

    DOEpatents

    Daniels, F.

    1959-10-27

    A reactor in which at least a portion of the moderator is in the form of movable refractory balls is described. In addition to their moderating capacity, these balls may serve as carriers for fissionable material or fertile material, or may serve in a coolant capacity to remove heat from the reactor. A pneumatic system is used to circulate the balls through the reactor.

  14. High efficiency thermoelectric power generation using Zintl-type materials

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Snyder, G. Jeffrey (Inventor); Gascoin, Franck (Inventor); Brown, Shawna (Inventor); Kauzlarich, Susan (Inventor)

    2010-01-01

    The invention disclosed herein relates to thermoelectrically-active p-type Zintl phase materials as well as devices utilizing such compounds. Such thermoelectric materials and devices may be used to convert thermal energy into electrical energy, or use electrical energy to produce heat or refrigeration. Embodiments of the invention relate to p-type thermoelectric materials related to the compound Yb.sub.14MnSb.sub.11.

  15. Ion beam irradiation effect on thermoelectric properties of Bi2Te3 and Sb2Te3 thin films

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Fu, Gaosheng; Zuo, Lei; Lian, Jie; Wang, Yongqiang; Chen, Jie; Longtin, Jon; Xiao, Zhigang

    2015-09-01

    Thermoelectric energy harvesting is a very promising application in nuclear power plants for self-maintained wireless sensors. However, the effects of intensive radiation on the performance of thermoelectric materials under relevant reactor environments such as energetic neutrons are not fully understood. In this work, radiation effects of bismuth telluride (Bi2Te3) and antimony telluride (Sb2Te3) thermoelectric thin film samples prepared by E-beam evaporation are investigated using Ne2+ ion irradiations at different fluences of 5 × 1014, 1015, 5 × 1015 and 1016 ions/cm2 with the focus on the transport and structural properties. Electrical conductivities, Seebeck coefficients and power factors are characterized as ion fluence changes. X-ray diffraction (XRD) and transmission electron microscopy (TEM) of the samples are obtained to assess how phase and microstructure influence the transport properties. Carrier concentration and Hall mobility are obtained from Hall effect measurements, which provide further insight into the electrical conductivity and Seebeck coefficient mechanisms. Positive effects of ion irradiations from Ne2+ on thermoelectric material property are observed to increase the power factor to 208% for Bi2Te3 and 337% for Sb2Te3 materials between fluence of 1 and 5 × 1015 cm2, due to the increasing of the electrical conductivity as a result of ionization radiation-enhanced crystallinity. However, under a higher fluence, 5 × 1015 cm2 in this case, the power factor starts to decrease accordingly, limiting the enhancements of thermoelectric materials properties under intensive radiation environment.

  16. Thermoelectric Power Conversion System Combined with LNG Vaporizer

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kambe, Mitsuru; Morita, Ryo; Omoto, Kazuyuki; Koji, Yasuhiro; Yoshida, Tatsuo; Noishiki, Koji

    A conceptual design of the thermoelectric power conversion system combined with open rack type LNG (liquefied natural gas) vaporizer to make use of cold heat of LNG is presented. The system performance analysis has been made based on the thermoelectric module performance data obtained at the cryogenic thermoelectric (CTE) test rig which could realize temperature and fluid dynamic condition of the open rack type LNG vaporizer. Conventional bismuth-telluride thermoelectric modules were tested, however, each module is encapsulated in the stainless steel container to achieve water proof. Electricity production cost evaluation of the system is also discussed.

  17. The influence of the nanostructure geometry on the thermoelectric properties

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    AL-Badry, Lafy F.

    2016-09-01

    We discuss the influence of nanostructure geometry on the thermoelectric properties in quantum ring consists of one QD in each arm, each QD connects with side QD. The calculations are based on the time-dependent Hamiltonian model, the steady state is considered to obtain an analytical expression for the transmission probability as a function of system energies. We employed the transmission probability to calculate the thermoelectric properties. We investigate thermoelectric properties through three configurations of this nanostructure. Figure of merit enhanced in configuration (II) when side QD connected to upper arm of quantum ring. The magnetic flux threads quantum ring. The effect of magnetic flux on the thermoelectric properties is examined.

  18. Printable Graphene-based Thermoelectric Device with High Temperature Capability

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Li, Tian; Chen, Yanan; Drew, Dennis; Hu, Liangbing; NanomaterialsEmerging Devices Collaboration

    Thermoelectric devices are of particular interest due to their capability to convert heat into electrical power. We demonstrate the use of a Graphene-based thermoelectric device that can generate output voltages of hundreds of millivolts with an illuminating Graphene strip as the blackbody source. Our proposed device is superior for thermoelectric conversion mainly due to its high temperature capability that yields a maximum Carnot efficiency limit of 90% (referenced to room temperature) and a high Seebeck coefficient. Our device is also macroscopic with good mechanical strength and stabilized performance, making it attractive for large scale and reliable thermoelectric devices.

  19. Anomalous thermoelectricity in strained Bi2Te3 films

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Liu, Yucong; Chen, Jiadong; Deng, Huiyong; Hu, Gujin; Zhu, Daming; Dai, Ning

    2016-09-01

    Bi2Te3-based alloys have been intensively used for thermoelectric coolers and generators due to their high Seebeck coefficient S. So far, efforts to improve the S have been made mostly on changing the structures and components. Herein, we demonstrate an anomalous thermoelectricity in strained Bi2Te3 films, i.e., the value of S is obviously changed after reversing the direction of temperature gradient. Further theoretical and experimental analysis shows that it originates from the coupling of thermoelectric and flexoelectric effects caused by a stress gradient. Our finding provides a new avenue to adjust the S of Bi2Te3-based thermoelectric materials through flexoelectric polarization.

  20. Research reactors

    SciTech Connect

    Tonneson, L.C.; Fox, G.J.

    1996-04-01

    There are currently 284 research reactors in operation, and 12 under construction around the world. Of the operating reactors, nearly two-thirds are used exclusively for research, and the rest for a variety of purposes, including training, testing, and critical assembly. For more than 50 years, research reactor programs have contributed greatly to the scientific and educational communities. Today, six of the world`s research reactors are being shut down, three of which are in the USA. With government budget constraints and the growing proliferation concerns surrounding the use of highly enriched uranium in some of these reactors, the future of nuclear research could be impacted.

  1. CONVECTION REACTOR

    DOEpatents

    Hammond, R.P.; King, L.D.P.

    1960-03-22

    An homogeneous nuclear power reactor utilizing convection circulation of the liquid fuel is proposed. The reactor has an internal heat exchanger looated in the same pressure vessel as the critical assembly, thereby eliminating necessity for handling the hot liquid fuel outside the reactor pressure vessel during normal operation. The liquid fuel used in this reactor eliminates the necessity for extensive radiolytic gas rocombination apparatus, and the reactor is resiliently pressurized and, without any movable mechanical apparatus, automatically regulates itself to the condition of criticality during moderate variations in temperature snd pressure and shuts itself down as the pressure exceeds a predetermined safe operating value.

  2. Shielding considerations for advanced space nuclear reactor systems

    SciTech Connect

    Angelo, J.P. Jr.; Buden, D.

    1982-01-01

    To meet the anticipated future space power needs, the Los Alamos National Laboratory is developing components for a compact, 100 kW/sub e/-class heat pipe nuclear reactor. The reactor uses uranium dioxide (UO/sub 2/) as its fuel, and is designed to operate around 1500 k. Heat pipes are used to remove thermal energy from the core without the use of pumps or compressors. The reactor heat pipes transfer mal energy to thermoelectric conversion elements that are advanced versions of the converters used on the enormously successful Voyager missions to the outer planets. Advanced versions of this heat pipe reactor could also be used to provide megawatt-level power plants. The paper reviews the status of this advanced heat pipe reactor and explores the radiation environments and shielding requirements for representative manned and unmanned applications.

  3. Summary of space nuclear reactor power systems, 1983--1992

    SciTech Connect

    Buden, D.

    1993-08-11

    This report summarizes major developments in the last ten years which have greatly expanded the space nuclear reactor power systems technology base. In the SP-100 program, after a competition between liquid-metal, gas-cooled, thermionic, and heat pipe reactors integrated with various combinations of thermoelectric thermionic, Brayton, Rankine, and Stirling energy conversion systems, three concepts:were selected for further evaluation. In 1985, the high-temperature (1,350 K), lithium-cooled reactor with thermoelectric conversion was selected for full scale development. Since then, significant progress has been achieved including the demonstration of a 7-y-life uranium nitride fuel pin. Progress on the lithium-cooled reactor with thermoelectrics has progressed from a concept, through a generic flight system design, to the design, development, and testing of specific components. Meanwhile, the USSR in 1987--88 orbited a new generation of nuclear power systems beyond the, thermoelectric plants on the RORSAT satellites. The US has continued to advance its own thermionic fuel element development, concentrating on a multicell fuel element configuration. Experimental work has demonstrated a single cell operating time of about 1 1/2-y. Technology advances have also been made in the Stirling engine; an advanced engine that operates at 1,050 K is ready for testing. Additional concepts have been studied and experiments have been performed on a variety of systems to meet changing needs; such as powers of tens-to-hundreds of megawatts and highly survivable systems of tens-of-kilowatts power.

  4. Direct Energy Conversion for Fast Reactors

    SciTech Connect

    Brown, N.; Cooper, J.; Vogt, D.; Chapline, G.; Turchi, P.; Barbee Jr., T.; Farmer, J.

    2000-07-01

    Thermoelectric generators (TEG) are a well-established technology for compact low power output long-life applications. Solid state TEGs are the technology of choice for many space missions and have also been used in remote earth-based applications. Since TEGs have no moving parts and can be hermetically sealed, there is the potential for nuclear reactor power systems using TEGs to be safe, reliable and resistant to proliferation. Such power units would be constructed in a manner that would provide decades of maintenance-free operation, thereby minimizing the possibility of compromising the system during routine maintenance operations. It should be possible to construct an efficient direct energy conversion cascade from an appropriate combination of solid-state thermoelectric generators, with each stage in the cascade optimized for a particular range of temperature. Performance of cascaded thermoelectric devices could be further enhanced by exploitation of compositionally graded p-n couples, as well as radial elements to maximize utilization of the heat flux. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena has recently reported segmented unicouples that operate between 300 and 975 K and have conversion efficiencies of 15 percent [Caillat, 2000]. TEGs are used in nuclear-fueled power sources for space exploration, in power sources for the military, and in electrical generators on diesel engines. Second, there is a wide variety of TE materials applicable to a broad range of temperatures. New materials may lead to new TEG designs with improved thermoelectric properties (i.e. ZT approaching 3) and significantly higher efficiencies than in designs using currently available materials. Computational materials science (CMS) has made sufficient progress and there is promise for using these techniques to reduce the time and cost requirements to develop such new TE material combinations. Recent advances in CMS, coupled with increased computational power afforded by the Accelerated

  5. Direct Energy Conversion for Fast Reactors

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Brown, N. W.; Vogt, D.; Cooper, J.; Chapline, G.; Turchi, P.

    2000-07-01

    Thermoelectric generators (TEG) are a well-established technology for compact low power output long-life applications. Solid state TEGs are the technology of choice for many space missions and remote earth-based applications. Use of solid state TEGs in these applications requires engineering designs that minimize the weight and volume of the device. Thermal to electric conversion efficiency, while an important design consideration, is not the principal design factor. However, design of a TEG for a fast reactor nuclear power plant requires higher thermal efficiencies in order to achieve competitive power generation costs.

  6. A thermoelectric heat engine with ultracold atoms.

    PubMed

    Brantut, Jean-Philippe; Grenier, Charles; Meineke, Jakob; Stadler, David; Krinner, Sebastian; Kollath, Corinna; Esslinger, Tilman; Georges, Antoine

    2013-11-01

    Thermoelectric effects, such as the generation of a particle current by a temperature gradient, have their origin in a reversible coupling between heat and particle flows. These effects are fundamental probes for materials and have applications to cooling and power generation. Here, we demonstrate thermoelectricity in a fermionic cold atoms channel in the ballistic and diffusive regimes, connected to two reservoirs. We show that the magnitude of the effect and the efficiency of energy conversion can be optimized by controlling the geometry or disorder strength. Our observations are in quantitative agreement with a theoretical model based on the Landauer-Büttiker formalism. Our device provides a controllable model system to explore mechanisms of energy conversion and realizes a cold atom-based heat engine. PMID:24158905

  7. Thermoelectric Phenomena, Materials, Devices, and Applications

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Toberer, Eric

    2013-03-01

    Thermoelectric materials, which can generate electricity from waste heat or be used as solid-state Peltier coolers, could play an important role in a global sustainable energy solution. However, advanced materials with improved conversion efficiency are required for widespread implementation. Improving thermoelectric efficiency requires reconciling competing electronic and thermal transport properties - a material must have both a large carrier effective mass and mobility and low lattice thermal conductivity. Historically, this has been achieved through engineering carrier scattering rates. This talk will focus on new approaches that achieve these conflicting properties through modifications of the electron and phonon band structures. Example materials such as Yb14MnSb11 and Ba8Ga16Ge30 will be discussed and pathways towards further material improvements will be highlighted. Such tailored control of transport properties will be vital to realize the next generation of energy materials.

  8. Semiconductor Thermoelectric Converters of Alternating Current Signals

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Anatychuk, L. I.; Bodnaruk, V. I.; Taschuk, D. D.

    2011-05-01

    Measuring converters have been developed based on Bi2Te3 solid solutions optimized for temperature and temporal stability of the basic thermoelectric parameters (thermal conductivity, electrical conductivity, and the Seebeck coefficient). Semiconductor material was grown by the vertical zone melting method. High efficiency of the optimized semiconductor materials made it possible to reduce the operating temperature considerably, as well as facilitating selection of structural materials and the converter fabrication technique. The influence of the Peltier and Thomson effects on the accuracy of direct current conversion has been reduced, and the operating frequency range of measurements has been expanded. Thermoelectric converters with sensitivity up to 30 V W-1 have been created without evacuation of the working space, which is filled with an inert gas mixture. The engineered converters offer the advantages of high sensitivity and a wide operating frequency range (up to 30 MHz).

  9. Density-functional theory of thermoelectric phenomena.

    PubMed

    Eich, F G; Di Ventra, M; Vignale, G

    2014-05-16

    We introduce a nonequilibrium density-functional theory of local temperature and associated local energy density that is suited for the study of thermoelectric phenomena. The theory rests on a local temperature field coupled to the energy-density operator. We identify the excess-energy density, in addition to the particle density, as the basic variable, which is reproduced by an effective noninteracting Kohn-Sham system. A novel Kohn-Sham equation emerges featuring a time-dependent and spatially varying mass which represents local temperature variations. The adiabatic contribution to the Kohn-Sham potentials is related to the entropy viewed as a functional of the particle and energy density. Dissipation can be taken into account by employing linear response theory and the thermoelectric transport coefficients of the electron gas.

  10. Planar Thermoelectric Microgenerators Based on Silicon Nanowires

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dávila, D.; Tarancón, A.; Kendig, D.; Fernández-Regúlez, M.; Sabaté, N.; Salleras, M.; Calaza, C.; Cané, C.; Gràcia, I.; Figueras, E.; Santander, J.; San Paulo, A.; Shakouri, A.; Fonseca, L.

    2011-05-01

    Silicon nanowires have been implemented in microfabricated structures to develop planar thermoelectric microgenerators ( μTEGs) monolithically integrated in silicon to convert heat flow from thermal gradients naturally present in the environment into electrical energy. The compatibility of typical microfabrication technologies and the vapor-liquid-solid (VLS) mechanism employed for silicon nanowire growth has been evaluated. Low-thermal-mass suspended structures have been designed, simulated, and microfabricated on silicon-on-insulator substrates to passively generate thermal gradients and operate as microgenerators using silicon nanowires as thermoelectric material. Both electrical measurements to evaluate the connectivity of the nanowires and thermoreflectance imaging to determine the heat transfer along the device have been employed.

  11. Enclosure for thermoelectric refrigerator and method

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Park, Brian V. (Inventor); McGrath, Ralph D. (Inventor)

    1997-01-01

    An enclosed structure is provided for use with a refrigerator having a door assembly. The enclosed structure preferably contains superinsulation materials and a plurality of matching drawers. The enclosed structure preferably includes corner joints which minimize thermal energy transfer between adjacent superinsulation panels. The refrigerator may include a cooling system having a thermoelectric device for maintaining the temperature within the refrigerator at selected values. If desired, a fluid cooling system and an active gasket may also be provided between the door assembly and the enclosed structure. The fluid cooling system preferably includes a second thermoelectric device to maintain the temperature of fluid flowing through the active gasket at a selected value. The drawers associated with the refrigerator may be used for gathering, processing, shipping and storing food or other perishable items.

  12. Thermoelectric integrated membrane evaporation water recovery technology

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Roebelen, G. J., Jr.; Winkler, H. E.; Dehner, G. F.

    1982-01-01

    The recently developed Thermoelectric Integrated Membrane Evaporation Subsystem (TIMES) offers a highly competitive approach to water recovery from waste fluids for future on-orbit stations such as the Space Operations Center. Low power, compactness and gravity insensitive operation are featured in this vacuum distillation subsystem that combines a hollow fiber membrane evaporator with a thermoelectric heat pump. The hollow fiber elements provide positive liquid/gas phase control with no moving parts other than pumps and an accumulator, thus solving problems inherent in other reclamation subsystem designs. In an extensive test program, over 850 hours of operation were accumulated during which time high quality product water was recovered from both urine and wash water at an average steady state production rate of 2.2 pounds per hour.

  13. Nanocomposites with High Thermoelectric Figures of Merit

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Chen, Gang (Inventor); Dresselhaus, Mildred (Inventor); Ren, Zhifeng (Inventor)

    2015-01-01

    The present invention is generally directed to nanocomposite thermoelectric materials that exhibit enhanced thermoelectric properties. The nanocomposite materials include two or more components, with at least one of the components forming nano-sized structures within the composite material. The components are chosen such that thermal conductivity of the composite is decreased without substantially diminishing the composite's electrical conductivity. Suitable component materials exhibit similar electronic band structures. For example, a band-edge gap between at least one of a conduction band or a valence band of one component material and a corresponding band of the other component material at interfaces between the components can be less than about 5k(sub B)T, wherein k(sub B) is the Boltzman constant and T is an average temperature of said nanocomposite composition.

  14. Nanocomposites with high thermoelectric figures of merit

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Chen, Gang (Inventor); Ren, Zhifeng (Inventor); Dresselhaus, Mildred (Inventor)

    2008-01-01

    The present invention is generally directed to nanocomposite thermoelectric materials that exhibit enhanced thermoelectric properties. The nanocomposite materials include two or more components, with at least one of the components forming nano-sized structures within the composite material. The components are chosen such that thermal conductivity of the composite is decreased without substantially diminishing the composite's electrical conductivity. Suitable component materials exhibit similar electronic band structures. For example, a band-edge gap between at least one of a conduction band or a valence band of one component material and a corresponding band of the other component material at interfaces between the components can be less than about 5k.sub.BT, wherein k.sub.B is the Boltzman constant and T is an average temperature of said nanocomposite composition.

  15. Nanocomposites with high thermoelectric figures of merit

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Chen, Gang (Inventor); Dresselhaus, Mildred (Inventor); Ren, Zhifeng (Inventor)

    2012-01-01

    The present invention is generally directed to nanocomposite thermoelectric materials that exhibit enhanced thermoelectric properties. The nanocomposite materials include two or more components, with at least one of the components forming nano-sized structures within the composite material. The components are chosen such that thermal conductivity of the composite is decreased without substantially diminishing the composite's electrical conductivity. Suitable component materials exhibit similar electronic band structures. For example, a band-edge gap between at least one of a conduction band or a valence band of one component material and a corresponding band of the other component material at interfaces between the components can be less than about 5k.sub.BT, wherein k.sub.B is the Boltzman constant and T is an average temperature of said nanocomposite composition.

  16. High Throughput Screening Tools for Thermoelectric Materials

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wong-Ng, W.; Yan, Y.; Otani, M.; Martin, J.; Talley, K. R.; Barron, S.; Carroll, D. L.; Hewitt, C.; Joress, H.; Thomas, E. L.; Green, M. L.; Tang, X. F.

    2015-06-01

    A suite of complementary high-throughput screening systems for combinatorial films was developed at National Institute of Standards and Technology to facilitate the search for efficient thermoelectric materials. These custom-designed capabilities include a facility for combinatorial thin film synthesis and a suite of tools for screening the Seebeck coefficient, electrical resistance (electrical resistivity), and thermal effusivity (thermal conductivity) of these films. The Seebeck coefficient and resistance are measured via custom-built automated apparatus at both ambient and high temperatures. Thermal effusivity is measured using a frequency domain thermoreflectance technique. This paper will discuss applications using these tools on representative thermoelectric materials, including combinatorial composition-spread films, conventional films, single crystals, and ribbons.

  17. Nanocrystalline silicon thin films for thermoelectric applications

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Queen, Daniel; Jugdersuren, Battogtokh; Culberston, Jim; Wang, Qi; Nemeth, William; Metcalf, Tom; Liu, Xiao

    2014-03-01

    Recent advances in thermoelectric materials have come from reductions in thermal conductivity by manipulating both chemical composition and nanostructure to limit the phonon mean free path. However, wide spread applications for some of these materials may be limited due to high raw material and integration costs. In this talk we will discuss our recent results on nanocrystalline silicon thin films deposited by both hot-wire and plasma enhanced chemical vapor deposition where the nanocrystal size and crystalline volume fraction are varied by dilution of the silane precursor gas with hydrogen. Nanocyrstalline silicon is an established material technology used in multijunction amorphous silicon solar cells and has the potential to be a low cost and scalable material for use in thermoelectric devices. This work supported by the Office of Naval Research and the National Research Council.

  18. Synthesis and evaluation of thermoelectric multilayer films

    SciTech Connect

    Wagner, A.V.; Foreman, R.J.; Summers, L.J.; Barbee, T.W. Jr.; Farmer, J.C.

    1996-03-21

    The deposition of compositionally modulated (Bi{sub 1-x}Sb{sub x}){sub 2}(Te{sub 1-y}Se{sub y}){sub 3} thermoelectric multilayer films by magnetron sputtering has been demonstrated. Structures with a period of 140{Angstrom} are shown to be stable to interdiffusion at the high deposition temperatures necessary for growth of single layer crystalline films with ZT {gt} 0.5. These multilayers are of the correct dimension to exhibit the electronic properties of quantum well structures. Furthermore it is shown that the Seebeck coefficient of the films is not degraded by the presence of this multilayer structure. It may be possible to synthesize a multilayer thermoelectric material with enhanced ZT by maximizing the barrier height through optimization of the composition of the barrier.

  19. Nanostructured Oxides and Sulfides for Thermoelectrics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Koumoto, Kunihito

    2011-03-01

    Thermoelectric power generation can be applied to various heat sources, both waste heat and renewable energy, to harvest electricity. Even though each heat source is of a small scale, it would lead to a great deal of energy saving if they are combined and collected, and it would greatly contribute to reducing carbon dioxide emission. We have been engaged in developing novel thermoelectric materials to be used for energy saving and environmental protection and are currently developing nanostructured ceramics for thermoelectric conversion. We have demonstrated a quantum confinement effect giving rise to two dimensional electron gas (2DEG) in a 2D superlattice, STO/STO:Nb (STO: strontium titanate), which could generate giant thermopower while keeping high electrical conductivity. One unit-cell thick Nb-doped well layer was estimated to show ZT=2.4 at 300K. Then, a ``synergistic nanostructuring'' concept incorporating 2DEG grain boundaries as well as nanosizing of grains has been applied to our STO material and 3D superlattice ceramics was designed and proposed. It was verified by numerical simulation that this 3D superlattice ceramics should be capable of showing ZT=1.0 at 300K which is comparable to or even higher than that of conventional bismuth telluride-based thermoelectrics. We have recently proposed titanium disulfide-based misfit-layered compounds as novel TE materials. Insertion of misfit-layers into the van der Waals gaps in layer-structured titanium disulfide thus forming a natural superlattice gives rise to internal nanointerfaces and dramatically reduces its lattice thermal conductivity. ZT value reaches 0.37 at 673 K even without optimization of electronic properties. Our challenge to further increase ZT by controlling their electronic system and superlattice structures will be presented.

  20. Thermoelectric thin film thermal coating systems

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Harpster, J. W.; Bulman, W. E.; Middleton, A. E.; Swinehart, P. R.; Braun, F. D.

    1973-01-01

    Derivation of the fluid loop temperature profile for a model with thermoelectric devices (TED) attached is developed as a function of position, incident radiation intensity, input fluid loop temperature and TED current. The associated temperature of the radiator is also developed so that the temperature difference across the TED can be determined for each position. The temperature difference is used in determining optimum operating conditions and available generated electrical power.

  1. Focus on thermoelectric effects in nanostructures

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sánchez, David; Linke, Heiner

    2014-11-01

    The field of nanoscale thermoelectrics began with a clear motivation for better performances of waste heat recovery processes by lowering the system dimensionality. Although this original inspiration still drives many recent developments, the field has also evolved to address fundamental questions on charge and energy transport across quantum conductors in the presence of both voltage and temperature differences. This ‘focus on’ collection provides new perspectives in the field and reports on the latest developments, both theoretically and experimentally.

  2. Xenon Filled Silicon Germanium Thermoelectric Generators

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Dewinter, F.

    1972-01-01

    An analysis is presented that shows the desirability and feasibility of using a xenon fill in the initial stages of operation of a silicon-germanium radioisotope thermoelectric generator to be used in outer-planetary exploration. The xenon cover gas offers protection against oxidation and against material sublimation, and allows the generator to deliver required power throughout the prelaunch and launch phases. The protective mechanisms afforded by the xenon cover gas and the mechanization of a xenon supply system are also discussed.

  3. Thermoelectric transport in quantum well superlattices

    SciTech Connect

    Broido, D.A.; Reinecke, T.L.

    1997-05-01

    A full theory of thermoelectric transport in superlattices, including the well width and energy dependence of the optical and acoustic phonon scattering and the effects of confinement in raising valley degeneracy is developed. It is shown that these features result in qualitatively significant modifications in the predicted figure of merit of superlattice systems. Results are given for PbTe superlattices, and comments are made on recent experimental results for such systems. {copyright} {ital 1997 American Institute of Physics.}

  4. Revisiting Feynman's ratchet with thermoelectric transport theory.

    PubMed

    Apertet, Y; Ouerdane, H; Goupil, C; Lecoeur, Ph

    2014-07-01

    We show how the formalism used for thermoelectric transport may be adapted to Smoluchowski's seminal thought experiment, also known as Feynman's ratchet and pawl system. Our analysis rests on the notion of useful flux, which for a thermoelectric system is the electrical current and for Feynman's ratchet is the effective jump frequency. Our approach yields original insight into the derivation and analysis of the system's properties. In particular we define an entropy per tooth in analogy with the entropy per carrier or Seebeck coefficient, and we derive the analog to Kelvin's second relation for Feynman's ratchet. Owing to the formal similarity between the heat fluxes balance equations for a thermoelectric generator (TEG) and those for Feynman's ratchet, we introduce a distribution parameter γ that quantifies the amount of heat that flows through the cold and hot sides of both heat engines. While it is well established that γ = 1/2 for a TEG, it is equal to 1 for Feynman's ratchet. This implies that no heat may be rejected in the cold reservoir for the latter case. Further, the analysis of the efficiency at maximum power shows that the so-called Feynman efficiency corresponds to that of an exoreversible engine, with γ = 1. Then, turning to the nonlinear regime, we generalize the approach based on the convection picture and introduce two different types of resistance to distinguish the dynamical behavior of the considered system from its ability to dissipate energy. We finally put forth the strong similarity between the original Feynman ratchet and a mesoscopic thermoelectric generator with a single conducting channel.

  5. Advanced Radioisotope Power Systems Segmented Thermoelectric Research

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Caillat, Thierry

    2004-01-01

    Flight times are long; - Need power systems with >15 years life. Mass is at an absolute premium; - Need power systems with high specific power and scalability. 3 orders of magnitude reduction in solar irradiance from Earth to Pluto. Nuclear power sources preferable. The Overall objective is to develop low mass, high efficiency, low-cost Advanced Radioisotope Power System with double the Specific Power and Efficiency over state-of-the-art Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generators (RTGs).

  6. Revisiting Feynman's ratchet with thermoelectric transport theory.

    PubMed

    Apertet, Y; Ouerdane, H; Goupil, C; Lecoeur, Ph

    2014-07-01

    We show how the formalism used for thermoelectric transport may be adapted to Smoluchowski's seminal thought experiment, also known as Feynman's ratchet and pawl system. Our analysis rests on the notion of useful flux, which for a thermoelectric system is the electrical current and for Feynman's ratchet is the effective jump frequency. Our approach yields original insight into the derivation and analysis of the system's properties. In particular we define an entropy per tooth in analogy with the entropy per carrier or Seebeck coefficient, and we derive the analog to Kelvin's second relation for Feynman's ratchet. Owing to the formal similarity between the heat fluxes balance equations for a thermoelectric generator (TEG) and those for Feynman's ratchet, we introduce a distribution parameter γ that quantifies the amount of heat that flows through the cold and hot sides of both heat engines. While it is well established that γ = 1/2 for a TEG, it is equal to 1 for Feynman's ratchet. This implies that no heat may be rejected in the cold reservoir for the latter case. Further, the analysis of the efficiency at maximum power shows that the so-called Feynman efficiency corresponds to that of an exoreversible engine, with γ = 1. Then, turning to the nonlinear regime, we generalize the approach based on the convection picture and introduce two different types of resistance to distinguish the dynamical behavior of the considered system from its ability to dissipate energy. We finally put forth the strong similarity between the original Feynman ratchet and a mesoscopic thermoelectric generator with a single conducting channel. PMID:25122257

  7. Space reactors. Progress report, October 1981-March 1982

    SciTech Connect

    Ranken, W.A.

    1983-01-01

    Progress in design studies and technology for the SP-100 Project - successor to the Space Power Advanced Reactor (SPAR) Project - is reported for the period October 1, 1981 to March 31, 1982. The basis for selecting a high-temperature, UO/sub 2/-fueled, heat-pipe-cooled reactor with a thermoelectric conversion system as the 100-kW/sub e/ reference design has been reviewed. Although no change has been made in the general concept, design studies have been done to investigate various reactor/conversion system coupling methods and core design modifications. Thermal and mechanical finite element modeling and three-dimensional Monte Carlo analysis of a core with individual finned fuel elements are reported. Studies of unrestrained fuel irradiation data are discussed that are relevant both to the core modeling work and to the design and fabrication of the first in-pile irradiation test, which is also reported. Work on lithium-filled core heat pipe development is described, including the attainment of 15.6 kW/sub t/ operation at 1525 K for a 2-m-long heat pipe with a 15.7-mm outside diameter. The successful operation of a 5.5-m-long, lightweight potassium/titanium heat pipe at 760 K is described, and test results of a thermoelectric module with GaP-modified SiGe thermoelectric elements are presented.

  8. Hybrid thermoelectric solar collector design and analysis

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Roberts, A. S., Jr.; Shaheen, K. E.

    1982-01-01

    A flat-plate solar collector is conceived where energy cascades through thermoelectric power modules generating direct-current electricity. The intent of this work was to choose a collector configuration and to perform a steady-state thermal performance assessment. A set of energy balance equations were written and solved numerically for the purpose of optimizing collector thermal and electrical performance. The collector design involves finned columns of thermoelectric modules imbedded in the absorber plate (hot junction) over a parallel array of vertical tubes. The thermoelectric power output is limited by the small hot-junction/cold-junction temperature difference which can be maintained under steady-state conditions. The electric power per unit tube pass area is found to have a maximum as a function of a geometric parameter, while electric power is maximized with respect to an electric resistance ratio. Although the electric power efficiency is small, results indicate that there is sufficient electric power production to drive a coolant circulator, suggesting the potential for a stand-alone system.

  9. Spin-crossover molecule based thermoelectric junction

    SciTech Connect

    Ghosh, Dibyajyoti; Parida, Prakash; Pati, Swapan K.

    2015-05-11

    Using ab-initio numerical methods, we explore the spin-dependent transport and thermoelectric properties of a spin-crossover molecule (i.e., iron complex of 2-(1H-pyrazol-1-yl)-6-(1H-tetrazole-5-yl)pyridine) based nano-junction. We demonstrate a large magnetoresistance, efficient conductance-switching, and spin-filter activity in this molecule-based two-terminal device. The spin-crossover process also modulates the thermoelectric entities. It can efficiently switch the magnitude as well as spin-polarization of the thermocurrent. We find that thermocurrent is changed by ∼4 orders of magnitude upon spin-crossover. Moreover, it also substantially affects the thermopower and consequently, the device shows extremely efficient spin-crossover magnetothermopower generation. Furthermore, by tuning the chemical potential of electrodes into a certain range, a pure spin-thermopower can be achieved for the high-spin state. Finally, the reasonably large values of figure-of-merit in the presence and absence of phonon demonstrate a large heat-to-voltage conversion efficiency of the device. We believe that our study will pave an alternative way of tuning the transport and thermoelectric properties through the spin-crossover process and can have potential applications in generation of spin-dependent current, information storage, and processing.

  10. Efficiency of Thermionic and Thermoelectric Converters

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gerstenmaier, York Christian; Wachutka, Gerhard

    2007-02-01

    Thermoelectric and thermionic converters — also in micro- and nano-meter design — are considered for power generation and cooling applications. The potential of thermionic vacuum gap converters is investigated precisely by a new advanced theory with inclusion of backward currents from the 2nd electrode, losses due to thermal radiation and ohmic resistance in the electrodes, tunneling through the gap, image forces, and space charge effects. The efficiency of nano-meter gap thermionic converters is by far higher than for thermoelectric devices (including nano-structured superlattices) for operating temperatures above 800°K, however, there is no chance of realization with today's technology. For a vacuum gap width of about 1 μm the performance is higher than for hypothetical bulk- thermoelectric generators (TEGs) with ZT = 1 for T > 1000°K and also higher than for hypothetical nano-structured superlattices (ZT = 2.4) for T > 1200°K. A thermionic converter with gap width of 5μm has lower performance than a TEG with ZT = 1, however, also operates at T > 1200°K. Reasonable performance of thermionic converters at T ⩽ 500°K necessitates materials with workfunctions ⩽ 0.5 eV.

  11. Special Application Thermoelectric Micro Isotope Power Sources

    SciTech Connect

    Heshmatpour, Ben; Lieberman, Al; Khayat, Mo; Leanna, Andrew; Dobry, Ted

    2008-01-21

    Promising design concepts for milliwatt (mW) size micro isotope power sources (MIPS) are being sought for use in various space and terrestrial applications, including a multitude of future NASA scientific missions and a range of military applications. To date, the radioisotope power sources (RPS) used on various space and terrestrial programs have provided power levels ranging from one-half to several hundred watts. In recent years, the increased use of smaller spacecraft and planned new scientific space missions by NASA, special terrestrial and military applications suggest the need for lower power, including mW level, radioisotope power sources. These power sources have the potential to enable such applications as long-lived meteorological or seismological stations distributed across planetary surfaces, surface probes, deep space micro-spacecraft and sub-satellites, terrestrial sensors, transmitters, and micro-electromechanical systems. The power requirements are in the range of 1 mW to several hundred mW. The primary technical requirements for space applications are long life, high reliability, high specific power, and high power density, and those for some special military uses are very high power density, specific power, reliability, low radiological induced degradation, and very low radiation leakage. Thermoelectric conversion is of particular interest because of its technological maturity and proven reliability. This paper summarizes the thermoelectric, thermal, and radioisotope heat source designs and presents the corresponding performance for a number of mW size thermoelectric micro isotope power sources.

  12. Thermal and thermoelectric properties of graphene.

    PubMed

    Xu, Yong; Li, Zuanyi; Duan, Wenhui

    2014-06-12

    The subject of thermal transport at the mesoscopic scale and in low-dimensional systems is interesting for both fundamental research and practical applications. As the first example of truly two-dimensional materials, graphene has exceptionally high thermal conductivity, and thus provides an ideal platform for the research. Here we review recent studies on thermal and thermoelectric properties of graphene, with an emphasis on experimental progresses. A general physical picture based on the Landauer transport formalism is introduced to understand underlying mechanisms. We show that the superior thermal conductivity of graphene is contributed not only by large ballistic thermal conductance but also by very long phonon mean free path (MFP). The long phonon MFP, explained by the low-dimensional nature and high sample purity of graphene, results in important isotope effects and size effects on thermal conduction. In terms of various scattering mechanisms in graphene, several approaches are suggested to control thermal conductivity. Among them, introducing rough boundaries and weakly-coupled interfaces are promising ways to suppress thermal conduction effectively. We also discuss the Seebeck effect of graphene. Graphene itself might not be a good thermoelectric material. However, the concepts developed by graphene research might be applied to improve thermoelectric performance of other materials. PMID:24610791

  13. Performance evaluation of an automotive thermoelectric generator

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dubitsky, Andrei O.

    Around 40% of the total fuel energy in typical internal combustion engines (ICEs) is rejected to the environment in the form of exhaust gas waste heat. Efficient recovery of this waste heat in automobiles can promise a fuel economy improvement of 5%. The thermal energy can be harvested through thermoelectric generators (TEGs) utilizing the Seebeck effect. In the present work, a versatile test bench has been designed and built in order to simulate conditions found on test vehicles. This allows experimental performance evaluation and model validation of automotive thermoelectric generators. An electrically heated exhaust gas circuit and a circulator based coolant loop enable integrated system testing of hot and cold side heat exchangers, thermoelectric modules (TEMs), and thermal interface materials at various scales. A transient thermal model of the coolant loop was created in order to design a system which can maintain constant coolant temperature under variable heat input. Additionally, as electrical heaters cannot match the transient response of an ICE, modelling was completed in order to design a relaxed exhaust flow and temperature history utilizing the system thermal lag. This profile reduced required heating power and gas flow rates by over 50%. The test bench was used to evaluate a DOE/GM initial prototype automotive TEG and validate analytical performance models. The maximum electrical power generation was found to be 54 W with a thermal conversion efficiency of 1.8%. It has been found that thermal interface management is critical for achieving maximum system performance, with novel designs being considered for further improvement.

  14. Scalable Silicon Nanostructuring for Thermoelectric Applications

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Koukharenko, E.; Boden, S. A.; Platzek, D.; Bagnall, D. M.; White, N. M.

    2013-07-01

    The current limitations of commercially available thermoelectric (TE) generators include their incompatibility with human body applications due to the toxicity of commonly used alloys and possible future shortage of raw materials (Bi-Sb-Te and Se). In this respect, exploiting silicon as an environmentally friendly candidate for thermoelectric applications is a promising alternative since it is an abundant, ecofriendly semiconductor for which there already exists an infrastructure for low-cost and high-yield processing. Contrary to the existing approaches, where n/ p-legs were either heavily doped to an optimal carrier concentration of 1019 cm-3 or morphologically modified by increasing their roughness, in this work improved thermoelectric performance was achieved in smooth silicon nanostructures with low doping concentration (1.5 × 1015 cm-3). Scalable, highly reproducible e-beam lithographies, which are compatible with nanoimprint and followed by deep reactive-ion etching (DRIE), were employed to produce arrays of regularly spaced nanopillars of 400 nm height with diameters varying from 140 nm to 300 nm. A potential Seebeck microprobe (PSM) was used to measure the Seebeck coefficients of such nanostructures. This resulted in values ranging from -75 μV/K to -120 μV/K for n-type and 100 μV/K to 140 μV/K for p-type, which are significant improvements over previously reported data.

  15. Tunable thermoelectric properties in bended graphene nanoribbons

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Chang-Ning, Pan; Jun, He; Mao-Fa, Fang

    2016-07-01

    The ballistic thermoelectric properties in bended graphene nanoribbons (GNRs) are systematically investigated by using atomistic simulation of electron and phonon transport. We find that the electron resonant tunneling effect occurs in the metallic-semiconducting linked ZZ-GNRs (the bended GNRs with zigzag edge leads). The electron-wave quantum interference effect occurs in the metallic-metallic linked AA-GNRs (the bended GNRs with armchair edge leads). These different physical mechanisms lead to the large Seebeck coefficient S and high electron conductance in bended ZZ-GNRs/AA-GNRs. Combined with the reduced lattice thermal conduction, the significant enhancement of the figure of merit ZT is predicted. Moreover, we find that the ZTmax (the maximum peak of ZT) is sensitive to the structural parameters. It can be conveniently tuned by changing the interbend length of bended GNRs. The magnitude of ZT ranges from the 0.15 to 0.72. Geometry-controlled ballistic thermoelectric effect offers an effective way to design thermoelectric devices such as thermocouples based on graphene. Project supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 61401153) and the Natural Science Foundation of Hunan Province, China (Grant Nos. 2015JJ2050 and 14JJ3126).

  16. Design and development of thermoelectric generator

    SciTech Connect

    Prem Kumar, D. S. Mahajan, Ishan Vardhan Anbalagan, R. Mallik, Ramesh Chandra

    2014-04-24

    In this paper we discuss the fabrication, working and characteristics of a thermoelectric generator made up of p and n type semiconductor materials. The device consists of Fe{sub 0.2}Co{sub 3.8}Sb{sub 11.5}Te{sub 0.5} (zT = 1.04 at 818 K) as the n-type and Zn4Sb3 (zT=0.8 at 550 K) as the p-type material synthesized by vacuum hot press method. Carbon paste has been used to join the semiconductor legs to metal (Molybdenum) electrodes to reduce the contact resistance. The multi-couple (4 legs) generator results a maximum output power of 1.083 mW at a temperature difference of 240 K between the hot and cold sides. In this investigation, an I-V characteristic, maximum output power of the thermoelectric module is presented. The efficiency of thermoelectric module is obtained as η = 0.273 %.

  17. System statistical reliability model and analysis

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Lekach, V. S.; Rood, H.

    1973-01-01

    A digital computer code was developed to simulate the time-dependent behavior of the 5-kwe reactor thermoelectric system. The code was used to determine lifetime sensitivity coefficients for a number of system design parameters, such as thermoelectric module efficiency and degradation rate, radiator absorptivity and emissivity, fuel element barrier defect constant, beginning-of-life reactivity, etc. A probability distribution (mean and standard deviation) was estimated for each of these design parameters. Then, error analysis was used to obtain a probability distribution for the system lifetime (mean = 7.7 years, standard deviation = 1.1 years). From this, the probability that the system will achieve the design goal of 5 years lifetime is 0.993. This value represents an estimate of the degradation reliability of the system.

  18. Thermoelectric Development at Hi-Z Technology

    SciTech Connect

    Kushch, Aleksandr

    2001-08-05

    An improved Thermoelectric Generator (TEG) for the Heavy Duty Class Eight Diesel Trucks is under development at Hi-Z Technology. The current TEG is equipped with the improved HZ-14 Thermoelectric module, which features better mechanical properties as well as higher electric power output. Also, the modules are held in place more securely. The TEG is comprised of 72 TE modules, which are capable of producing 1kW of electrical power at 30 V DC during nominal engine operation. Currently the upgraded generator has completed testing in a test cell and starting from August 2001 will be tested on a Diesel truck under typical road and environmental conditions. It is expected that the TEG will be able to supplement the existing shaft driven alternator, resulting in significant fuel saving, generating additional power required by the truck's accessories. The electronic and thermal properties of bulk materials are altered when they are incorporated into quantum wells. Two-dimensional quantum wells have been synthesized by alternating layers of B4C and B9C in one system and alternating layers of Si and Si0.8Ge0.2 in another system. Such nanostructures are being investigated as candidate thermoelectric materials with high figures of merit (Z). The predicted enhancement is attributed to the confined motion of charge carriers and phonons in the two dimensions and separating them from the ion scattering centers. Multilayer quantum well materials development continues with the fabrication of thicker films, evaluation of various substrates to minimize bypass heat loss, and bonding techniques to minimize high contact resistance. Quantum well thermoelectric devices with N-type Si/Si0.8Ge0.2 and P-type B4C/B9C have been fabricated from these films. The test results generated continue to indicate that much higher thermoelectric efficiencies can be achieved in the quantum wells compared to the bulk

  19. New materials and devices for thermoelectric applications

    SciTech Connect

    Fleurial, J.P.; Borshchevsky, A.; Caillat, T.; Ewell, R.

    1997-12-31

    The development of new, more efficient materials and devices is the key to expanding the range of application of thermoelectric generators and coolers. In the last couple of years, efforts to discover breakthrough thermoelectric materials have intensified, in particular in the US. Recent results on novel materials have already demonstrated that dimensionless figure of merit ZT values 40 to 50% larger than 1.0, the current limit, could be obtained in the 475 to 950 K temperature range. New terrestrial power generation applications have been recently described in the literature. There exists a wide range of heat source temperatures for these applications, from low grade waste heat, at 325--350 K, up to 850 to 1,100 K, such as in the heat recovery from a processing plant of combustible solid waste. The automobile industry has also recently developed a strong interest in a waste exhaust heat recovery power source operating in the 375--750 K temperature range to supplement or replace the alternator and thus decrease fuel consumption. Based on results achieved to date at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) on novel materials, the performance of an advanced segmented generator design operating in a large 300--945 K temperature gradient is predicted to achieve about 15% conversion efficiency. This would be a very substantial improvement over state-of-the-art (SOA) thermoelectric power converters. Such a terrestrial power generator could be using waste heat or liquid fuels as a heat source. High performance radioisotope generators (RTG) are still of interest for deep space missions but the shift towards small, light spacecraft has developed a need for advanced power sources in the watt to milliwatt range. The powerstick concept would provide a study, compact, lightweight and low cost answer to this need. The development of thin film thermoelectric devices also offer attractive possibilities. The combination of semiconductor technology, thermoelectric films and high thermal

  20. NEUTRONIC REACTOR

    DOEpatents

    Fraas, A.P.; Mills, C.B.

    1961-11-21

    A neutronic reactor in which neutron moderation is achieved primarily in its reflector is described. The reactor structure consists of a cylindrical central "island" of moderator and a spherical moderating reflector spaced therefrom, thereby providing an annular space. An essentially unmoderated liquid fuel is continuously passed through the annular space and undergoes fission while contained therein. The reactor, because of its small size, is particularly adapted for propulsion uses, including the propulsion of aircraft. (AEC)

  1. Near-term thermoelectric nuclear power options for SEI missions

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Peterson, Jerry R.

    1992-01-01

    Three different types of thermoelectric nuclear space power systems are discussed. First, the general purpose heat source Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator (RTG), which was qualified and flown on Galileo/Ulysses and is in development for Cassini, is discussed. Second, the modular RTG, which is undergoing life verification, is discussed. Finally, the SP-100 is discussed. The information is presented in viewgraph form.

  2. New Composite Thermoelectric Materials for Macro-size Applications

    ScienceCinema

    Dresselhaus, Mildred [MIT, Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States

    2016-07-12

    A review will be given of several important recent advances in both thermoelectrics research and industrial thermoelectric applications, which have attracted much attention, increasing incentives for developing advanced materials appropriate for large-scale applications of thermoelectric devices. One promising strategy is the development of materials with a dense packing of random nanostructures as a route for the sacle-up of thermoelectrics applications. The concepts involved in designing composite materials containing nanostructures for thermoelectric applications will be discussed in general terms. Specific application is made to the Bi{sub 2}Te{sub 3} nanocomposite system for use in power generation. Also emphasized are the scientific advantages of the nanocomposite approach for the simultaneous increase in the power factor and decrease of the thermal conductivity, along with the practical advantages of having bulk samples for property measurements and device applications. A straightforward path is identified for the scale-up of thermoelectric materials synthesis containing nanostructured constituents for use in thermoelectric applications. We end with some vision of where the field of thermoelectrics is now heading.

  3. [Feasibility of constructing thermoelectric thermoregulatory units for artificial circulation devices].

    PubMed

    Efremov, A A

    1978-01-01

    The prospects for the use of thermoelectric systems to regulate the blood temperature in extracorporeal circulation apparatus are outlined. The temperature and electric conditions in the thermoelectric thermoregulating system were optimized, which enabled extremal values of their basic parameters to be obtained. A conclusion is drawn on the expediency of using these systems for the purpose in view.

  4. Long-term behavior of silicon germanium thermoelectric generators

    SciTech Connect

    Shields, V.

    1981-01-01

    Problems regarding the use of silicon germanium technology for Multi-Hundred Watt (MHW) Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generators (RTG) have been investigated at JPL. The practicability of storage and the subsequent handling of silicon germanium thermoelectric materials for future use has been addressed. 4 refs.

  5. REACTOR COOLING

    DOEpatents

    Quackenbush, C.F.

    1959-09-29

    A nuclear reactor with provisions for selectively cooling the fuel elements is described. The reactor has a plurality of tubes extending throughout. Cylindrical fuel elements are disposed within the tubes and the coolant flows through the tubes and around the fuel elements. The fuel elements within the central portion of the reactor are provided with roughened surfaces of material. The fuel elements in the end portions of the tubes within the reactor are provlded with low conduction jackets and the fuel elements in the region between the central portion and the end portions are provided with smooth surfaces of high heat conduction material.

  6. Half-Heusler thermoelectrics: a complex class of materials.

    PubMed

    Bos, Jan-Willem G; Downie, Ruth A

    2014-10-29

    Half-Heusler thermoelectrics first attracted interest in the late-1990s and are currently undergoing a renaissance. This has been driven by improved synthesis, processing and characterisation methods, leading to increases in the thermoelectric figure of merit and the observation of novel phenomena such as carrier filtering in nanocomposite samples. The difficulty in extracting good thermoelectric performance is at first glance surprising given the relative simplicity of the ideal crystal structure with only site occupancies and lattice parameter as crystallographic variables. However, the observed thermoelectric properties are found to depend sensitively on sample processing. Recent work has shown that prepared ingots can contain a range of inhomogeneities, including interstitials, nano- and micron sized Heusler inclusions and multiple half-Heusler phases. For this reason, the prepared materials are far more complex than initially appreciated and this may offer opportunities to enhance the thermoelectric figure of merit.

  7. Tailored semiconducting carbon nanotube networks with enhanced thermoelectric properties

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Avery, Azure D.; Zhou, Ben H.; Lee, Jounghee; Lee, Eui-Sup; Miller, Elisa M.; Ihly, Rachelle; Wesenberg, Devin; Mistry, Kevin S.; Guillot, Sarah L.; Zink, Barry L.; Kim, Yong-Hyun; Blackburn, Jeffrey L.; Ferguson, Andrew J.

    2016-04-01

    Thermoelectric power generation, allowing recovery of part of the energy wasted as heat, is emerging as an important component of renewable energy and energy efficiency portfolios. Although inorganic semiconductors have traditionally been employed in thermoelectric applications, organic semiconductors garner increasing attention as versatile thermoelectric materials. Here we present a combined theoretical and experimental study suggesting that semiconducting single-walled carbon nanotubes with carefully controlled chirality distribution and carrier density are capable of large thermoelectric power factors, higher than 340 μW m-1 K-2, comparable to the best-performing conducting polymers and larger than previously observed for carbon nanotube films. Furthermore, we demonstrate that phonons are the dominant source of thermal conductivity in the networks, and that our carrier doping process significantly reduces the thermal conductivity relative to undoped networks. These findings provide the scientific underpinning for improved functional organic thermoelectric composites with carbon nanotube inclusions.

  8. Tailored semiconducting carbon nanotube networks with enhanced thermoelectric properties

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Avery, Azure D.; Zhou, Ben H.; Lee, Jounghee; Lee, Eui-Sup; Miller, Elisa M.; Ihly, Rachelle; Wesenberg, Devin; Mistry, Kevin S.; Guillot, Sarah L.; Zink, Barry L.; Kim, Yong-Hyun; Blackburn, Jeffrey L.; Ferguson, Andrew J.

    2016-04-01

    Thermoelectric power generation, allowing recovery of part of the energy wasted as heat, is emerging as an important component of renewable energy and energy efficiency portfolios. Although inorganic semiconductors have traditionally been employed in thermoelectric applications, organic semiconductors garner increasing attention as versatile thermoelectric materials. Here we present a combined theoretical and experimental study suggesting that semiconducting single-walled carbon nanotubes with carefully controlled chirality distribution and carrier density are capable of large thermoelectric power factors, higher than 340 μW m‑1 K‑2, comparable to the best-performing conducting polymers and larger than previously observed for carbon nanotube films. Furthermore, we demonstrate that phonons are the dominant source of thermal conductivity in the networks, and that our carrier doping process significantly reduces the thermal conductivity relative to undoped networks. These findings provide the scientific underpinning for improved functional organic thermoelectric composites with carbon nanotube inclusions.

  9. Tellurium as a high-performance elemental thermoelectric

    PubMed Central

    Lin, Siqi; Li, Wen; Chen, Zhiwei; Shen, Jiawen; Ge, Binghui; Pei, Yanzhong

    2016-01-01

    High-efficiency thermoelectric materials require a high conductivity. It is known that a large number of degenerate band valleys offers many conducting channels for improving the conductivity without detrimental effects on the other properties explicitly, and therefore, increases thermoelectric performance. In addition to the strategy of converging different bands, many semiconductors provide an inherent band nestification, equally enabling a large number of effective band valley degeneracy. Here we show as an example that a simple elemental semiconductor, tellurium, exhibits a high thermoelectric figure of merit of unity, not only demonstrating the concept but also filling up the high performance gap from 300 to 700 K for elemental thermoelectrics. The concept used here should be applicable in general for thermoelectrics with similar band features. PMID:26751919

  10. Development of Thermoelectric Self-Powered Heating Equipment

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Qiu, K.; Hayden, A. C. S.

    2011-05-01

    In this work, a self-powered residential heating system was developed using thermoelectric generation technology. A full-size prototype was designed, constructed, and tested, in which Bi2Te3-based thermoelectric modules were incorporated into a gas-fired heating boiler. Up to 161 W of electricity is generated by the thermoelectric modules. This is sufficient to power all the electrical components of the residential heating equipment including pump, fan, blower, valves, and control panel. In this way, the heating system can operate entirely on fuel combustion and does not need externally generated electricity. The performance of the thermoelectric devices has been investigated in the integrated heating system under various operating conditions. The energy system's advantages include simplicity, low noise, clean operation, and low maintenance. The thermoelectric self-powered heating system could provide the consumer with heating system reliability and a reduction in electric power consumption.

  11. Study of IC Compatible On-Chip Thermoelectric Coolers

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kong, Seong-Ho; Wijngaards, Davey D. L.; Wolffenbuttel, Reinoud F.

    2005-07-01

    A thin-film-based thermoelectric micro-cooler has been studied and realized using the standard integrated circuit (IC) fabrication technology and bulk micromachining technology in sequence. The whole fabrication process is kept IC compatible by postponing potassium hydroxide (KOH) etching step to the last part of the fabrication sequence. Considering the fabrication compatibility, polycrystalline silicon germanium (polySiGe) is chosen as thermoelectric material even though bismuth telluride (Bi2Te3) is one of the most effective thermoelectric materials. The influence of non-idealities on device performance, such as Joule heating due to contact resistance and parasitic heat loss through supporting membrane, is analyzed. The characterized thermoelectric, thermal and electric properties of the fabricated polySiGe thermoelectric material correspond well to those from literatures. Measured cooling performance demonstrates that an on-chip micro-cooler can be applied for thermal stabilization near ambient temperature.

  12. Tailored semiconducting carbon nanotube networks with enhanced thermoelectric properties

    DOE PAGES

    Avery, Azure D.; Zhou, Ben H.; Lee, Jounghee; Lee, Eui -Sup; Miller, Elisa M.; Ihly, Rachelle; Wesenberg, Devin; Mistry, Kevin S.; Guillot, Sarah L.; Zink, Barry L.; et al

    2016-04-04

    Thermoelectric power generation, allowing recovery of part of the energy wasted as heat, is emerging as an important component of renewable energy and energy efficiency portfolios. Although inorganic semiconductors have traditionally been employed in thermoelectric applications, organic semiconductors garner increasing attention as versatile thermoelectric materials. Here we present a combined theoretical and experimental study suggesting that semiconducting single-walled carbon nanotubes with carefully controlled chirality distribution and carrier density are capable of large thermoelectric power factors, higher than 340 μW m-1 K-2, comparable to the best-performing conducting polymers and larger than previously observed for carbon nanotube films. Furthermore, we demonstrate thatmore » phonons are the dominant source of thermal conductivity in the networks, and that our carrier doping process significantly reduces the thermal conductivity relative to undoped networks. As a result, these findings provide the scientific underpinning for improved functional organic thermoelectric composites with carbon nanotube inclusions.« less

  13. The Prevalence of Standard Large Modules in Thermoelectric Applications

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sharp, J.; Bierschenk, J.

    2015-06-01

    The thermoelectric industry serves a broad range of applications using, mainly, a few standard module designs. This paper first briefly describes types of modules and two types of thermoelectric material used by the industry, after which the focus is on selected features of the standard designs and reasons for their prevalence. Whereas cost reduction and the need to maximize reliability drive the adoption of standard modules, other factors contribute to shaping the particular features of the standard thermoelectric cooling modules. These factors include the magnitude of heat loads, heat-sink performance, durability and performance expectations, and relative ease of manufacture. This discussion of the features and prevalence of standard modules relates to broader aspects of both the production and implementation of thermoelectric modules, and an estimate of current thermoelectric industry output is included.

  14. Rare earth-doped materials with enhanced thermoelectric figure of merit

    DOEpatents

    Venkatasubramanian, Rama; Cook, Bruce Allen; Levin, Evgenii M.; Harringa, Joel Lee

    2016-09-06

    A thermoelectric material and a thermoelectric converter using this material. The thermoelectric material has a first component including a semiconductor material and a second component including a rare earth material included in the first component to thereby increase a figure of merit of a composite of the semiconductor material and the rare earth material relative to a figure of merit of the semiconductor material. The thermoelectric converter has a p-type thermoelectric material and a n-type thermoelectric material. At least one of the p-type thermoelectric material and the n-type thermoelectric material includes a rare earth material in at least one of the p-type thermoelectric material or the n-type thermoelectric material.

  15. Optimization of thermoelectric performance in semiconducting polymers for understanding charge transport and flexible thermoelectric applications

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Glaudell, Anne; Chabinyc, Michael

    2014-03-01

    Organic electronic materials have been widely considered for a variety of energy conversion applications, from photovoltaics to LEDs. Only very recently have organic materials been considered for thermoelectric applications - converting between temperature gradients and electrical potential. The intrinsic disorder in semiconducting polymers leads to an inherently low thermal conductivity, a key parameter in thermoelectric performance. The ability to solution deposit on flexible substrates opens up niche applications including personal cooling and conformal devices. Here work is presented on the electrical conductivity and thermopower of thin film semiconducting polymers, including P3HT and PBTTT-C14. Thermoelectric properties are explored over a wide range of conductivities, from nearly insulating to beyond 100 S/cm, enabled by employing different doping mechanisms, including molecular charge-transfer doping with F4TCNQ and vapor doping with a fluoroalkyl trichlorosilane (FTS). Temperature-dependent measurements suggest competing charge transport mechanisms, likely due to the mixed ordered/disordered character of these polymers. These results show promise for organic materials for thermoelectric applications, and recent results on thin film devices will also be presented.

  16. Molten gallium flux synthesis of known thermoelectric and novel magnetic inorganic clathrate compounds: Improving thermoelectric performance

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bryan, John Daniel

    Molten gallium metal has been used as a solvent to grow large single crystals of known inorganic thermoelectric clathrates Sr8Ga 16Ge30, Ba8Ga16Ge30, and Ba8Ga16Si30. X-ray diffraction, thermal analysis, electron microprobe, Glow Discharge Mass Spectrometry, temperature dependent electrical conductivity and Seebeck coefficient measurements characterized the single crystals. The Thermoelectric performance was shown to be heavily dependent on the synthetic conditions including container choice, thermal history and impurity concentration. Inorganic Clathrates have attracted intense interest in last several years as potential new materials for thermoelectric devices. If a small to moderate increase in thermoelectric performance over the currently used materials is realized, substantial environmental and technological gains could be achieved. Since thermoelectric refrigeration modules require no moving parts or heat exchange gas (freon) they offer significant advantages over conventional refrigeration technology that tends to fail due to the finite lifetime of the pumping equipment. High temperature devices are also extremely useful for power generation in harsh unforgiving environments where excess heat is available. The thermoelectric performance, primarily at room temperature, of these compounds was found to be heavily dependent on the synthetic procedures used to obtain them. A flux growth procedure was developed to overcome the problems of the traditional melt-quench-anneal solid-state chemical approach. This procedure yielded large single crystals of the Sr8Ga16Ge 30, Ba8Ga16Ge30 and Ba8Ga 16Si30 compounds which ready facilitated their chemical and electronic study. Finally, an outlook on the application of these compounds as thermoelectric devices is given. Application of the flux method to other systems was also successful in the discovery of two new inorganic clathrate compounds: type IV Eu4Ga 8Ge16 and type V Yb8Ga16Ge14. The Eu4Ga8Ge16 compound was found to

  17. NEUTRONIC REACTOR

    DOEpatents

    Wigner, E.P.

    1958-04-22

    A nuclear reactor for isotope production is described. This reactor is designed to provide a maximum thermal neutron flux in a region adjacent to the periphery of the reactor rather than in the center of the reactor. The core of the reactor is generally centrally located with respect tn a surrounding first reflector, constructed of beryllium. The beryllium reflector is surrounded by a second reflector, constructed of graphite, which, in tune, is surrounded by a conventional thermal shield. Water is circulated through the core and the reflector and functions both as a moderator and a coolant. In order to produce a greatsr maximum thermal neutron flux adjacent to the periphery of the reactor rather than in the core, the reactor is designed so tbat the ratio of neutron scattering cross section to neutron absorption cross section averaged over all of the materials in the reflector is approximately twice the ratio of neutron scattering cross section to neutron absorption cross section averaged over all of the material of the core of the reactor.

  18. NEUTRONIC REACTOR

    DOEpatents

    Metcalf, H.E.; Johnson, H.W.

    1961-04-01

    BS>A nuclear reactor incorporating fuel rods passing through a moderator and including tubes of a material of higher Thermal conductivity than the fuel in contact with the fuel is described. The tubes extend beyond the active portion of the reactor into contant with a fiuld coolant.

  19. Reactor building

    SciTech Connect

    Hista, J. C.

    1984-09-18

    Reactor building comprising a vessel shaft anchored in a slab which is peripherally locked. This reactor building comprises a confinement enclosure within which are positioned internal structures constituted by an internal structure floor, a vessel shaft, a slab being positioned between the general floor and the internal structure floor, the vesse

  20. Thermoelectricity in fullerene-metal heterojunctions.

    PubMed

    Yee, Shannon K; Malen, Jonathan A; Majumdar, Arun; Segalman, Rachel A

    2011-10-12

    Thermoelectricty in heterojunctions, where a single-molecule is trapped between metal electrodes, has been used to understand transport properties at organic-inorganic interfaces. (1) The transport in these systems is highly dependent on the energy level alignment between the molecular orbitals and the Fermi level (or work function) of the metal contacts. To date, the majority of single-molecule measurements have focused on simple small molecules where transport is dominated through the highest occupied molecular orbital. (2, 3) In these systems, energy level alignment is limited by the absence of electrode materials with low Fermi levels (i.e., large work functions). Alternatively, more controllable alignment between molecular orbitals and the Fermi level can be achieved with molecules whose transport is dominated by the lowest unoccupied molecular orbital (LUMO) because of readily available metals with lower work functions. Herein, we report molecular junction thermoelectric measurements of fullerene molecules (i.e., C(60), PCBM, and C(70)) trapped between metallic electrodes (i.e., Pt, Au, Ag). Fullerene junctions demonstrate the first strongly n-type molecular thermopower corresponding to transport through the LUMO, and the highest measured magnitude of molecular thermopower to date. While the electronic conductance of fullerenes is highly variable, due to fullerene's variable bonding geometries with the electrodes, the thermopower shows predictable trends based on the alignment of the LUMO with the work function of the electrodes. Both the magnitude and trend of the thermopower suggest that heterostructuring organic and inorganic materials at the nanoscale can further enhance thermoelectric performance, therein providing a new pathway for designing thermoelectric materials. PMID:21882860

  1. Automated Weld Characterization Using the Thermoelectric Method

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Fulton, J. P.; Wincheski, B.; Namkung, M.

    1992-01-01

    The effective assessment of the integrity of welds is a complicated NDE problem that continues to be a challenge. To be able to completely characterize a weld, detailed knowledge of its tensile strength, ductility, hardness, microstructure, macrostructure, and chemical composition is needed. NDE techniques which can provide information on any of these features are extremely important. In this paper, we examine a seldom used approach based on the thermoelectric (TE) effect for characterizing welds and their associated heat affected zone (HAZ). The thermoelectric method monitors the thermoelectric power which is sensitive to small changes in the kinetics of the conduction electrons near the Fermi surface that can be caused by changes in the local microstructure. The technique has been applied to metal sorting, quality testing, flaw detection, thickness gauging of layers, and microscopic structural analysis. To demonstrate the effectiveness of the technique for characterizing welds, a series of tungsten-inert-gas welded Inconel-718 samples were scanned with a computer controlled TE probe. The samples were then analyzed using a scanning electron microscope and Rockwell hardness tests to characterize the weld and the associated HAZ. We then correlated the results with the TE measurements to provide quantitative information on the size of the HAZ and the degree of hardness of the material in the weld region. This provides potentially valuable information on the strength and fatigue life of the weld. We begin the paper by providing a brief review of the TE technique and then highlight some of the factors that can effect the measurements. Next, we provide an overview of the experimental procedure and discuss the results. Finally, we summarize our findings and consider areas for future research.

  2. Thermoelectric Properties of Complex Zintl Phases

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Snyder, G. Jeffrey

    2008-03-01

    Complex Zintl phases make ideal thermoelectric materials because they can exhibit the necessary ``electron-crystal, phonon-glass'' properties required for high thermoelectric efficiency. Complex crystal structures can lead to high thermoelectric figure of merit (zT) by having extraordinarily low lattice thermal conductivity. A recent example is the discovery that Yb14MnSb11, a complex Zintl compound, has twice the zT as the SiGe based material currently in use at NASA. The high temperature (300K - 1300K) electronic properties of Yb14MnSb11 can be understood using models for heavily doped semiconductors. The free hole concentration, confirmed by Hall effect measurements, is set by the electron counting rules of Zintl and the valence of the transition metal (Mn^+2). Substitution of nonmagnetic Zn^+2 for the magnetic Mn^+2 reduces the spin-disorder scattering and leads to increased zT (10%). The reduction of spin-disorder scattering is consistent with the picture of Yb14MnSb11 as an underscreened Kondo lattice as derived from low temperature measurements. The hole concentration can be reduced by the substitution of Al^+3 for Mn^+2, which leads to an increase in the Seebeck coefficient and electrical resistivity consistent with models for degenerate semiconductors. This leads to further improvements (about 25%) in zT and a reduction in the temperature where the zT peaks. The peak in zT is due to the onset of minority carrier conduction and can be correlated with reduction in Seebeck coefficient, increase in electrical conductivity and increase in thermal conductivity due to bipolar thermal conduction.

  3. Thermoelectricity of interacting particles: a numerical approach.

    PubMed

    Chen, Shunda; Wang, Jiao; Casati, Giulio; Benenti, Giuliano

    2015-09-01

    A method for computing the thermopower in interacting systems is proposed. This approach, which relies on Monte Carlo simulations, is illustrated first for a diatomic chain of hard-point elastically colliding particles and then in the case of a one-dimensional gas with (screened) Coulomb interparticle interaction. Numerical simulations up to N>10^{4} particles confirm the general theoretical arguments for momentum-conserving systems and show that the thermoelectric figure of merit increases linearly with the system size. PMID:26465458

  4. Mechanical Alloying for Making Thermoelectric Compounds

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Huang, Chen-Kuo; Fleurial, Jean-Pierre; Snyder, Jeffrey; Blair, Richard; May, Andrew

    2007-01-01

    An economical room-temperature mechanical alloying process has been shown to be an effective means of making a homogeneous powder that can be hot-pressed to synthesize a thermoelectric material having reproducible chemical composition. The synthesis of a given material consists of the room temperature thermomechanical-alloying process followed b y a hot-pressing process. Relative to synthesis of nominally the same material by a traditional process that includes hot melting, this s ynthesis is simpler and yields a material having superior thermoelect ric properties.

  5. Improved Thermoelectrically Cooled Laser-Diode Assemblies

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Glesne, Thomas R.; Schwemmer, Geary K.; Famiglietti, Joe

    1994-01-01

    Cooling decreases wavelength and increases efficiency and lifetime. Two improved thermoelectrically cooled laser-diode assemblies incorporate commercial laser diodes providing combination of both high wavelength stability and broad wavelength tuning which are broadly tunable, highly stable devices for injection seeding of pulsed, high-power tunable alexandrite lasers used in lidar remote sensing of water vapor at wavelengths in vicinity of 727 nanometers. Provide temperature control needed to take advantage of tunability of commercial AlGaAs laser diodes in present injection-seeding application.

  6. Modeling of concentrating solar thermoelectric generators

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    McEnaney, Kenneth; Kraemer, Daniel; Ren, Zhifeng; Chen, Gang

    2011-10-01

    The conversion of solar power into electricity is dominated by non-concentrating photovoltaics and concentrating solar thermal systems. Recently, it has been shown that solar thermoelectric generators (STEGs) are a viable alternative in the non-concentrating regime. This paper addresses the possibility of STEGs being used as the power block in concentrating solar power systems. STEG power blocks have no moving parts, they are scalable, and they eliminate the need for an external traditional thermomechanical generator, such as a steam turbine or Stirling engine. Using existing skutterudite and bismuth telluride materials, concentrating STEGs can have efficiencies exceeding 10% based on a geometric optical concentration ratio of 45.

  7. Thermoelectric Powered High Temperature Wireless Sensing

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kucukkomurler, Ahmet

    This study describes use of a thermoelectric power converter to transform waste heat into electrical energy to power an RF receiver and transmitter, for use in harsh environment wireless temperature sensing and telemetry. The sensing and transmitting module employs a DS-1820 low power digital temperature sensor to perform temperature to voltage conversion, an ATX-34 RF transmitter, an ARX-34 RF receiver module, and a PIC16f84A microcontroller to synchronize data communication between them. The unit has been tested in a laboratory environment, and promising results have been obtained for an actual automotive wireless under hood temperature sensing and telemetry implementation.

  8. Imaging radiometers employing linear thermoelectric arrays

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    McManus, Timothy J.; Mickelson, Steve

    1999-07-01

    Infrared Solutions, Inc. has developed a family of radiometers which employ silicon microstructure uncooled linear thermoelectric arrays, prepared by Honeywell Technology Center. Included in the family is a handheld imaging radiometer for predictive and preventive maintenance having a frame time of 1.4 sec, a linescanner radiometer for monitoring of industrial web process, an imaging radiometer for monitoring stationary industrial processes such as a die casting, and a linescanner radiometer for monitoring the temperature distribution of railcar wheels on trains moving at speeds up to 80 mph.

  9. Thermoelectric magnetohydrodynamic stirring of liquid metals.

    PubMed

    Jaworski, M A; Gray, T K; Antonelli, M; Kim, J J; Lau, C Y; Lee, M B; Neumann, M J; Xu, W; Ruzic, D N

    2010-03-01

    The direct observation of a thermoelectric magnetohydrodynamic (TEMHD) flow has been achieved and is reported here. The origin of the flow is identified based on a series of qualitative tests and corresponds, quantitatively, with a swirling flow TEMHD model. A theory for determining the dominant driver of a free-surface flow, TEMHD or thermocapillary (TC), is found to be consistent with the experimental results. The use of the analytical form for an open geometry develops a new dimensionless parameter describing the ratio of TEMHD to TC generated flows.

  10. Electrodes For Alkali-Metal Thermoelectric Converters

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Williams, Roger M.; Wheeler, Bob L.; Jeffries-Nakamura, Barbara; Lamb, James L.; Bankston, C. Perry; Cole, Terry

    1989-01-01

    Combination of thin, porous electrode and overlying collector grid reduces internal resistance of alkali-metal thermoelectric converter cell. Low resistance of new electrode and grid boosts power density nearly to 1 W/cm2 of electrode area at typical operating temperatures of 1,000 to 1,300 K. Conductive grid encircles electrode film on alumina tube. Bus wire runs along tube to collect electrical current from grid. Such converters used to transform solar, nuclear, and waste heat into electric power.

  11. Thermoelectric energy harvesting with quantum dots.

    PubMed

    Sothmann, Björn; Sánchez, Rafael; Jordan, Andrew N

    2015-01-21

    We review recent theoretical work on thermoelectric energy harvesting in multi-terminal quantum-dot setups. We first discuss several examples of nanoscale heat engines based on Coulomb-coupled conductors. In particular, we focus on quantum dots in the Coulomb-blockade regime, chaotic cavities and resonant tunneling through quantum dots and wells. We then turn toward quantum-dot heat engines that are driven by bosonic degrees of freedom such as phonons, magnons and microwave photons. These systems provide interesting connections to spin caloritronics and circuit quantum electrodynamics.

  12. Cooling radioisotope thermoelectric generators in the Shuttle

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Norman, R. M.

    1978-01-01

    Radioisotope thermoelectric generators (RTG) to be used on future spacecraft and launched by the Shuttle must be cooled from the time they are installed and enclosed until the spacecraft is deployed from the Shuttle. A special Cooling Kit maintains their temperature well below critical by circulating water through the coils soldered to them and through a heat exchanger that boils water and externally discharges the resulting steam. The RTG Cooling Kit, including its support frame, if fully charged with about 64 kg of evaporation water, will increase the Shuttle launch mass by about 200 kg.

  13. Solid state transport-based thermoelectric converter

    DOEpatents

    Hu, Zhiyu

    2010-04-13

    A solid state thermoelectric converter includes a thermally insulating separator layer, a semiconducting collector and an electron emitter. The electron emitter comprises a metal nanoparticle layer or plurality of metal nanocatalyst particles disposed on one side of said separator layer. A first electrically conductive lead is electrically coupled to the electron emitter. The collector layer is disposed on the other side of the separator layer, wherein the thickness of the separator layer is less than 1 .mu.m. A second conductive lead is electrically coupled to the collector layer.

  14. Energy harvesting using a thermoelectric material

    DOEpatents

    Nersessian, Nersesse; Carman, Gregory P.; Radousky, Harry B.

    2008-07-08

    A novel energy harvesting system and method utilizing a thermoelectric having a material exhibiting a large thermally induced strain (TIS) due to a phase transformation and a material exhibiting a stress induced electric field is introduced. A material that exhibits such a phase transformation exhibits a large increase in the coefficient of thermal expansion over an incremental temperature range (typically several degrees Kelvin). When such a material is arranged in a geometric configuration, such as, for a example, a laminate with a material that exhibits a stress induced electric field (e.g. a piezoelectric material) the thermally induced strain is converted to an electric field.

  15. Coating Thermoelectric Devices To Suppress Sublimation

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Sakamoto, Jeffrey; Caillat, Thierry; Fleurial, Jean-Pierre; Snyder, G. Jeffrey

    2007-01-01

    A technique for suppressing sublimation of key elements from skutterudite compounds in advanced thermoelectric devices has been demonstrated. The essence of the technique is to cover what would otherwise be the exposed skutterudite surface of such a device with a thin, continuous film of a chemically and physically compatible metal. Although similar to other sublimation-suppression techniques, this technique has been specifically tailored for application to skutterudite antimonides. The primary cause of deterioration of most thermoelectric materials is thermal decomposition or sublimation - one or more elements sublime from the hot side of a thermoelectric couple, changing the stoichiometry of the device. Examples of elements that sublime from their respective thermoelectric materials are Ge from SiGe, Te from Pb/Te, and now Sb from skutterudite antimonides. The skutterudite antimonides of primary interest are CoSb3 [electron-donor (n) type] and CeFe(3-x)Co(x)Sb12 [electron-acceptor (p) type]. When these compounds are subjected to typical operating conditions [temperature of 700 C and pressure <10(exp -5) torr (0.0013 Pa)], Sb sublimes from their surfaces, with the result that Sb depletion layers form and advance toward their interiors. As the depletion layer advances in a given device, the change in stoichiometry diminishes the thermal-to-electric conversion efficiency of the device. The problem, then, is to prevent sublimation, or at least reduce it to an acceptably low level. In preparation for an experiment on suppression of sublimation, a specimen of CoSb3 was tightly wrapped in a foil of niobium, which was selected for its chemical stability. In the experiment, the wrapped specimen was heated to a temperature of 700 C in a vacuum of residual pressure <10(exp -5) torr (0.0013 Pa), then cooled and sectioned. Examination of the sectioned specimen revealed that no depletion layer had formed, indicating the niobium foil prevented sublimation of antimony at 700 C

  16. Radioisotope thermoelectric generator transport trailer system

    SciTech Connect

    Ard, K.E.; King, D.A.; Leigh, H.; Satoh, J.A.

    1995-01-20

    The Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator (RTG) Transportation System, designated as System 100, comprises four major systems. The four major systems are designated as the Packaging System (System 120), Trailer System (System 140), Operations and Ancillary Equipment System (System 160), and Shipping and Receiving Facility Transport System (System 180). Packaging System (System 120), including the RTG packaging is licensed (regulatory) hardware; it is certified by the U.S. Department of Energy to be in accordance with Title 10, {ital Code} {ital of} {ital Federal} {ital Regulations}, Part 71 (10 CFR 71). System 140, System 160, and System 180 are nonlicensed (nonregulatory) hardware. {copyright} {ital 1995} {ital American} {ital Institute} {ital of} {ital Physics}

  17. Fabrication of Thermoelectric Devices Using Additive-Subtractive Manufacturing Techniques: Application to Waste-Heat Energy Harvesting

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Tewolde, Mahder

    optimizing cutting speed and power while maintaining surface quality and interface properties. Key parameters are obtained from these experiments and used to develop a process that can be used to fabricate a working TEG directly onto the waste-heat component surface. A TEG module has been fabricated for the first time entirely by using thermal spray technology and laser micromachining. The target applications include automotive exhaust systems and other high-volume industrial waste heat sources. The application of TEGs for thermoelectrically powered sensors for Small Modular Reactors (SMRs) is presented. In conclusion, more ways to improve the fabrication process of TEGs are suggested.

  18. Approach to the Practical Use of Thermoelectric Power Generation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kajikawa, Takenobu

    2009-07-01

    The results of research and development in the Japanese national project “Development for Advanced Thermoelectric Conversion Systems” are summarized, and the approaches to practical use of advanced thermoelectric modules and power generation systems are presented. The 5-year national project was successfully completed in March 2007. Three kinds of high- efficiency cascaded thermoelectric modules and two kinds of innovative Bi-Te thermoelectric modules were successfully developed. Heat cycle tests for three types of modules were also completed. Moreover, four types of advanced thermoelectric power generation systems were experimentally demonstrated for recovery of waste heat from the industrial and private sectors. In order to proceed further, thermoelectric power generation systems using practical heat sources were followed after installation of the developed modules. In parallel, various approaches for practical use by private companies, as well as plans for the next-phase project by the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST) and the Engineering Advancement Association (ENAA), were also followed. The scenarios to proceed to the commercial phase of thermoelectric power generation are discussed on the basis of the results of the national project.

  19. Thermal analysis of thermoelectric power generator; Including thermal stresses

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Al-Merbati, Abdulrahman Salman

    In recent years, the energy demand is increasing leads to use and utilization of clean energy becomes target of countries all over the world. Thermoelectric generator is one type of clean energy generators which is a solid-state device that converts heat energy into electrical energy through the Seebeck effect. With availability of, heat from different sources such as solar energy and waste energy from systems, thermoelectric research becomes important research topic and researchers investigates efficient means of generating electricity from thermoelectric generators. One of the important problems with a thermoelectric is development of high thermal stresses due to formation of temperature gradient across the thermoelectric generator. High thermal stress causes device failure through cracks or fractures and these short comings may reduce the efficiency or totally fail the device. In this thesis work, thermodynamic efficiency and thermal stresses developed in thermoelectric generator are analyzed numerically. The bismuth telluride (Bi2Te3) properties are used in simulation. Stress levels in thermoelectric device pins are computed for various pin geometric configurations. MASTER.

  20. Investigations on an oriented cooling design for thermoelectric cogenerations

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zheng, X. F.; Liu, C. X.; Yan, Y. Y.

    2012-11-01

    In thermoelectric application, it is widely known that the material limitation has still been the chief barrier of lifting its application to a higher level. Continuous efforts are extensively being made in developing novel material structures and constructions for thermoelectric modules with higher conversion efficiency. However, the overall system efficiency, which is one of the major parameters that most of the engineer and users care about, is not only ruled by the properties of applied thermoelectric materials, but also decided by the design of heat exchangers used on both sides of thermoelectric modules. Focusing on the cooling capacity and hydraulic characteristics of heat exchanger, this paper introduces an oriented cooling method for the domestic thermoelectric cogeneration, which delivers system efficiency up to 80%. This purpose-oriented cooling plate is designed for thermoelectric cogeneration for the residential houses installed with boiler or other heating facilities with a considerable amount of unused heat. The design enables Thermoelectric Cogeneration System (TCS) to be flexibly integrated into the existing hydraulic system. The mathematical model for the cooling plate has been established for a well understanding at the theoretical level. The performance of cooling plate has been investigated in a series of experimental studies which have been conducted under different coolant inlet velocity and temperature. The economic operating zone in which a good system performance could be achieved has been discussed and identified for the current configuration.

  1. Compact Reactor

    SciTech Connect

    Williams, Pharis E.

    2007-01-30

    Weyl's Gauge Principle of 1929 has been used to establish Weyl's Quantum Principle (WQP) that requires that the Weyl scale factor should be unity. It has been shown that the WQP requires the following: quantum mechanics must be used to determine system states; the electrostatic potential must be non-singular and quantified; interactions between particles with different electric charges (i.e. electron and proton) do not obey Newton's Third Law at sub-nuclear separations, and nuclear particles may be much different than expected using the standard model. The above WQP requirements lead to a potential fusion reactor wherein deuterium nuclei are preferentially fused into helium nuclei. Because the deuterium nuclei are preferentially fused into helium nuclei at temperatures and energies lower than specified by the standard model there is no harmful radiation as a byproduct of this fusion process. Therefore, a reactor using this reaction does not need any shielding to contain such radiation. The energy released from each reaction and the absence of shielding makes the deuterium-plus-deuterium-to-helium (DDH) reactor very compact when compared to other reactors, both fission and fusion types. Moreover, the potential energy output per reactor weight and the absence of harmful radiation makes the DDH reactor an ideal candidate for space power. The logic is summarized by which the WQP requires the above conditions that make the prediction of DDH possible. The details of the DDH reaction will be presented along with the specifics of why the DDH reactor may be made to cause two deuterium nuclei to preferentially fuse to a helium nucleus. The presentation will also indicate the calculations needed to predict the reactor temperature as a function of fuel loading, reactor size, and desired output and will include the progress achieved to date.

  2. NUCLEAR REACTOR

    DOEpatents

    Moore, R.V.; Bowen, J.H.; Dent, K.H.

    1958-12-01

    A heterogeneous, natural uranium fueled, solid moderated, gas cooled reactor is described, in which the fuel elements are in the form of elongated rods and are dlsposed within vertical coolant channels ln the moderator symmetrically arranged as a regular lattice in groups. This reactor employs control rods which operate in vertical channels in the moderator so that each control rod is centered in one of the fuel element groups. The reactor is enclosed in a pressure vessel which ls provided with access holes at the top to facilitate loading and unloadlng of the fuel elements, control rods and control rod driving devices.

  3. Engineering Nanostructural Routes for Enhancing Thermoelectric Performance: Bulk to Nanoscale.

    PubMed

    Mohanraman, Rajeshkumar; Lan, Tian-Wey; Hsiung, Te-Chih; Amada, Dedi; Lee, Ping-Chung; Ou, Min-Nan; Chen, Yang-Yuan

    2015-01-01

    Thermoelectricity is a very important phenomenon, especially its significance in heat-electricity conversion. If thermoelectric devices can be effectively applied to the recovery of the renewable energies, such as waste heat and solar energy, the energy shortage, and global warming issues may be greatly relieved. This review focusses recent developments on the thermoelectric performance of a low-dimensional material, bulk nanostructured materials, conventional bulk materials etc. Particular emphasis is given on, how the nanostructure in nanostructured composites, confinement effects in one-dimensional nanowires and doping effects in conventional bulk composites plays an important role in ZT enhancement. PMID:26913280

  4. Enhancing the thermoelectric figure of merit in engineered graphene nanoribbons

    PubMed Central

    Sangtarash, Sara; Lambert, Colin J

    2015-01-01

    Summary We demonstrate that thermoelectric properties of graphene nanoribbons can be dramatically improved by introducing nanopores. In monolayer graphene, this increases the electronic thermoelectric figure of merit ZT e from 0.01 to 0.5. The largest values of ZT e are found when a nanopore is introduced into bilayer graphene, such that the current flows from one layer to the other via the inner surface of the pore, for which values as high as ZT e = 2.45 are obtained. All thermoelectric properties can be further enhanced by tuning the Fermi energy of the leads. PMID:26171293

  5. Nanoscale heat transfer and thermoelectrics for alternative energy

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Robinson, Richard

    2011-03-01

    In the area of alternative energy, thermoelectrics have experienced an unprecedented growth in popularity because of their ability to convert waste heat into electricity. Wired in reverse, thermoelectrics can act as refrigeration devices, where they are promising because they are small in size and lightweight, have no moving parts, and have rapid on/off cycles. However, due to their low efficiencies bulk thermoelectrics have historically been a niche market. Only in the last decade has thermoelectric efficiency exceeded ~ 20 % due to fabrication of nanostructured materials. Nanoscale materials have this advantage because electronic and acoustic confinement effects can greatly increase thermoelectric efficiency beyond bulk values. In this talk, I will introduce our work in the area of nanoscale heat transfer with the goal of more efficient thermoelectrics. I will discuss our experiments and methods to study acoustic confinement in nanostructures and present some of our new nanostructured thermoelectric materials. To study acoustic confinement we are building a nanoscale phonon spectrometer. The instrument can excite phonon modes in nanostructures in the ~ 100 s of GHz. Ballistic phonons from the generator are used to probe acoustic confinement and surface scattering effects. Transmission studies using this device will help optimize materials and morphologies for more efficient nanomaterial-based thermoelectrics. For materials, our group has synthesized nano-layer superlattices of Na x Co O2 . Sodium cobaltate was recently discovered to have a high Seebeck coeficent and is being studied as an oxide thermoelectric material. The thickness of our nano-layers ranges from 5 nm to 300 nm while the lengths can be varied between 10 μ m and 4 mm. Typical aspect ratios are 40 nm: 4 mm, or 1:100,000. Thermoelectric characterization of samples with tilted multiple-grains along the measurement axis indicate a thermoelectric efficiency on par with current polycrystalline samples

  6. Engineering Nanostructural Routes for Enhancing Thermoelectric Performance: Bulk to Nanoscale

    PubMed Central

    Mohanraman, Rajeshkumar; Lan, Tian-Wey; Hsiung, Te-Chih; Amada, Dedi; Lee, Ping-Chung; Ou, Min-Nan; Chen, Yang-Yuan

    2015-01-01

    Thermoelectricity is a very important phenomenon, especially its significance in heat-electricity conversion. If thermoelectric devices can be effectively applied to the recovery of the renewable energies, such as waste heat and solar energy, the energy shortage, and global warming issues may be greatly relieved. This review focusses recent developments on the thermoelectric performance of a low-dimensional material, bulk nanostructured materials, conventional bulk materials etc. Particular emphasis is given on, how the nanostructure in nanostructured composites, confinement effects in one-dimensional nanowires and doping effects in conventional bulk composites plays an important role in ZT enhancement. PMID:26913280

  7. Engineering Nanostructural Routes for Enhancing Thermoelectric Performance: Bulk to Nanoscale.

    PubMed

    Mohanraman, Rajeshkumar; Lan, Tian-Wey; Hsiung, Te-Chih; Amada, Dedi; Lee, Ping-Chung; Ou, Min-Nan; Chen, Yang-Yuan

    2015-01-01

    Thermoelectricity is a very important phenomenon, especially its significance in heat-electricity conversion. If thermoelectric devices can be effectively applied to the recovery of the renewable energies, such as waste heat and solar energy, the energy shortage, and global warming issues may be greatly relieved. This review focusses recent developments on the thermoelectric performance of a low-dimensional material, bulk nanostructured materials, conventional bulk materials etc. Particular emphasis is given on, how the nanostructure in nanostructured composites, confinement effects in one-dimensional nanowires and doping effects in conventional bulk composites plays an important role in ZT enhancement.

  8. Experimental feasibility study of a thermoelectric heat flux gage

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Vanfossen, G. J.; Lopez, I.

    1983-01-01

    An experiment was conducted to determine the feasibility of using a commercially available thermoelectric device as a heat flux gage at near ambient conditions. In certain research applications, the thermoelectric heat flux gage can provide a relatively simple means to model a warm fluid cold wall convection environment. The experiment showed that heat flux through the gage could be correlated within 2.5 percent with a simple algebraic equation which considered the thermoelectric current through the device and the hot and cold side temperatures.

  9. Research Update: Phonon engineering of nanocrystalline silicon thermoelectrics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Shiomi, Junichiro

    2016-10-01

    Nanocrystalline silicon thermoelectrics can be a solution to improve the cost-effectiveness of thermoelectric technology from both material and integration viewpoints. While their figure-of-merit is still developing, recent advances in theoretical/numerical calculations, property measurements, and structural synthesis/fabrication have opened up possibilities to develop the materials based on fundamental physics of phonon transport. Here, this is demonstrated by reviewing a series of works on nanocrystalline silicon materials using calculations of multiscale phonon transport, measurements of interfacial heat conduction, and synthesis from nanoparticles. Integration of these approaches allows us to engineer phonon transport to improve the thermoelectric performance by introducing local silicon-oxide structures.

  10. Research Update: Oxide thermoelectrics: Beyond the conventional design rules

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Terasaki, Ichiro

    2016-10-01

    Materials' design for high-performance thermoelectric oxides is discussed. Since chemical stability at high temperature in air is a considerable advantage in oxides, we evaluate thermoelectric power factor in the high temperature limit. We show that highly disordered materials can be good thermoelectric materials at high temperatures, and the effects of strong correlation can further enhance the figure of merit by adding thermopower arising from the spin and orbital degrees of freedom. We also discuss the Kelvin formula as a promising expression for strongly correlated materials and show that the calculation based on the Kelvin formula can be directly compared with the cross-layer thermopower of layered materials.

  11. Thermal and Electronic Transport in Inorganic and Organic Thermoelectric Materials

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Tian, Zhiting

    In this talk, we will first talk about first-principles calculations of phonon and electron transport in inorganic thermoelectric materials. We will start with rocksalt PbTe and PbSe, and move on to wurtzite ZnO. We will emphasize the strategies to reduce the lattice thermal conductivity. Then we apply first-principles calculations to organic thermoelectric materials. The thermoelectric properties of doped polypyrrole (PPy) will be discussed. In addition, we will cover the chain confinement effects observed in amorphous polymer thin films using molecular dynamics simulations, which highlights the fundamental difference in heat conduction between crystalline polymers and amorphous polymers

  12. Spin effects in thermoelectric phenomena in SiC nanoribbons.

    PubMed

    Zberecki, K; Swirkowicz, R; Wierzbicki, M; Barnaś, J

    2015-01-21

    Using ab initio methods we calculate the thermoelectric and spin thermoelectric properties of zigzag SiC nanoribbons, asymmetrically terminated with hydrogen. Such nanoribbons display a ferromagnetic ground state, with edge magnetic moments oriented in parallel. Both thermopower and spin thermopower have been determined as a function of chemical potential and temperature. To find the thermoelectric efficiency, the total heat conductance has been calculated, i.e. the electronic and phonon contributions. Numerical results for SiC nanoribbons are compared with those for graphene and silicene ones.

  13. BiSb and spin-related thermoelectric phenomena

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Heremans, Joseph P.; Jin, Hyungyu; Zheng, Yuanhua; Watzman, Sarah J.; Prakash, Arati

    2016-05-01

    This article reviews the factors limiting the figure of merit zT of conventional thermoelectrics especially at cryogenic temperatures and then highlights modern approaches used to increase zT below 200 K. Two type of materials are discussed. The first are BiSb alloys, relatively conventional thermoelectrics in which the zT is enhanced by using resonant levels. The second is the spin- Seebeck effect (SSE), a new solid-state energy conversion technology. Classical thermoelectric and SSE physics are combined to provide new concepts, like magnon-drag, in which we hope to increase the performance of solid-state coolers by exploiting the spin degree of freedom.

  14. Transient Thermoelectric Generator: An Active Load Story

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Stockholm, J. G.; Goupil, C.; Maussion, P.; Ouerdane, H.

    2015-06-01

    Under stationary conditions, the optimization of maximum power output and efficiency of thermoelectric generators (TEG) is a well-known subject. Use of a finite-time thermodynamics (FTT) approach to the description of TEGs has demonstrated that there exists a closed feedback effect between the output electrical load value and the entering heat current. From the practical point of view, this effect is strongly evidenced by the use of direct current (DC-to-DC) converters as active loads. Both transient conditions and FTT contribute to a complex landscape of the optimization of the power and efficiencies of a TEG. It has been claimed that the use of inductive load may lead to a strong enhancement of the efficiency, and the frequency response of a TEG as a band-pass filter has also been recently reported. We consider these results using a classical linear Onsager approach of a TEG operating under transient conditions. We show that a trans-admittance may be defined as a coupling element between the input and the output, leading to the observed electric-to-thermal feedback. We discuss recent experiments on a TEG connected to an active load, which is reported to boast an efficiency exceeding the usual stationary DC thermoelectric efficiency.

  15. Thermoelectric Properties of Higher Manganese Silicide Nanowires

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Moore, Arden; Higgins, Jeremy; Zhou, Feng; Jin, Song; Shi, Li

    2009-03-01

    Higher manganese silicides (HMS) have a relatively high thermoelectric figure of merit (ZT) of about 0.7. HMS nanowires have been synthesized using a chemical vapor deposition method. In this work, the thermoelectric properties of individual HMS nanowires are measured and analyzed to determine the role of size effects on electron and phonon transport as well as potential ZT enhancement. Measurements of Seebeck coefficient, electrical conductivity, and thermal conductivity were performed using both suspended and substrate-based microdevices. Results show that the Seebeck coefficient of two as-synthesized 60 nm diameter nanowires between 300-400K is about 25-50% lower than that of single crystal bulk parallel to the c-axis, while the electrical conductivity values are about 25% lower than bulk single crystal in the same direction. The thermal conductivity of one 60 nm diameter nanowire at room temperature was found to be four times smaller than the bulk value along the c-axis. The large reduction in thermal conductivity and small to moderate impact on electrical transport may lead to HMS nanowires with enhanced ZT.

  16. Autonomous Underwater Vehicle Thermoelectric Power Generation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Buckle, J. R.; Knox, A.; Siviter, J.; Montecucco, A.

    2013-07-01

    Autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) are a vital part of the oceanographer's toolbox, allowing long-term measurements across a range of ocean depths of a number of ocean properties such as salinity, fluorescence, and temperature profile. Buoyancy-based gliding, rather than direct propulsion, dramatically reduces AUV power consumption and allows long-duration missions on the order of months rather than hours or days, allowing large distances to be analyzed or many successive analyses of a certain area without the need for retrieval. Recent versions of these gliders have seen the buoyancy variation system change from electrically powered to thermally powered using phase-change materials, however a significant battery pack is still required to power communications and sensors, with power consumption in the region of 250 mW. The authors propose a novel application of a thermoelectric generation system, utilizing the depth-related variation in oceanic temperature. A thermal energy store provides a temperature differential across which a thermoelectric device can generate from repeated dives, with the primary purpose of extending mission range. The system is modeled in Simulink to analyze the effect of variation in design parameters. The system proves capable of generating all required power for a modern AUV.

  17. Spin-current-driven thermoelectric coating.

    PubMed

    Kirihara, Akihiro; Uchida, Ken-ichi; Kajiwara, Yosuke; Ishida, Masahiko; Nakamura, Yasunobu; Manako, Takashi; Saitoh, Eiji; Yorozu, Shinichi

    2012-06-17

    Energy harvesting technologies, which generate electricity from environmental energy, have been attracting great interest because of their potential to power ubiquitously deployed sensor networks and mobile electronics. Of these technologies, thermoelectric (TE) conversion is a particularly promising candidate, because it can directly generate electricity from the thermal energy that is available in various places. Here we show a novel TE concept based on the spin Seebeck effect, called 'spin-thermoelectric (STE) coating', which is characterized by a simple film structure, convenient scaling capability, and easy fabrication. The STE coating, with a 60-nm-thick bismuth-substituted yttrium iron garnet (Bi:YIG) film, is applied by means of a highly efficient process on a non-magnetic substrate. Notably, spin-current-driven TE conversion is successfully demonstrated under a temperature gradient perpendicular to such an ultrathin STE-coating layer (amounting to only 0.01% of the total sample thickness). We also show that the STE coating is applicable even on glass surfaces with amorphous structures. Such a versatile implementation of the TE function may pave the way for novel applications making full use of omnipresent heat.

  18. Thermoelectric Analysis for Helical Power Generation Systems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Meng, Xiangning; Fujisaka, Takeyuki; Suzuki, Ryosuke O.

    2014-06-01

    The performance of a three-dimensional helical thermoelectric generation (TEG) system is examined by exposing it to a temperature difference with hot and cold sources. The helical paths for the two thermal fluids give the TEG device the potential to efficiently convert thermal energy. The characteristic performance of the helical system is numerically analyzed by using the finite-volume method in a compact system. The helical system is compared with a straight system in which all the thermoelectric (TE) elements present equivalent geometry. The difference in the TE performance between the two systems is not significant when the TE surfaces are maintained at constant temperatures. Both the electromotive force and the current in the TEG system increase linearly with the temperature difference Δ T applied at the two module surfaces. The current preferentially flows through a main path determined by the geometry of the TE element. The merits of the helical design are its compactness, space saving, and smooth fluid flow due to gravity, compared with the straight system.

  19. Developing instrumentation to characterize thermoelectric generator modules.

    PubMed

    Liu, Dawei; Li, Qiming; Peng, Wenbo; Zhu, Lianjun; Gao, Hu; Meng, Qingsen; Jin, A J

    2015-03-01

    Based on the law of physics, known as "Seebeck effect," a thermoelectric generator (TEG) produces electricity when the temperature differential is applied across the TEG. This article reports a precision method in characterizing TEG modules. A precision instrument is constructed to study thermoelectric conversion in terms of output power and efficiency of TEG modules. The maximum allowable TEG module size is 150 mm, and the preferred size is from 30 mm to 60 mm. During measurements, the highest hot side temperature is 500 °C and the cold side temperature can be adjusted from room temperature to 100 °C. A mechanical structure is developed to control the pressure and parallelism of the clamping force of the TEG on both its hot and cold sides. A heat flux measurement module is installed at its cold side, and the heat flux through TEGs can be measured in position. Finally, the energy conversion efficiency of TEGs is calculated from experimental data of both an output power and a heat flux. PMID:25832254

  20. Developing instrumentation to characterize thermoelectric generator modules

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Liu, Dawei; Li, Qiming; Peng, Wenbo; Zhu, Lianjun; Gao, Hu; Meng, Qingsen; Jin, A. J.

    2015-03-01

    Based on the law of physics, known as "Seebeck effect," a thermoelectric generator (TEG) produces electricity when the temperature differential is applied across the TEG. This article reports a precision method in characterizing TEG modules. A precision instrument is constructed to study thermoelectric conversion in terms of output power and efficiency of TEG modules. The maximum allowable TEG module size is 150 mm, and the preferred size is from 30 mm to 60 mm. During measurements, the highest hot side temperature is 500 °C and the cold side temperature can be adjusted from room temperature to 100 °C. A mechanical structure is developed to control the pressure and parallelism of the clamping force of the TEG on both its hot and cold sides. A heat flux measurement module is installed at its cold side, and the heat flux through TEGs can be measured in position. Finally, the energy conversion efficiency of TEGs is calculated from experimental data of both an output power and a heat flux.

  1. Microscreen radiation shield for thermoelectric generator

    DOEpatents

    Hunt, Thomas K.; Novak, Robert F.; McBride, James R.

    1990-01-01

    The present invention provides a microscreen radiation shield which reduces radiative heat losses in thermoelectric generators such as sodium heat engines without reducing the efficiency of operation of such devices. The radiation shield is adapted to be interposed between a reaction zone and a means for condensing an alkali metal vapor in a thermoelectric generator for converting heat energy directly to electrical energy. The radiation shield acts to reflect infrared radiation emanating from the reaction zone back toward the reaction zone while permitting the passage of the alkali metal vapor to the condensing means. The radiation shield includes a woven wire mesh screen or a metal foil having a plurality of orifices formed therein. The orifices in the foil and the spacing between the wires in the mesh is such that radiant heat is reflected back toward the reaction zone in the interior of the generator, while the much smaller diameter alkali metal atoms such as sodium pass directly through the orifices or along the metal surfaces of the shield and through the orifices with little or no impedance.

  2. Solar thermoelectricity via advanced latent heat storage

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Olsen, M. L.; Rea, J.; Glatzmaier, G. C.; Hardin, C.; Oshman, C.; Vaughn, J.; Roark, T.; Raade, J. W.; Bradshaw, R. W.; Sharp, J.; Avery, A. D.; Bobela, D.; Bonner, R.; Weigand, R.; Campo, D.; Parilla, P. A.; Siegel, N. P.; Toberer, E. S.; Ginley, D. S.

    2016-05-01

    We report on a new modular, dispatchable, and cost-effective solar electricity-generating technology. Solar ThermoElectricity via Advanced Latent heat Storage (STEALS) integrates several state-of-the-art technologies to provide electricity on demand. In the envisioned STEALS system, concentrated sunlight is converted to heat at a solar absorber. The heat is then delivered to either a thermoelectric (TE) module for direct electricity generation, or to charge a phase change material for thermal energy storage, enabling subsequent generation during off-sun hours, or both for simultaneous electricity production and energy storage. The key to making STEALS a dispatchable technology lies in the development of a "thermal valve," which controls when heat is allowed to flow through the TE module, thus controlling when electricity is generated. The current project addresses each of the three major subcomponents, (i) the TE module, (ii) the thermal energy storage system, and (iii) the thermal valve. The project also includes system-level and techno- economic modeling of the envisioned integrated system and will culminate in the demonstration of a laboratory-scale STEALS prototype capable of generating 3kWe.

  3. NEUTRONIC REACTOR

    DOEpatents

    Fermi, E.

    1960-04-01

    A nuclear reactor is described consisting of blocks of graphite arranged in layers, natural uranium bodies disposed in holes in alternate layers of graphite blocks, and coolant tubes disposed in the layers of graphite blocks which do not contain uranium.

  4. NEUTRONIC REACTOR

    DOEpatents

    Anderson, H.L.

    1960-09-20

    A nuclear reactor is described comprising fissionable material dispersed in graphite blocks, helium filling the voids of the blocks and the spaces therebetween, and means other than the helium in thermal conductive contact with the graphite for removing heat.

  5. Chemical Reactors.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Kenney, C. N.

    1980-01-01

    Describes a course, including content, reading list, and presentation on chemical reactors at Cambridge University, England. A brief comparison of chemical engineering education between the United States and England is also given. (JN)

  6. NEUTRONIC REACTOR

    DOEpatents

    Hurwitz, H. Jr.; Brooks, H.; Mannal, C.; Payne, J.H.; Luebke, E.A.

    1959-03-24

    A reactor of the heterogeneous, liquid cooled type is described. This reactor is comprised of a central region of a plurality of vertically disposed elongated tubes surrounded by a region of moderator material. The central region is comprised of a central core surrounded by a reflector region which is surrounded by a fast neutron absorber region, which in turn is surrounded by a slow neutron absorber region. Liquid sodium is used as the primary coolant and circulates through the core which contains the fuel elements. Control of the reactor is accomplished by varying the ability of the reflector region to reflect neutrons back into the core of the reactor. For this purpose the reflector is comprised of moderator and control elements having varying effects on reactivity, the control elements being arranged and actuated by groups to give regulation, shim, and safety control.

  7. NUCLEAR REACTOR

    DOEpatents

    Miller, H.I.; Smith, R.C.

    1958-01-21

    This patent relates to nuclear reactors of the type which use a liquid fuel, such as a solution of uranyl sulfate in ordinary water which acts as the moderator. The reactor is comprised of a spherical vessel having a diameter of about 12 inches substantially surrounded by a reflector of beryllium oxide. Conventionnl control rods and safety rods are operated in slots in the reflector outside the vessel to control the operation of the reactor. An additional means for increasing the safety factor of the reactor by raising the ratio of delayed neutrons to prompt neutrons, is provided and consists of a soluble sulfate salt of beryllium dissolved in the liquid fuel in the proper proportion to obtain the result desired.

  8. REACTOR SHIELD

    DOEpatents

    Wigner, E.P.; Ohlinger, L.E.; Young, G.J.; Weinberg, A.M.

    1959-02-17

    Radiation shield construction is described for a nuclear reactor. The shield is comprised of a plurality of steel plates arranged in parallel spaced relationship within a peripheral shell. Reactor coolant inlet tubes extend at right angles through the plates and baffles are arranged between the plates at right angles thereto and extend between the tubes to create a series of zigzag channels between the plates for the circulation of coolant fluid through the shield. The shield may be divided into two main sections; an inner section adjacent the reactor container and an outer section spaced therefrom. Coolant through the first section may be circulated at a faster rate than coolant circulated through the outer section since the area closest to the reactor container is at a higher temperature and is more radioactive. The two sections may have separate cooling systems to prevent the coolant in the outer section from mixing with the more contaminated coolant in the inner section.

  9. NUCLEAR REACTOR

    DOEpatents

    Sherman, J.; Sharbaugh, J.E.; Fauth, W.L. Jr.; Palladino, N.J.; DeHuff, P.G.

    1962-10-23

    A nuclear reactor incorporating seed and blanket assemblies is designed. Means are provided for obtaining samples of the coolant from the blanket assemblies and for varying the flow of coolant through the blanket assemblies. (AEC)

  10. NEUTRONIC REACTORS

    DOEpatents

    Vernon, H.C.

    1959-01-13

    A neutronic reactor of the heterogeneous, fluid cooled tvpe is described. The reactor is comprised of a pressure vessel containing the moderator and a plurality of vertically disposed channels extending in spaced relationship through the moderator. Fissionable fuel material is placed within the channels in spaced relationship thereto to permit circulation of the coolant fluid. Separate means are provided for cooling the moderator and for circulating a fluid coolant thru the channel elements to cool the fuel material.

  11. NUCLEAR REACTOR

    DOEpatents

    Anderson, C.R.

    1962-07-24

    A fluidized bed nuclear reactor and a method of operating such a reactor are described. In the design means are provided for flowing a liquid moderator upwardly through the center of a bed of pellets of a nentron-fissionable material at such a rate as to obtain particulate fluidization while constraining the lower pontion of the bed into a conical shape. A smooth circulation of particles rising in the center and falling at the outside of the bed is thereby established. (AEC)

  12. NUCLEAR REACTOR

    DOEpatents

    Breden, C.R.; Dietrich, J.R.

    1961-06-20

    A water-soluble non-volatile poison may be introduced into a reactor to nullify excess reactivity. The poison is removed by passing a side stream of the water containing the soluble poison to an evaporation chamber. The vapor phase is returned to the reactor to decrease the concentration of soluble poison and the liquid phase is returned to increase the concentration of soluble poison.

  13. NUCLEAR REACTOR

    DOEpatents

    Grebe, J.J.

    1959-07-14

    High temperature reactors which are uniquely adapted to serve as the heat source for nuclear pcwered rockets are described. The reactor is comprised essentially of an outer tubular heat resistant casing which provides the main coolant passageway to and away from the reactor core within the casing and in which the working fluid is preferably hydrogen or helium gas which is permitted to vaporize from a liquid storage tank. The reactor core has a generally spherical shape formed entirely of an active material comprised of fissile material and a moderator material which serves as a diluent. The active material is fabricated as a gas permeable porous material and is interlaced in a random manner with very small inter-connecting bores or capillary tubes through which the coolant gas may flow. The entire reactor is divided into successive sections along the direction of the temperature gradient or coolant flow, each section utilizing materials of construction which are most advantageous from a nuclear standpoint and which at the same time can withstand the operating temperature of that particular zone. This design results in a nuclear reactor characterized simultaneously by a minimum critiral size and mass and by the ability to heat a working fluid to an extremely high temperature.

  14. A high-throughput thermoelectric power-factor screening tool for rapid construction of thermoelectric property diagrams

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Otani, M.; Lowhorn, N. D.; Schenck, P. K.; Wong-Ng, W.; Green, M. L.; Itaka, K.; Koinuma, H.

    2007-09-01

    The authors have developed a high-throughput screening tool that maps out thermoelectric power factors of combinatorial composition-spread film libraries. The screening tool allows one to measure the electrical conductivity and Seebeck coefficient of over 1000 sample points within 6h. Seebeck coefficients of standard films measured with the screening tool are in good agreement with those measured by traditional thermoelectric measurement apparatus. The rapid construction of thermoelectric property diagrams is illustrated for two systems: (Zn, Al)-O binary composition-spread film on Al2O3 (0001) and (Ca,Sr,La)3Co4O9 ternary composition-spread film on Si (100).

  15. Thermoelectrics. Dense dislocation arrays embedded in grain boundaries for high-performance bulk thermoelectrics.

    PubMed

    Kim, Sang Il; Lee, Kyu Hyoung; Mun, Hyeon A; Kim, Hyun Sik; Hwang, Sung Woo; Roh, Jong Wook; Yang, Dae Jin; Shin, Weon Ho; Li, Xiang Shu; Lee, Young Hee; Snyder, G Jeffrey; Kim, Sung Wng

    2015-04-01

    The widespread use of thermoelectric technology is constrained by a relatively low conversion efficiency of the bulk alloys, which is evaluated in terms of a dimensionless figure of merit (zT). The zT of bulk alloys can be improved by reducing lattice thermal conductivity through grain boundary and point-defect scattering, which target low- and high-frequency phonons. Dense dislocation arrays formed at low-energy grain boundaries by liquid-phase compaction in Bi(0.5)Sb(1.5)Te3 (bismuth antimony telluride) effectively scatter midfrequency phonons, leading to a substantially lower lattice thermal conductivity. Full-spectrum phonon scattering with minimal charge-carrier scattering dramatically improved the zT to 1.86 ± 0.15 at 320 kelvin (K). Further, a thermoelectric cooler confirmed the performance with a maximum temperature difference of 81 K, which is much higher than current commercial Peltier cooling devices. PMID:25838382

  16. Thermoelectrics. Dense dislocation arrays embedded in grain boundaries for high-performance bulk thermoelectrics.

    PubMed

    Kim, Sang Il; Lee, Kyu Hyoung; Mun, Hyeon A; Kim, Hyun Sik; Hwang, Sung Woo; Roh, Jong Wook; Yang, Dae Jin; Shin, Weon Ho; Li, Xiang Shu; Lee, Young Hee; Snyder, G Jeffrey; Kim, Sung Wng

    2015-04-01

    The widespread use of thermoelectric technology is constrained by a relatively low conversion efficiency of the bulk alloys, which is evaluated in terms of a dimensionless figure of merit (zT). The zT of bulk alloys can be improved by reducing lattice thermal conductivity through grain boundary and point-defect scattering, which target low- and high-frequency phonons. Dense dislocation arrays formed at low-energy grain boundaries by liquid-phase compaction in Bi(0.5)Sb(1.5)Te3 (bismuth antimony telluride) effectively scatter midfrequency phonons, leading to a substantially lower lattice thermal conductivity. Full-spectrum phonon scattering with minimal charge-carrier scattering dramatically improved the zT to 1.86 ± 0.15 at 320 kelvin (K). Further, a thermoelectric cooler confirmed the performance with a maximum temperature difference of 81 K, which is much higher than current commercial Peltier cooling devices.

  17. Dynamical thermoelectric coefficients of bulk semiconductor crystals: Towards high thermoelectric efficiency at high frequencies

    SciTech Connect

    Ezzahri, Younès Joulain, Karl

    2014-06-14

    We investigate in this work the fundamental behavior of the dynamical thermoelectric coefficients of a bulk cubic semiconductor (SC) crystal. The treatment is based on solving Boltzmann electron transport equation in the frequency domain after simultaneous excitations by dynamical temperature and electric potential gradients, within the framework of the single relaxation time approximation. The SC crystal is assumed to be a linear, elastic homogenous, and isotropic medium having a parabolic energy band structure. We further assume to deal with one type of carriers (electrons or holes) that reside in a single energy band, and we neglect any phonon drag effect. Our approach allows us to obtain very compact expressions for the different dynamical thermoelectric coefficients that nicely capture the essential features of the dynamics of electron transport. We emphasize our study about the dynamical behavior of the thermoelectric figure of merit ZT(Ω) of the SC crystal by considering the coupled electron-phonon transport. Our study revealed a very interesting and compelling result in which ZT increases in the high frequency regime with respect to its steady-state value. The fundamental reason of this enhancement is due to the intrinsic uncoupling in the dynamics of electrons and phonons in the high frequency regime.

  18. Amplification and reversal of Knudsen force by thermoelectric heating

    SciTech Connect

    O'Neill, William J.; Wada, Mizuki; Strongrich, Andrew D.; Cofer, Anthony; Alexeenko, Alina A.

    2014-12-09

    We show that the Knudsen thermal force generated by a thermally-induced flow over a heated beam near a colder wall could be amplified significantly by thermoelectric heating. Bidirectional actuation is achieved by switching the polarity of the thermoelectric device bias voltage. The measurements of the resulting thermal forces at different rarefaction regimes, realized by changing geometry and gas pressure, are done using torsional microbalance. The repulsive or attractive forces between a thermoelectrically heated or cooled plate and a substrate are shown to be up to an order of magnitude larger than for previously studied configurations and heating methods due to favorable coupling of two thermal gradients. The amplification and reversal of the Knudsen force is confirmed by numerical solution of the Boltzmann-ESBGK kinetic model equation. Because of the favorable scaling with decreasing system size, the Knudsen force with thermoelectric heating offers a novel actuation and sensing mechanism for nano/microsystems.

  19. Boosting thermoelectric efficiency using time-dependent control.

    PubMed

    Zhou, Hangbo; Thingna, Juzar; Hänggi, Peter; Wang, Jian-Sheng; Li, Baowen

    2015-01-01

    Thermoelectric efficiency is defined as the ratio of power delivered to the load of a device to the rate of heat flow from the source. Till date, it has been studied in presence of thermodynamic constraints set by the Onsager reciprocal relation and the second law of thermodynamics that severely bottleneck the thermoelectric efficiency. In this study, we propose a pathway to bypass these constraints using a time-dependent control and present a theoretical framework to study dynamic thermoelectric transport in the far from equilibrium regime. The presence of a control yields the sought after substantial efficiency enhancement and importantly a significant amount of power supplied by the control is utilised to convert the wasted-heat energy into useful-electric energy. Our findings are robust against nonlinear interactions and suggest that external time-dependent forcing, which can be incorporated with existing devices, provides a beneficial scheme to boost thermoelectric efficiency.

  20. High temperature material interactions of thermoelectric systems using silicon germanium.

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Stapfer, G.; Truscello, V. C.

    1973-01-01

    The efficient use of silicon germanium thermoelectric material for radioisotope thermoelectric generators (RTG) is achieved by operation at relatively high temperatures. The insulation technique which is most appropriate for this application uses multiple layers of molybdenum foil and astroquartz. Even so, the long term operation of these materials at elevated temperatures can cause material interaction to occur within the system. To investigate these material interactions, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory is currently testing a number of thermoelectric modules which use four silicon germanium thermoelectric couples in conjunction with the multifoil thermal insulation. The paper discusses the results of the ongoing four-couple module test program and correlates test results with those of a basic material test program.

  1. Electronic, phononic, and thermoelectric properties of graphyne sheets

    SciTech Connect

    Sevinçli, Hâldun; Sevik, Cem

    2014-12-01

    Electron, phonon, and thermoelectric transport properties of α-, β-, γ-, and 6,6,12-graphyne sheets are compared and contrasted with those of graphene. α-, β-, and 6,6,12-graphynes, with direction dependent Dirac dispersions, have higher electronic transmittance than graphene. γ-graphyne also attains better electrical conduction than graphene except at its band gap. Vibrationally, graphene conducts heat much more efficiently than graphynes, a behavior beyond an atomic density differences explanation. Seebeck coefficients of the considered Dirac materials are similar but thermoelectric power factors decrease with increasing effective speeds of light. γ-graphyne yields the highest thermoelectric efficiency with a thermoelectric figure of merit as high as ZT = 0.45, almost an order of magnitude higher than that of graphene.

  2. Organic thermoelectric materials for energy harvesting and temperature control

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Russ, Boris; Glaudell, Anne; Urban, Jeffrey J.; Chabinyc, Michael L.; Segalman, Rachel A.

    2016-10-01

    Conjugated polymers and related processing techniques have been developed for organic electronic devices ranging from lightweight photovoltaics to flexible displays. These breakthroughs have recently been used to create organic thermoelectric materials, which have potential for wearable heating and cooling devices, and near-room-temperature energy generation. So far, the best thermoelectric materials have been inorganic compounds (such as Bi2Te3) that have relatively low Earth abundance and are fabricated through highly complex vacuum processing routes. Molecular materials and hybrid organic–inorganic materials now demonstrate figures of merit approaching those of these inorganic materials, while also exhibiting unique transport behaviours that are suggestive of optimization pathways and device geometries that were not previously possible. In this Review, we discuss recent breakthroughs for organic materials with high thermoelectric figures of merit and indicate how these materials may be incorporated into new module designs that take advantage of their mechanical and thermoelectric properties.

  3. Anomalous thermoelectricity in strained Bi2Te3 films.

    PubMed

    Liu, Yucong; Chen, Jiadong; Deng, Huiyong; Hu, Gujin; Zhu, Daming; Dai, Ning

    2016-01-01

    Bi2Te3-based alloys have been intensively used for thermoelectric coolers and generators due to their high Seebeck coefficient S. So far, efforts to improve the S have been made mostly on changing the structures and components. Herein, we demonstrate an anomalous thermoelectricity in strained Bi2Te3 films, i.e., the value of S is obviously changed after reversing the direction of temperature gradient. Further theoretical and experimental analysis shows that it originates from the coupling of thermoelectric and flexoelectric effects caused by a stress gradient. Our finding provides a new avenue to adjust the S of Bi2Te3-based thermoelectric materials through flexoelectric polarization. PMID:27600406

  4. Multiphysics Simulation in the Development of Thermoelectric Energy Harvesting Systems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Nesarajah, Marco; Frey, Georg

    2016-03-01

    This contribution presents a model-based development process for thermoelectric energy harvesting systems. Such systems convert thermal energy into electrical energy and produce enough energy to supply low-power devices. Realizations require three main challenges to be solved: to guarantee optimal thermal connection of the thermoelectric generators, to find a good design for the energy harvesting system, and to find an optimal electrical connection. Therefore, a development process is presented here. The process is divided into different steps and supports the developer in finding an optimal thermoelectric energy harvesting system for a given heat source and given objectives (technical and economical). During the process, several steps are supported by simulation models. Based on developed model libraries in Modelica®/Dymola®, thermal, thermoelectrical, electrical, and control components can be modeled, integrated into different variants, and verified step by step before the system is physically built and finally validated. The process is illustrated by an example through all the steps.

  5. All dispenser printed flexible 3D structured thermoelectric generators

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cao, Z.; Shi, J. J.; Torah, R. N.; Tudor, M. J.; Beeby, S. P.

    2015-12-01

    This work presents a vertically fabricated 3D thermoelectric generator (TEG) by dispenser printing on flexible polyimide substrate. This direct-write technology only involves printing of electrodes, thermoelectric active materials and structure material, which needs no masks to transfer the patterns onto the substrate. The dimension for single thermoelectric element is 2 mm × 2 mm × 0.5 mm while the distance between adjacent cubes is 1.2 mm. The polymer structure layer was used to support the electrodes which are printed to connect the top ends of the thermoelectric material and ensure the flexibility as well. The advantages and the limitations of the dispenser printed 3D TEGs will also be evaluated in this paper. The proposed method is potential to be a low-cost and scalable fabrication solution for TEGs.

  6. Fiber optic signal amplifier using thermoelectric power generation

    DOEpatents

    Hart, M.M.

    1995-04-18

    A remote fiber optic signal amplifier for use as a repeater/amplifier, such as in transoceanic communications, powered by a Pu{sub 238} or Sr{sub 90} thermoelectric generator. The amplifier comprises a unit with connections on the receiving and sending sides of the communications system, and an erbium-doped fiber amplifier connecting each sending fiber to each receiving fiber. The thermoelectric generator, preferably a Pu{sub 238} or Sr{sub 90} thermoelectric generator delivers power to the amplifiers through a regulator. The heat exchange surfaces of the thermoelectric generator are made of materials resistant to corrosion and biological growth and are directly exposed to the outside, such as the ocean water in transoceanic communications. 2 figs.

  7. Fiber optic signal amplifier using thermoelectric power generation

    DOEpatents

    Hart, Mark M.

    1995-01-01

    A remote fiber optic signal amplifier for use as a repeater/amplifier, such as in transoceanic communications, powered by a Pu.sub.238 or Sr.sub.90 thermoelectric generator. The amplifier comprises a unit with connections on the receiving and sending sides of the communications system, and an erbium-doped fiber amplifier connecting each sending fiber to each receiving fiber. The thermoelectric generator, preferably a Pu.sub.238 or Sr.sub.90 thermoelectric generator delivers power to the amplifiers through a regulator. The heat exchange surfaces of the thermoelectric generator are made of materials resistant to corrosion and biological growth and are directly exposed to the outside, such as the ocean water in transoceanic communications.

  8. Multilayered carbon nanotube/polymer composite based thermoelectric fabrics.

    PubMed

    Hewitt, Corey A; Kaiser, Alan B; Roth, Siegmar; Craps, Matt; Czerw, Richard; Carroll, David L

    2012-03-14

    Thermoelectrics are materials capable of the solid-state conversion between thermal and electrical energy. Carbon nanotube/polymer composite thin films are known to exhibit thermoelectric effects, however, have a low figure of merit (ZT) of 0.02. In this work, we demonstrate individual composite films of multiwalled carbon nanotubes (MWNT)/polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF) that are layered into multiple element modules that resemble a felt fabric. The thermoelectric voltage generated by these fabrics is the sum of contributions from each layer, resulting in increased power output. Since these fabrics have the potential to be cheaper, lighter, and more easily processed than the commonly used thermoelectric bismuth telluride, the overall performance of the fabric shows promise as a realistic alternative in a number of applications such as portable lightweight electronics.

  9. A power conditioning system for radioisotope thermoelectric generator energy sources

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Gillis, J. A., Jr.

    1974-01-01

    The use of radioisotope thermoelectric generators (RTG) as the primary source of energy in unmanned spacecraft is discussed. RTG output control, power conditioning system requirements, the electrical design, and circuit performance are also discussed.

  10. Anomalous thermoelectricity in strained Bi2Te3 films

    PubMed Central

    Liu, Yucong; Chen, Jiadong; Deng, Huiyong; Hu, Gujin; Zhu, Daming; Dai, Ning

    2016-01-01

    Bi2Te3-based alloys have been intensively used for thermoelectric coolers and generators due to their high Seebeck coefficient S. So far, efforts to improve the S have been made mostly on changing the structures and components. Herein, we demonstrate an anomalous thermoelectricity in strained Bi2Te3 films, i.e., the value of S is obviously changed after reversing the direction of temperature gradient. Further theoretical and experimental analysis shows that it originates from the coupling of thermoelectric and flexoelectric effects caused by a stress gradient. Our finding provides a new avenue to adjust the S of Bi2Te3-based thermoelectric materials through flexoelectric polarization. PMID:27600406

  11. High-performance thermoelectric nanocomposites from nanocrystal building blocks

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ibáñez, Maria; Luo, Zhishan; Genç, Aziz; Piveteau, Laura; Ortega, Silvia; Cadavid, Doris; Dobrozhan, Oleksandr; Liu, Yu; Nachtegaal, Maarten; Zebarjadi, Mona; Arbiol, Jordi; Kovalenko, Maksym V.; Cabot, Andreu

    2016-03-01

    The efficient conversion between thermal and electrical energy by means of durable, silent and scalable solid-state thermoelectric devices has been a long standing goal. While nanocrystalline materials have already led to substantially higher thermoelectric efficiencies, further improvements are expected to arise from precise chemical engineering of nanoscale building blocks and interfaces. Here we present a simple and versatile bottom-up strategy based on the assembly of colloidal nanocrystals to produce consolidated yet nanostructured thermoelectric materials. In the case study on the PbS-Ag system, Ag nanodomains not only contribute to block phonon propagation, but also provide electrons to the PbS host semiconductor and reduce the PbS intergrain energy barriers for charge transport. Thus, PbS-Ag nanocomposites exhibit reduced thermal conductivities and higher charge carrier concentrations and mobilities than PbS nanomaterial. Such improvements of the material transport properties provide thermoelectric figures of merit up to 1.7 at 850 K.

  12. Boosting thermoelectric efficiency using time-dependent control.

    PubMed

    Zhou, Hangbo; Thingna, Juzar; Hänggi, Peter; Wang, Jian-Sheng; Li, Baowen

    2015-01-01

    Thermoelectric efficiency is defined as the ratio of power delivered to the load of a device to the rate of heat flow from the source. Till date, it has been studied in presence of thermodynamic constraints set by the Onsager reciprocal relation and the second law of thermodynamics that severely bottleneck the thermoelectric efficiency. In this study, we propose a pathway to bypass these constraints using a time-dependent control and present a theoretical framework to study dynamic thermoelectric transport in the far from equilibrium regime. The presence of a control yields the sought after substantial efficiency enhancement and importantly a significant amount of power supplied by the control is utilised to convert the wasted-heat energy into useful-electric energy. Our findings are robust against nonlinear interactions and suggest that external time-dependent forcing, which can be incorporated with existing devices, provides a beneficial scheme to boost thermoelectric efficiency. PMID:26464021

  13. Thermoelectric harvesting of low temperature natural/waste heat

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rowe, David Michael

    2012-06-01

    Apart from specialized space requirements current development in applications of thermoelectric generation mainly relate to reducing harmful carbon emissions and decreasing costly fuel consumption through the recovery of exhaust heat from fossil fuel powered engines and emissions from industrial utilities. Focus on these applications is to the detriment of the wider exploitations of thermoelectrics with other sources of heat energy, and in particular natural occurring and waste low temperature heat, receiving little, if any, attention. In this presentation thermoelectric generation applications, both potential and real in harvesting low temperature waste/natural heat are reviewed. The use of thermoelectrics to harvest solar energy, ocean thermal energy, geothermal heat and waste heat are discussed and their credibility as future large-scale sources of electrical power assessed.

  14. Fiber optic signal amplifier using thermoelectric power generation

    DOEpatents

    Hart, M.M.

    1993-01-01

    A remote fiber optic signal amplifier for use as a repeater/amplifier, such as in transoceanic communication, powered by a Pu{sub 238} or Sr{sub 90} thermoelectric generator. The amplifier comprises a unit with connections on the receiving and sending sides of the communications system, and an erbium-doped fiber amplifier connecting each sending fiber to each receiving fiber. The thermoelectric generator, preferably a Pu{sub 238} or Sr{sub 90} thermoelectric generator delivers power to the amplifiers through a regulator. The heat exchange surfaces of the thermoelectric generator are made of material resistant to corrosion and biological growth and are directly exposed to the outside, such as the ocean water in transoceanic communications.

  15. Boosting thermoelectric efficiency using time-dependent control

    PubMed Central

    Zhou, Hangbo; Thingna, Juzar; Hänggi, Peter; Wang, Jian-Sheng; Li, Baowen

    2015-01-01

    Thermoelectric efficiency is defined as the ratio of power delivered to the load of a device to the rate of heat flow from the source. Till date, it has been studied in presence of thermodynamic constraints set by the Onsager reciprocal relation and the second law of thermodynamics that severely bottleneck the thermoelectric efficiency. In this study, we propose a pathway to bypass these constraints using a time-dependent control and present a theoretical framework to study dynamic thermoelectric transport in the far from equilibrium regime. The presence of a control yields the sought after substantial efficiency enhancement and importantly a significant amount of power supplied by the control is utilised to convert the wasted-heat energy into useful-electric energy. Our findings are robust against nonlinear interactions and suggest that external time-dependent forcing, which can be incorporated with existing devices, provides a beneficial scheme to boost thermoelectric efficiency. PMID:26464021

  16. Thermoelectric properties of armchair and zigzag silicene nanoribbons.

    PubMed

    Pan, L; Liu, H J; Tan, X J; Lv, H Y; Shi, J; Tang, X F; Zheng, G

    2012-10-21

    Using the nonequilibrium Green's function method and nonequilibrium molecular dynamics simulations, we discuss the possibility of using silicene nanoribbons (SiNRs) as high performance thermoelectric materials. It is found that SiNRs are structurally stable if the edge atoms are passivated by hydrogen, and those with armchair edges usually exhibit much better thermoelectric performance than their zigzag counterparts. The room temperature ZT value of armchair SiNRs shows a width-dependent oscillating decay, while it decreases slowly with increasing ribbon width for the zigzag SiNRs. In addition, there is a strong temperature dependence of the thermoelectric performance of these SiNRs. Our theoretical calculations indicate that by optimizing the doping level and applied temperature, the ZT value of SiNRs could be enhanced to as high as 4.9 which suggests their very appealing thermoelectric applications.

  17. High Temperature Stable Nanocrystalline SiGe Thermoelectric Material

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Yang, Sherwin (Inventor); Matejczyk, Daniel Edward (Inventor); Determan, William (Inventor)

    2013-01-01

    A method of forming a nanocomposite thermoelectric material having microstructural stability at temperatures greater than 1000 C. The method includes creating nanocrystalline powder by cryomilling. The method is particularly useful in forming SiGe alloy powder.

  18. Thermoelectric skutterudite compositions and methods for producing the same

    DOEpatents

    Ren, Zhifeng; Yang, Jian; Yan, Xiao; He, Qinyu; Chen, Gang; Hao, Qing

    2014-11-11

    Compositions related to skutterudite-based thermoelectric materials are disclosed. Such compositions can result in materials that have enhanced ZT values relative to one or more bulk materials from which the compositions are derived. Thermoelectric materials such as n-type and p-type skutterudites with high thermoelectric figures-of-merit can include materials with filler atoms and/or materials formed by compacting particles (e.g., nanoparticles) into a material with a plurality of grains each having a portion having a skutterudite-based structure. Methods of forming thermoelectric skutterudites, which can include the use of hot press processes to consolidate particles, are also disclosed. The particles to be consolidated can be derived from (e.g., grinded from), skutterudite-based bulk materials, elemental materials, other non-Skutterudite-based materials, or combinations of such materials.

  19. Boosting thermoelectric efficiency using time-dependent control

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zhou, Hangbo; Thingna, Juzar; Hänggi, Peter; Wang, Jian-Sheng; Li, Baowen

    2015-10-01

    Thermoelectric efficiency is defined as the ratio of power delivered to the load of a device to the rate of heat flow from the source. Till date, it has been studied in presence of thermodynamic constraints set by the Onsager reciprocal relation and the second law of thermodynamics that severely bottleneck the thermoelectric efficiency. In this study, we propose a pathway to bypass these constraints using a time-dependent control and present a theoretical framework to study dynamic thermoelectric transport in the far from equilibrium regime. The presence of a control yields the sought after substantial efficiency enhancement and importantly a significant amount of power supplied by the control is utilised to convert the wasted-heat energy into useful-electric energy. Our findings are robust against nonlinear interactions and suggest that external time-dependent forcing, which can be incorporated with existing devices, provides a beneficial scheme to boost thermoelectric efficiency.

  20. Thermoelectric properties of gallium-doped p-type germanium

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ohishi, Yuji; Takarada, Sho; Aikebaier, Yusufu; Muta, Hiroaki; Kurosaki, Ken; Yamanaka, Shinsuke; Miyazaki, Yoshinobu; Uchida, Noriyuki; Tada, Tetsuya

    2016-05-01

    In this study, the temperature-dependent thermoelectric properties of p-type single-crystal Ge, which is a useful material for thermoelectric applications owing to its significantly high carrier mobility, were investigated. The thermoelectric properties of Ga-doped (5.7 × 1016, 3.4 × 1018, and 1.0 × 1019 cm-3) p-type single-crystal Ge were measured from room temperature to 770 K. The sample with a carrier concentration of 1.0 × 1019 cm-3 showed the highest thermoelectric figure of merit, ZT, over the entire measured temperature range. The maximum ZT value was 0.06 at 650 K. A theoretical model based on the Boltzmann transport equation with relaxation-time approximation was developed and quantitatively reproduced the experimentally observed data. The optimal impurity concentration predicted by this model was 3 × 1019 cm-3 at 300 K and increased with temperature.

  1. High-performance thermoelectric nanocomposites from nanocrystal building blocks.

    PubMed

    Ibáñez, Maria; Luo, Zhishan; Genç, Aziz; Piveteau, Laura; Ortega, Silvia; Cadavid, Doris; Dobrozhan, Oleksandr; Liu, Yu; Nachtegaal, Maarten; Zebarjadi, Mona; Arbiol, Jordi; Kovalenko, Maksym V; Cabot, Andreu

    2016-03-07

    The efficient conversion between thermal and electrical energy by means of durable, silent and scalable solid-state thermoelectric devices has been a long standing goal. While nanocrystalline materials have already led to substantially higher thermoelectric efficiencies, further improvements are expected to arise from precise chemical engineering of nanoscale building blocks and interfaces. Here we present a simple and versatile bottom-up strategy based on the assembly of colloidal nanocrystals to produce consolidated yet nanostructured thermoelectric materials. In the case study on the PbS-Ag system, Ag nanodomains not only contribute to block phonon propagation, but also provide electrons to the PbS host semiconductor and reduce the PbS intergrain energy barriers for charge transport. Thus, PbS-Ag nanocomposites exhibit reduced thermal conductivities and higher charge carrier concentrations and mobilities than PbS nanomaterial. Such improvements of the material transport properties provide thermoelectric figures of merit up to 1.7 at 850 K.

  2. Thermoelectric Skutterudite Compositions and Methods for Producing the Same

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Ren, Zhifeng (Inventor); Yang, Jian (Inventor); Yan, Xiao (Inventor); He, Qinyu (Inventor); Chen, Gang (Inventor); Hao, Qing (Inventor)

    2014-01-01

    Compositions related to skutterudite-based thermoelectric materials are disclosed. Such compositions can result in materials that have enhanced ZT values relative to one or more bulk materials from which the compositions are derived. Thermoelectric materials such as n-type and p-type skutterudites with high thermoelectric figures-of-merit can include materials with filler atoms and/or materials formed by compacting particles (e.g., nanoparticles) into a material with a plurality of grains each having a portion having a skutterudite-based structure. Methods of forming thermoelectric skutterudites, which can include the use of hot press processes to consolidate particles, are also disclosed. The particles to be consolidated can be derived from (e.g., grinded from), skutterudite-based bulk materials, elemental materials, other non-Skutterudite-based materials, or combinations of such materials.

  3. Refractory semiconductors for high temperature thermoelectric energy conversion

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Wood, Charles

    1987-01-01

    Thermoelectric energy conversion utilizing nuclear heat sources has been employed for several decades to generate power for deep space probes. In the past, lead telluride and, more recently, silicon-germanium alloys have been the prime choices as thermoelectric materials for this application. Currently, a number of refractory semiconductors are under investigation at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in order to produce power sources of higher conversion efficiency and, thus, lower mass per unit of power output. Included among these materials are improved Si-Ge alloys, rare earth compounds and boron-rich borides. The criteria used to select thermoelectric materials, in general, and the above materials, in particular, will be discussed. The current state of the art and the accomplishments to date in thermoelectric materials research will be reviewed.

  4. Mg2(Si,Sn)-based thermoelectric materials and devices

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gao, Peng

    Thermoelectric effects are phenomena found in materials that can achieve direct conversion between heat flow and electricity. One important application of thermoelectric effects is thermoelectric generators, which can generate electricity when a temperature gradient is applied. Thermoelectric generators make use of various sources of heat and it is considered a promising solution for waste heat recovery. The conversion efficiency of thermoelectric generators depends on the materials used in the devices. Significant improvement in the performance of thermoelectric materials has been made in the past few decades. However, most of the good thermoelectric materials being investigated have limitations, such as the high materials cost, high materials density and toxicity of the constituent elements. The Mg2(Si,Sn)-based materials studied in this work are promising candidates for thermoelectric generators in the mid-temperature range and have drawn increasing research interest in recent years because these materials are high performance thermoelectrics that are low cost, low-density and non-toxic. In this work, systematic studies were performed on the Mg2(Si,Sn) thermoelectric materials. Thermal phase stability was studied for different compositions of Mg2Si1-xSnx and Mg2Si0.4Sn 0.6 was used as base material for further optimization. Both n-type and p-type samples were obtained by doping the materials with different elements. Peak ZT ˜ 1.5 for the n-type and ZT ˜ 0.7 for the p-type materials were obtained, both of which are among the best reported results so far. Experimental work was also done to study the techniques to develop the Mg2Si 0.4Sn0.6 materials into working devices. Different electrode materials were tested in bonding experiment for this compound, and copper was found to be the best electrode material for Mg2Si 0.4Sn0.6. Preliminary work was done to demonstrate the possibility of fabricating a Mg2Si0.4Sn0.6-based thermoelectric generator and the result is

  5. Research reactors - an overview

    SciTech Connect

    West, C.D.

    1997-03-01

    A broad overview of different types of research and type reactors is provided in this paper. Reactor designs and operating conditions are briefly described for four reactors. The reactor types described include swimming pool reactors, the High Flux Isotope Reactor, the Mark I TRIGA reactor, and the Advanced Neutron Source reactor. Emphasis in the descriptions is placed on safety-related features of the reactors. 7 refs., 7 figs., 2 tabs.

  6. Thermoelectric generator and method for the fabrication thereof

    DOEpatents

    Benson, David K.; Tracy, C. Edwin

    1987-01-01

    A thermoelectric generator using semiconductor elements for responding to a temperature gradient to produce electrical energy with all of the semiconductor elements being of the same type is disclosed. A continuous process for forming substrates on which the semiconductor elements and superstrates are deposited and a process for forming the semiconductor elements on the substrates are also disclosed. The substrates with the semiconductor elements thereon are combined with superstrates to form modules for use thermoelectric generators.

  7. Thermoelectric generator and method for the fabrication thereof

    SciTech Connect

    Benson, D.K.; Tracy, C.E.

    1984-08-01

    A thermoelectric generator using semiconductor elements for responding to a temperature gradient to produce electrical energy with all of the semiconductor elements being of the same type is disclosed. A continuous process for forming substrates on which the semiconductor elements and superstrates are deposited and a process for forming the semiconductor elements on the substrates are also disclosed. The substrates with the semiconductor elements thereon are combined with superstrates to form modules for use as thermoelectric generators.

  8. Investigation of the photovoltaic cell/ thermoelectric element hybrid system performance

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cotfas, D. T.; Cotfas, P. A.; Machidon, O. M.; Ciobanu, D.

    2016-06-01

    The PV/TEG hybrid system, consisting of the photovoltaic cells and thermoelectric element, is presented in the paper. The dependence of the PV/TEG hybrid system parameters on the illumination levels and the temperature is analysed. The maxim power values of the photovoltaic cell, of the thermoelectric element and of the PV/TEG system are calculated and a comparison between them is presented and analysed. An economic analysis is also presented.

  9. Thermoelectric effects and magnetic field amplification in magnetogasdynamic turbulence

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Shebalin, John V.

    1991-06-01

    It will be shown that thermoelectric effects amplify magnetic fields in compressible magnetogasdynamic turbulence (though not nearly as much as occurs across a curved reently bowshock). The importance of this result lies in the recognition that thermoelectric effects (in addition to kinetic effects) provide a real mechanism for the amplification of magnetic field strength (and total energy dissipation through ohmic losses) in a compressible, turbulent plasma.

  10. Enhancement of automotive exhaust heat recovery by thermoelectric devices

    SciTech Connect

    Ibrahim, Essam; Szybist, James P; Parks, II, James E

    2010-01-01

    In an effort to improve automobile fuel economy, an experimental study is undertaken to explore practical aspects of implementing thermoelectric devices for exhaust gas energy recovery. A highly instrumented apparatus consisting of a hot (exhaust gas) and a cold (coolant liquid) side rectangular ducts enclosing the thermoelectric elements has been built. Measurements of thermoelectric voltage output and flow and surface temperatures were acquired and analyzed to investigate the power generation and heat transfer properties of the apparatus. Effects of inserting aluminum wool packing material inside the hot side duct on augmentation of heat transfer from the gas stream to duct walls were studied. Data were collected for both the unpacked and packed cases to allow for detection of packing influence on flow and surface temperatures. Effects of gas and coolant inlet temperatures as well as gas flow rate on the thermoelectric power output were examined. The results indicate that thermoelectric power production is increased at higher gas inlet temperature or flow rate. However, thermoelectric power generation decreases with a higher coolant temperature as a consequence of the reduced hot-cold side temperature differential. For the hot-side duct, a large temperature gradient exists between the gas and solid surface temperature due to poor heat transfer through the gaseous medium. Adding the packing material inside the exhaust duct enhanced heat transfer and hence raised hot-side duct surface temperatures and thermoelectric power compared to the unpacked duct, particularly where the gas-to-surface temperature differential is highest. Therefore it is recommended that packing of exhaust duct becomes common practice in thermoelectric waste energy harvesting applications.

  11. Thermoelectric device for treatment of radiculitis and spinal massage

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Anatychuk, L. I.; Kobylyansky, R. R.

    2012-06-01

    Results of development of a thermoelectric device that enables controlled cyclic temperature impact on the damaged area of human organism are presented. Unlike the existing medical devices employing direct supply current for thermoelectric module, the present device controls supply current according to time dependence of temperature change assigned by doctor. It is established that such a device is an efficient means of therapy at herniation of intervertebral disks with marked radiculitis and tunicary syndromes, at meningitis, other spinal diseases and back traumas.

  12. High Efficiency Thermoelectric Radioisotope Power Systems

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    El-Genk, Mohamed; Saber, Hamed; Caillat, Thierry

    2004-01-01

    The work performed and whose results presented in this report is a joint effort between the University of New Mexico s Institute for Space and Nuclear Power Studies (ISNPS) and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), California Institute of Technology. In addition to the development, design, and fabrication of skutterudites and skutterudites-based segmented unicouples this effort included conducting performance tests of these unicouples for hundreds of hours to verify theoretical predictions of the conversion efficiency. The performance predictions of these unicouples are obtained using 1-D and 3-D models developed for that purpose and for estimating the actual performance and side heat losses in the tests conducted at ISNPS. In addition to the performance tests, the development of the 1-D and 3-D models and the development of Advanced Radioisotope Power systems for Beginning-Of-Life (BOM) power of 108 We are carried out at ISNPS. The materials synthesis and fabrication of the unicouples are carried out at JPL. The research conducted at ISNPS is documented in chapters 2-5 and that conducted at JP, in documented in chapter 5. An important consideration in the design and optimization of segmented thermoelectric unicouples (STUs) is determining the relative lengths, cross-section areas, and the interfacial temperatures of the segments of the different materials in the n- and p-legs. These variables are determined using a genetic algorithm (GA) in conjunction with one-dimensional analytical model of STUs that is developed in chapter 2. Results indicated that when optimized for maximum conversion efficiency, the interfacial temperatures between various segments in a STU are close to those at the intersections of the Figure-Of-Merit (FOM), ZT, curves of the thermoelectric materials of the adjacent segments. When optimizing the STUs for maximum electrical power density, however, the interfacial temperatures are different from those at the intersections of the ZT curves, but

  13. Aerogel/Particle Composites for Thermoelectric Devices

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Paik, Jong-Ah; Sakamoto, Jeffrey; Jones, Steven

    2006-01-01

    Optimizing solution chemistry and the addition of titania and fumed silica powder reduces shrinkage. These materials would serve to increase thermal efficiency by providing thermal insulation to suppress lateral heat leaks. They would also serve to prolong operational lifetime by suppressing sublimation of certain constituents of thermoelectric materials (e.g., sublimation of Sb from CoSb3) at typical high operating temperatures. [The use of pure silica aerogels as cast-in-place thermal-insulation and sublimation-suppression materials was described in "Aerogels for Thermal Insulation of Thermoelectric Devices" (NPO-40630), NASA Tech Briefs, Vol. 30, No. 7 (July 2006), page 50.] A silica aerogel is synthesized in a solgel process that includes preparation of a silica sol, gelation of the sol, and drying of the gel in a solvent at a supercritical temperature and pressure. The utility of pure silica aerogel is diminished by a tendency to shrink (and, therefore, also to crack) during the gelation and supercritical-drying stages. Moreover, to increase suppression of sublimation, it is advantageous to make an aerogel having greater density, but shrinkage and cracking tend to increase with density. A composite material of the type under investigation consists mostly of titania oxide powder particles and a small addition of fumed silica powder, which are mixed into the sol along with other ingredients prior to the gelation stage of processing. The silica aerogel and fumed silica act as a binder, gluing the titania particles together. It is believed that the addition of fumed silica stiffens the aerogel network and reduces shrinkage during the supercritical-drying stage. Minimization of shrinkage enables establishment of intimate contact between thermoelectric legs and the composite material, thereby maximizing the effectiveness of the material for thermal insulation and suppression of sublimation. To some extent, the properties of the composite can be tailored via the

  14. NEUTRONIC REACTOR

    DOEpatents

    Ohlinger, L.A.; Wigner, E.P.; Weinberg, A.M.; Young, G.J.

    1958-09-01

    This patent relates to neutronic reactors of the heterogeneous water cooled type, and in particular to a fuel element charging and discharging means therefor. In the embodiment illustrated the reactor contains horizontal, parallel coolant tubes in which the fuel elements are disposed. A loading cart containing a magnzine for holding a plurality of fuel elements operates along the face of the reactor at the inlet ends of the coolant tubes. The loading cart is equipped with a ram device for feeding fuel elements from the magazine through the inlot ends of the coolant tubes. Operating along the face adjacent the discharge ends of the tubes there is provided another cart means adapted to receive irradiated fuel elements as they are forced out of the discharge ends of the coolant tubes by the incoming new fuel elements. This cart is equipped with a tank coataining a coolant, such as water, into which the fuel elements fall, and a hydraulically operated plunger to hold the end of the fuel element being discharged. This inveation provides an apparatus whereby the fuel elements may be loaded into the reactor, irradiated therein, and unloaded from the reactor without stopping the fiow of the coolant and without danger to the operating personnel.

  15. Cooling power of transverse thermoelectrics for cryogenic cooling

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Tang, Yang; Ma, Ming; Grayson, M.

    2016-05-01

    Transverse Peltier coolers have been experimentally and theoretically studied since 1960s due to their capability of achieving cooling in a single-leg geometry. Recently proposed pxn-type transverse thermoelectrics reveal the possibility of intrinsic or undoped transverse coolers that can, in principle, function at cryogenic temperatures, which has drawn more attention to the performance of such transverse coolers. However, unlike longitudinal thermoelectrics, the equations for transverse thermoelectrics cannot be solved analytically. In this study, we therefore calculate the thermoelectric transport in transverse coolers numerically, and introduce a normalized notation, which reduces the independent parameters in the governing equations to a normalized electric field E* and a hot-side transverse figure of merit zTh, only. A numerical study of the maximum cooling temperature difference and cooling power reveals the superior performance of transverse thermoelectric coolers compared to longitudinal coolers with the same figure of merit, providing another motivation in the search for new transverse thermoelectric materials with large figure of merit.

  16. Quantum interference in thermoelectric molecular junctions: A toy model perspective

    SciTech Connect

    Nozaki, Daijiro E-mail: research@nano.tu-dresden.de; Avdoshenko, Stas M.; Sevinçli, Hâldun; Cuniberti, Gianaurelio

    2014-08-21

    Quantum interference (QI) phenomena between electronic states in molecular circuits offer a new opportunity to design new types of molecular devices such as molecular sensors, interferometers, and thermoelectric devices. Controlling the QI effect is a key challenge for such applications. For the development of single molecular devices employing QI effects, a systematic study of the relationship between electronic structure and the quantum interference is needed. In order to uncover the essential topological requirements for the appearance of QI effects and the relationship between the QI-affected line shape of the transmission spectra and the electronic structures, we consider a homogeneous toy model where all on-site energies are identical and model four types of molecular junctions due to their topological connectivities. We systematically analyze their transmission spectra, density of states, and thermoelectric properties. Even without the degree of freedom for on-site energies an asymmetric Fano peak could be realized in the homogeneous systems with the cyclic configuration. We also calculate the thermoelectric properties of the model systems with and without fluctuation of on-site energies. Even under the fluctuation of the on-site energies, the finite thermoelectrics are preserved for the Fano resonance, thus cyclic configuration is promising for thermoelectric applications. This result also suggests the possibility to detect the cyclic configuration in the homogeneous systems and the presence of the QI features from thermoelectric measurements.

  17. Thermal Design of a Thermoelectric Micro-Generator

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hama, S.; Yabuki, T.; Tranchant, L.; Miyazaki, K.

    2015-12-01

    In this study, we fabricated micro thermoelectric power generator using freestanding film substrate, and we evaluated the performance of the generator from the standpoint of thermoelectric performance and thermal design. We fabricated a SiNx free-standing film substrate about 5 μm thick on Si wafer, using MEMS processes. Then, we prepared for both p and n type of bismuth telluride thermoelectric thin films by using a coaxial type vacuum arc evaporation method, and annealed for one hour at 573 K. As an electrode, Cu was deposited using a vacuum deposition method. We fabricated the thermoelectric power generator of 5 mm × 5 mm using a shadow mask for the patterning. The fabricated generator can create temperature difference of 22.3 K due to its high thermal resistance of the structure when the heat source temperature is 373 K. The exergy of the thermoelectric device is up to 7%. Therefore, the generator can convert about 0.4% of thermal energy into electric energy, even though the material performance is low with ZT = 0.28. The conversion efficiency is much higher than that of the conventional Π type thermoelectric module. It was possible to get higher performance by the thermal design, which is a more simple way than an improvement of ZT.

  18. Tuning Thermoelectric Properties of Chirality Selected Single Wall Carbon Nanotubes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Yanagi, Kazuhiro; Oshima, Yuki; Kitamura, Yoshimasa; Maniwa, Yutaka

    Thermoelectrics are a very important technology for efficiently converting waste heat into electric power. Hicks and Dresselhaus proposed an important approach to innovate the performance of thermoelectric devices, which involves using one-dimensional materials and properly tuning their Fermi level (PRB 1993). Therefore, understanding the relationship between the thermoelectric performance and the Fermi level of one-dimensional materials is of great importance to maximize their thermoelectric performance. Single wall carbon nanotube (SWCNT) is an ideal model for one-dimensional materials. Previously we reported continuous p-type and n-type control over the Seebeck coefficients of semiconducting SWCNT networks with diameter of 1.4 nm through an electric double layer transistor setup using an ionic liquid as the electrolyte (Yanagi et al., Nano Lett. 14, 6437 2014). We clarified the thermoelectric properties of semiconducting SWCNTs with diameter of 1.4 nm as a function of Fermi level. In this study, we investigated how the chiralities or electronic structures of SWCNTs influence on the thermoelectric properties. We found the significant difference in the line-shape of Seebeck coefficient as a function of gate voltage between the different electronic structures of SWCNTs.

  19. Nature of the Thermoelectric Power in Bipolar Semiconductors

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Titov, O. Yu; Bulat, L. P.; Gurevich, Yu. G.

    2016-08-01

    Thermoelectricity increasingly draws the attention of researchers because it can provide us with methods to generate environmentally clean energy and solid-state cooling. However, some problems in thermoelectricity's physics remain unsolved. In this paper, a new approach to thermoelectric phenomena is presented, one that uses a linear description of the nonequilibrium charge carrier transport. The role of nonequilibrium carriers of both surface and bulk recombination processes has been shown to be crucial even within the linear approximation. Electron and hole quasi-Fermi levels originated from the thermal field are explicitly obtained in the case of a thermoelectric current flowing through an external circuit; the necessary corresponding boundary conditions are obtained. For the first time, it is shown that the quasi-Fermi level of one of the carriers can be a nonmonotonous function of spatial coordinates. General expressions for the thermoelectric current, the thermo-electromotive force (thermo-emf), and the electrical resistance of bipolar semiconductors have been obtained. Also for the first time, the influence of both surface recombination and surface resistance in thermoelectric phenomena was taken into account.

  20. Printable thermoelectric devices and conductive patterns for medical applications

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lee, Jungmin; Kim, Hyunjung; Chen, Linfeng; Choi, Sang H.; Varadan, Vijay K.

    2012-10-01

    Remote point-of-care is expected to revolutionize the modern medical practice, and many efforts have been made for the development of wireless health monitoring systems for continuously detecting the physiological signals of patients. To make the remote point-of-care generally accepted and widely used, it is necessary to develop cost-effective and durable wireless health monitoring systems. Printing technique will be helpful for the fabrication of high-quality and low-cost medical devices and systems because it allows high-resolution and high-speed fabrication, low material consumption and nano-sized patterning on both flexible and rigid substrates. Furthermore, application of thermoelectric generators can replace conventional batteries as the power sources for wireless health monitoring systems because thermoelectric generators can convert the wasted heat or the heat from nature into electricity which is required for the operation of the wireless health monitoring systems. In this research, we propose the concept of printable thermoelectric devices and conductive patterns for the realization of more portable and cost-effective medical devices. To print thermoelectric generators and conductive patterns on substrates, printing inks with special characteristics should be developed. For the development of thermoelectric inks, nano-structured thermoelectric materials are synthesized and characterized; and for the development of conductive inks, two kinds of surface treated carbon nanotubes are used as active materials.

  1. Experimental Investigation on Effect of Adhesives on Thermoelectric Generator Performance

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Singh, Baljit; Remeli, Muhammad Fairuz; Chet, Ding Lai; Oberoi, Amandeep; Date, Abhijit; Akbarzadeh, Aliakbar

    2015-06-01

    Thermoelectric generators (TEGs) convert heat energy into electricity. Currently, these devices are attached to heat exchangers by means of mechanical devices such as clamps or fixtures with nuts and bolts. These mechanical devices are not suitable for use in harsh environments due to problems with rusting and maintenance. To eliminate the need for such mechanical devices, various kinds of adhesives used to attach thermoelectric generators to heat exchangers are investigated experimentally in this work. These adhesives have been selected based on their thermal properties and also their stability to work in harsh environments to avoid damage to the integrity of the attachment over long periods of time. Stainless-steel plates were attached to a thermoelectric generator using the adhesives. The introduction of the adhesive as a means of attachment for thermoelectric generators contributes to increase the thermal resistance to heat transfer across the TEG. The adhesive layers increased the thermal resistance of the thermoelectric generator by 16% to 109%. This work examines the effect of the adhesives on the thermal performance and power output of a single thermoelectric generator for various heat inputs.

  2. Thermoelectric power generation for hybrid-electric vehicle auxiliary power

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Headings, Leon M.; Washington, Gregory N.; Midlam-Mohler, Shawn; Heremans, Joseph P.

    2009-03-01

    The plug-in hybrid-electric vehicle (PHEV) concept allows for a moderate driving range in electric mode but uses an onboard range extender to capitalize on the high energy density of fuels using a combustion-based generator, typically using an internal combustion engine. An alternative being developed here is a combustion-based thermoelectric generator in order to develop systems technologies which capitalize on the high power density and inherent benefits of solid-state thermoelectric power generation. This thermoelectric power unit may find application in many military, industrial, and consumer applications including range extension for PHEVs. In this research, a baseline prototype was constructed using a novel multi-fuel atomizer with diesel fuel, a conventional thermoelectric heat exchange configuration, and a commercially available bismuth telluride module (maximum 225°C). This prototype successfully demonstrated the viability of diesel fuel for thermoelectric power generation, provided a baseline performance for evaluating future improvements, provided the mechanism to develop simulation and analysis tools and methods, and highlighted areas requiring development. The improvements in heat transfer efficiency using catalytic combustion were evaluated, the system was redesigned to operate at temperatures around 500 °C, and the performance of advanced high temperature thermoelectric modules was examined.

  3. Decreasing the Effective Thermal Conductivity in Glass Supported Thermoelectric Layers.

    PubMed

    Bethke, Kevin; Andrei, Virgil; Rademann, Klaus

    2016-01-01

    As thermoelectric devices begin to make their way into commercial applications, the emphasis is put on decreasing the thermal conductivity. In this purely theoretical study, finite element analysis is used to determine the effect of a supporting material on the thermal conductivity of a thermoelectric module. The simulations illustrate the heat transfer along a sample, consisting from Cu, Cu2O and PbTe thermoelectric layers on a 1 mm thick Pyrex glass substrate. The influence of two different types of heating, at a constant temperature and at a constant heat flux, is also investigated. It is revealed that the presence of a supporting material plays an important role on lowering the effective thermal conductivity of the layer-substrate ensemble. By using thinner thermoelectric layers the effective thermal conductivity is further reduced, almost down to the value of the glass substrate. As a result, the temperature gradient becomes steeper for a fixed heating temperature, which allows the production of devices with improved performance under certain conditions. Based on the simulation results, we also propose a model for a robust thin film thermoelectric device. With this suggestion, we invite the thermoelectric community to prove the applicability of the presented concept for practical purposes.

  4. Improved Thermoelectric Behavior of Nanotube-Filled Polymer Composites

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Grunlan, Jaime; Yu, Choongho; Kim, Yeon Seok; Choi, Kyungwho; Kim, Dasarayong

    2010-03-01

    The thermoelectric properties of single-walled carbon nanotube (SWNT)-filled polymer composites can be enhanced by modifying junctions between SWNTs using poly(3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene):poly(styrenesulfonate) (PEDOT:PSS) The resulting composites exhibit electrical conductivities up to ˜40,000 S/m without significantly altering thermopower (or Seebeck coefficient). On the other hand, thermal transport remains comparable to typical polymeric materials due to the dissimilar bonding and vibrational spectra between CNT and PEDOT:PSS. This behavior is very different from that of typical semiconductors whose thermoelectric properties are strongly correlated. SWNT-filled composites, made with an aqueous poly(vinyl acetate) emulsion (dried at room temperature followed by 80^oC) exhibited the best thermoelectric performance in this study. The highest thermoelectric figure of merit (ZT) in this study is ˜0.02 at room temperature, which is at least one order magnitude higher than most polymers and higher than that of bulk Si. Further studies with various polymers and nanoparticles with high thermoelectric performance could result in economical, light-weight, and efficient polymer-based thermoelectrics.

  5. Decreasing the Effective Thermal Conductivity in Glass Supported Thermoelectric Layers

    PubMed Central

    Bethke, Kevin; Andrei, Virgil; Rademann, Klaus

    2016-01-01

    As thermoelectric devices begin to make their way into commercial applications, the emphasis is put on decreasing the thermal conductivity. In this purely theoretical study, finite element analysis is used to determine the effect of a supporting material on the thermal conductivity of a thermoelectric module. The simulations illustrate the heat transfer along a sample, consisting from Cu, Cu2O and PbTe thermoelectric layers on a 1 mm thick Pyrex glass substrate. The influence of two different types of heating, at a constant temperature and at a constant heat flux, is also investigated. It is revealed that the presence of a supporting material plays an important role on lowering the effective thermal conductivity of the layer-substrate ensemble. By using thinner thermoelectric layers the effective thermal conductivity is further reduced, almost down to the value of the glass substrate. As a result, the temperature gradient becomes steeper for a fixed heating temperature, which allows the production of devices with improved performance under certain conditions. Based on the simulation results, we also propose a model for a robust thin film thermoelectric device. With this suggestion, we invite the thermoelectric community to prove the applicability of the presented concept for practical purposes. PMID:26982458

  6. Theoretical Approach to Predict the Performance of Thermoelectric Generator Modules

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Elarusi, Abdulmunaem H.; Fagehi, Hassan; Lee, Hosung; Attar, Alaa

    2016-10-01

    The aim of this work was to examine the validity of the thermoelectric modules' performance predicted by formulating the effective thermoelectric material properties. The three maximum parameters (output power, current, and efficiency) are defined in terms of the average temperature of the thermoelectric generator (TEG). These three maximum parameters, which are either taken from commercial TEG modules or measurements for particular operating conditions, are used to define the effective material properties (Seebeck coefficient, thermal conductivity, and electrical resistivity). The commercial performance curves provided by the manufacturer were compared with the results obtained here by the effective material properties with the simple standard thermoelectric equations. It has been found that this technique predicts the performance of four commercial thermoelectric modules with fair to good accuracy. The characteristics of the TEGs were represented using the normalized charts constructed by formulating the parameters as a fraction of over the maximum parameters. The normalized charts would be universal for any given TEG module once the thermoelectric material is known.

  7. Scalable Routes to Efficient Thermoelectric Materials

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Feser, Joseph Patrick

    Thermoelectrics are solid-state materials with the ability to directly convert heat to electricity and visa versa. Despite their advantages in power density and reliability, state-of-the-art bulk alloy materials have not been efficient enough or inexpensive enough to be deployed widely. Newer nanostructured materials show significantly improved efficiencies and could overcome these long-standing problems. This dissertation studies the conditions that govern efficiency improvements in nanostructured materials with particular attention paid to lattice thermal conductivity reductions as well as methods to make such materials inexpensively using solution processing. Measurements of a new p-type material system, In1-xGa xSb doped with epitaxially embedded metallic ErSb nanocrystals show that lattice thermal conductivity is reduced significantly below the alloy limit with as little as 1% nanocrystal loading by volume. Theoretical modeling based on the Boltzmann transport equation (BTE) is able to explain the reductions on the basis of an increased scattering cross section for long wavelength phonons which are scattered much less effectively by phonon-phonon and alloy impurity interactions. The optimal conditions for nanoparticle size, concentration, alloy composition are explored and the existence of an optimal nanocrystal size which depends on the alloy composition and temperature is predicted. A variety of colloidal nanocrystals are explored as inexpensive building blocks for nanostructured thermoelectric materials with tunable electronic and thermal properties. First, the electronic properties of superlattices of PbSe nanocrystals are studied in the limit of strong quantum confinement (d<10nm). PbSe quantum dot superlattices show size-dependent Seebeck coefficient which exceed that of the bulk material at equivalent carrier concentrations. Reversible control of the carrier concentration is shown by surface exposure of the superlattices to oxidizing and reducing agents

  8. A promising new thermoelectric material - Ruthenium silicide

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Vining, Cronin B.; Mccormack, Joseph A.; Zoltan, Andrew; Zoltan, Leslie D.

    1991-01-01

    Experimental and theoretical efforts directed toward increasing thermoelectric figure of merit values by a factor of 2 or 3 have been encouraging in several respects. An accurate and detailed theoretical model developed for n-type silicon-germanium (SiGe) indicates that ZT values several times higher than currently available are expected under certain conditions. These new, high ZT materials are expected to be significantly different from SiGe, but not unreasonably so. Several promising candidate materials have been identified which may meet the conditions required by theory. One such candidate, ruthenium silicide, currently under development at JPL, has been estimated to have the potential to exhibit figure of merit values 4 times higher than conventional SiGe materials. Recent results are summarized.

  9. Thermoelectric properties of pressed bismuth nanoparticles

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hostler, Stephen R.; Qu, Yu Qiao; Demko, Michael T.; Abramson, Alexis R.; Qiu, Xiaofeng; Burda, Clemens

    2008-03-01

    Theory predicts a substantial increase in the dimensionless figure of merit as the dimensionality and characteristic size of a material are decreased. We explore the use of bismuth nanoparticles pressed into pellets as potential increased efficiency thermoelectric materials. The figure of merit of these pellets is determined by independently measuring the electrical conductivity, thermal conductivity and Seebeck coefficient. The results from the nanoparticle sample are compared to microparticle-based samples. Both sample types show a slight reduction in thermal conductivity relative to bulk bismuth and a Seebeck coefficient near or slightly larger in magnitude than bulk bismuth. These changes are dwarfed by a hundred-fold decrease in the electrical conductivity due to porosity and an oxide layer on the particles. The low conductivity leads to figures of merit at least two orders of magnitude smaller than bulk bismuth. Oxide layer removal and reduced pellet porosity will be required to increase the figure of merit.

  10. Materials for high-temperature thermoelectric conversion

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Feigelson, R. S.; Elwell, D.

    1983-01-01

    High boron materials of high efficiency for thermoelectric power generation and capable of prolonged operation at temperatures over 1200 C are discussed. Background theoretical studies indicated that the low carrier mobility of materials with beta boron and related structures is probably associated with the high density of traps. Experimental work was mainly concerned with silicon borides in view of promising data from European laboratories. A systematic study using structure determination and lattice constant measurements failed to confirm the existence of an SiBn phase. Only SiB6 and a solid solution of silicon in beta boron with a maximum solid solubility of 5.5-6 at % at 1650 C were found.

  11. Lossless hybridization between photovoltaic and thermoelectric devices

    PubMed Central

    Park, Kwang-Tae; Shin, Sun-Mi; Tazebay, Abdullah S.; Um, Han-Don; Jung, Jin-Young; Jee, Sang-Won; Oh, Min-Wook; Park, Su-Dong; Yoo, Bongyoung; Yu, Choongho; Lee, Jung-Ho

    2013-01-01

    The optimal hybridization of photovoltaic (PV) and thermoelectric (TE) devices has long been considered ideal for the efficient harnessing solar energy. Our hybrid approach uses full spectrum solar energy via lossless coupling between PV and TE devices while collecting waste energy from thermalization and transmission losses from PV devices. Achieving lossless coupling makes the power output from the hybrid device equal to the sum of the maximum power outputs produced separately from individual PV and TE devices. TE devices need to have low internal resistances enough to convey photo-generated currents without sacrificing the PV fill factor. Concomitantly, a large number of p-n legs are preferred to drive a high Seebeck voltage in TE. Our simple method of attaching a TE device to a PV device has greatly improved the conversion efficiency and power output of the PV device (~30% at a 15°C temperature gradient across a TE device). PMID:23820973

  12. Natural Thermoelectric Heat Pump in Social Wasps

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ishay, Jacob S.; Pertsis, Vitaly; Rave, Eran; Goren, Alon; Bergman, David J.

    2003-05-01

    Photographs of wasps or hornets, taken with different temperature sensitive infrared cameras, reveal body temperatures that are sometimes significantly lower than the ambient temperature. This suggests that the hornets possess an intrinsic biological heat pump mechanism which can be used to achieve such cooling. Evidence is presented to substantiate this novel suggestion and to argue that the heat pump is most likely implemented by exploiting a thermoelectric effect in the hornet cuticle. Such a natural heat pump can conceivably also serve to cool the active hornet, engaged in daytime activities outside the nest at ambient temperatures exceeding 40 °C, to a body temperature that is low enough to allow its survival in extreme thermal conditions. It might also function as a means of raising the body temperature up to a level that enables the hornet to remain active even when the ambient temperature is as low as 10 °C.

  13. Thermoelectric Fabrics: Toward Power Generating Clothing

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Du, Yong; Cai, Kefeng; Chen, Song; Wang, Hongxia; Shen, Shirley Z.; Donelson, Richard; Lin, Tong

    2015-03-01

    Herein, we demonstrate that a flexible, air-permeable, thermoelectric (TE) power generator can be prepared by applying a TE polymer (e.g. poly(3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene):poly(4-styrenesulfonate)) coated commercial fabric and subsequently by linking the coated strips with a conductive connection (e.g. using fine metal wires). The poly(3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene):poly(4-styrenesulfonate) coated fabric shows very stable TE properties from 300 K to 390 K. The fabric device can generate a TE voltage output (V) of 4.3 mV at a temperature difference (ΔT) of 75.2 K. The potential for using fabric TE devices to harvest body temperature energy has been discussed. Fabric-based TE devices may be useful for the development of new power generating clothing and self-powered wearable electronics.

  14. Thermoelectric properties by high temperature annealing

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Ren, Zhifeng (Inventor); Chen, Gang (Inventor); Kumar, Shankar (Inventor); Lee, Hohyun (Inventor)

    2009-01-01

    The present invention generally provides methods of improving thermoelectric properties of alloys by subjecting them to one or more high temperature annealing steps, performed at temperatures at which the alloys exhibit a mixed solid/liquid phase, followed by cooling steps. For example, in one aspect, such a method of the invention can include subjecting an alloy sample to a temperature that is sufficiently elevated to cause partial melting of at least some of the grains. The sample can then be cooled so as to solidify the melted grain portions such that each solidified grain portion exhibits an average chemical composition, characterized by a relative concentration of elements forming the alloy, that is different than that of the remainder of the grain.

  15. Strongly correlated thermoelectric transport beyond linear response

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dutt, Prasenjit; Le Hur, Karyn

    2013-12-01

    We investigate nonlinear thermoelectric transport through quantum impurity systems with strong on-site interactions. We show that the steady-state transport through interacting quantum impurities in contact with electron reservoirs at significantly different temperatures can be captured by an effective-equilibrium density matrix, expressed compactly in terms of the Lippmann-Schwinger operators of the system. In addition, the reservoirs can be maintained at arbitrary chemical potentials. The interplay between the temperature gradient and bias voltage gives rise to a nontrivial breaking of particle-hole symmetry in the strongly correlated regime, manifest in the Abrikosov-Suhl localized electron resonance. This purely many-body effect, which is in agreement with experimental results, is beyond the purview of mean-field arguments.

  16. Thermoelectric fabrics: toward power generating clothing.

    PubMed

    Du, Yong; Cai, Kefeng; Chen, Song; Wang, Hongxia; Shen, Shirley Z; Donelson, Richard; Lin, Tong

    2015-03-23

    Herein, we demonstrate that a flexible, air-permeable, thermoelectric (TE) power generator can be prepared by applying a TE polymer (e.g. poly(3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene):poly(4-styrenesulfonate)) coated commercial fabric and subsequently by linking the coated strips with a conductive connection (e.g. using fine metal wires). The poly(3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene):poly(4-styrenesulfonate) coated fabric shows very stable TE properties from 300 K to 390 K. The fabric device can generate a TE voltage output (V) of 4.3 mV at a temperature difference (ΔT) of 75.2 K. The potential for using fabric TE devices to harvest body temperature energy has been discussed. Fabric-based TE devices may be useful for the development of new power generating clothing and self-powered wearable electronics.

  17. Thermoelectric Fabrics: Toward Power Generating Clothing

    PubMed Central

    Du, Yong; Cai, Kefeng; Chen, Song; Wang, Hongxia; Shen, Shirley Z.; Donelson, Richard; Lin, Tong

    2015-01-01

    Herein, we demonstrate that a flexible, air-permeable, thermoelectric (TE) power generator can be prepared by applying a TE polymer (e.g. poly(3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene):poly(4-styrenesulfonate)) coated commercial fabric and subsequently by linking the coated strips with a conductive connection (e.g. using fine metal wires). The poly(3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene):poly(4-styrenesulfonate) coated fabric shows very stable TE properties from 300 K to 390 K. The fabric device can generate a TE voltage output (V) of 4.3 mV at a temperature difference (ΔT) of 75.2 K. The potential for using fabric TE devices to harvest body temperature energy has been discussed. Fabric-based TE devices may be useful for the development of new power generating clothing and self-powered wearable electronics. PMID:25804132

  18. Thermoelectric energy conversion with solid electrolytes

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Cole, T.

    1983-01-01

    The alkali metal thermoelectric converter (AMTEC) is a device for the direct conversion of heat to electrical energy. The sodium ion conductor beta-double prime-alumina is used to form a high-temperature regenerative concentration cell for elemental sodium. An AMTEC of mature design should have an efficiency of 20 to 40 percent, a power density of 0.5 kilowatt per kilogram or more, no moving parts, low maintenance requirements, high durability, and efficiency independent of size. It should be usable with high-temperature combustion, nuclear, or solar heat sources. Experiments have demonstrated the feasibility of the AMTEC and confirmed the theoretical analysis of the device. A wide range of applications from aerospace power to utility power plants appears possible.

  19. POWER REACTOR

    DOEpatents

    Zinn, W.H.

    1958-07-01

    A fast nuclear reactor system ls described for producing power and radioactive isotopes. The reactor core is of the heterogeneous, fluid sealed type comprised of vertically arranged elongated tubular fuel elements having vertical coolant passages. The active portion is surrounded by a neutron reflector and a shield. The system includes pumps and heat exchangers for the primary and secondary coolant circuits. The core, primary coolant pump and primary heat exchanger are disposed within an irapenforate tank which is filled with the primary coolant, in this case a liquid metal such as Na or NaK, to completely submerge these elements. The tank is completely surrounded by a thick walled concrete shield. This reactor system utilizes enriched uranium or plutonium as the fissionable material, uranium or thorium as a diluent and thorium or uranium containing less than 0 7% of the U/sup 235/ isotope as a fertile material.

  20. NEUTRONIC REACTOR

    DOEpatents

    Metcalf, H.E.

    1957-10-01

    A reactor of the type which preferably uses plutonium as the fuel and a liquid moderator, preferably ordinary water, and which produces steam within the reactor core due to the heat of the chain reaction is described. In the reactor shown the fuel elements are essentially in the form of trays and are ventically stacked in spaced relationship. The water moderator is continuously supplied to the trays to maintain a constant level on the upper surfaces of the fuel element as it is continually evaporated by the heat. The steam passes out through the spaces between the fuel elements and is drawn off at the top of the core. The fuel elements are clad in aluminum to prevent deterioration thereof with consequent contamimation of the water.

  1. NUCLEAR REACTOR

    DOEpatents

    Christy, R.F.

    1958-07-15

    A nuclear reactor of the homogeneous liquid fuel type is described wherein the fissionable isotope is suspended or dissolved in a liquid moderator such as water. The reactor core is comprised essentially of a spherical vessel for containing the reactive composition surrounded by a reflector, preferably of beryllium oxide. The reactive composition may be an ordinary water solution of a soluble salt of uranium, the quantity of fissionable isotope in solution being sufficient to provide a critical mass in the vessel. The liquid fuel is stored in a tank of non-crtttcal geometry below the reactor vessel and outside of the reflector and is passed from the tank to the vessel through a pipe connecting the two by air pressure means. Neutron absorbing control and safety rods are operated within slots in the reflector adjacent to the vessel.

  2. Bioconversion reactor

    DOEpatents

    McCarty, Perry L.; Bachmann, Andre

    1992-01-01

    A bioconversion reactor for the anaerobic fermentation of organic material. The bioconversion reactor comprises a shell enclosing a predetermined volume, an inlet port through which a liquid stream containing organic materials enters the shell, and an outlet port through which the stream exits the shell. A series of vertical and spaced-apart baffles are positioned within the shell to force the stream to flow under and over them as it passes from the inlet to the outlet port. The baffles present a barrier to the microorganisms within the shell causing them to rise and fall within the reactor but to move horizontally at a very slow rate. Treatment detention times of one day or less are possible.

  3. REACTOR CONTROL

    DOEpatents

    Fortescue, P.; Nicoll, D.

    1962-04-24

    A control system employed with a high pressure gas cooled reactor in which a control rod is positioned for upward and downward movement into the neutron field from a position beneath the reactor is described. The control rod is positioned by a coupled piston cylinder releasably coupled to a power drive means and the pressurized coolant is directed against the lower side of the piston. The coolant pressure is offset by a higher fiuid pressure applied to the upper surface of the piston and means are provided for releasing the higher pressure on the upper side of the piston so that the pressure of the coolant drives the piston upwardly, forcing the coupled control rod into the ncutron field of the reactor. (AEC)

  4. Catalytic reactor

    SciTech Connect

    Aaron, Timothy Mark; Shah, Minish Mahendra; Jibb, Richard John

    2009-03-10

    A catalytic reactor is provided with one or more reaction zones each formed of set(s) of reaction tubes containing a catalyst to promote chemical reaction within a feed stream. The reaction tubes are of helical configuration and are arranged in a substantially coaxial relationship to form a coil-like structure. Heat exchangers and steam generators can be formed by similar tube arrangements. In such manner, the reaction zone(s) and hence, the reactor is compact and the pressure drop through components is minimized. The resultant compact form has improved heat transfer characteristics and is far easier to thermally insulate than prior art compact reactor designs. Various chemical reactions are contemplated within such coil-like structures such that as steam methane reforming followed by water-gas shift. The coil-like structures can be housed within annular chambers of a cylindrical housing that also provide flow paths for various heat exchange fluids to heat and cool components.

  5. NEUTRONIC REACTORS

    DOEpatents

    Wigner, E.P.; Young, G.J.

    1958-10-14

    A method is presented for loading and unloading rod type fuel elements of a neutronic reactor of the heterogeneous, solld moderator, liquid cooled type. In the embodiment illustrated, the fuel rods are disposed in vertical coolant channels in the reactor core. The fuel rods are loaded and unloaded through the upper openings of the channels which are immersed in the coolant liquid, such as water. Unloading is accomplished by means of a coffer dam assembly having an outer sleeve which is placed in sealing relation around the upper opening. A radiation shield sleeve is disposed in and reciprocable through the coffer dam sleeve. A fuel rod engaging member operates through the axial bore in the radiation shield sleeve to withdraw the fuel rod from its position in the reactor coolant channel into the shield, the shield snd rod then being removed. Loading is accomplished in the reverse procedure.

  6. Impacting Energy Utilization: the Role of Thermoelectrics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Morelli, Donald

    2010-03-01

    The dawn of the 21^st Century has starkly illuminated new challenges in the area of energy production and use: a rapidly increasing worldwide demand, dwindling supply, and the overarching threat of environmental damage due to energy utilization. These are not temporary inconveniences but rather harsh realities of a new world: energy reserves whose creation took millions of years are being depleted by an increasingly energy-hungry global society. How can science respond to these new challenges? To answer this question it is useful to think in terms of both short-term and long-term strategies. In the long term, we must develop sustainable carbon-free energy technologies. In the short-term, we must impact utilization of traditional sources of energy, especially in terms of increasing the efficiency of energetic processes. Here we note that in terms of overall energy usage in the United States, more than half of the energy produced by traditional energy sources is lost, mostly in the form of heat. This ``lost'' energy, which arises due to the inefficiency of thermal processes, represents a vast amount of energy that can be made available for usage now. Increasing the efficiency of industrial processes thus should be a major goal of a short-term energy research effort. A very promising approach to this problem is the development of new semiconducting thermoelectric materials capable of efficiently converting heat to electricity. A better understanding of the electronic and thermal transport properties of solids, new synthesis methods, and the use of nanotechnology have brought fresh and exciting progress to this old problem. We describe some of the materials science successes and remaining challenges in thermoelectric energy conversion and how these materials might be implemented in future devices and systems.

  7. NUCLEAR REACTOR

    DOEpatents

    Young, G.

    1963-01-01

    This patent covers a power-producing nuclear reactor in which fuel rods of slightly enriched U are moderated by heavy water and cooled by liquid metal. The fuel rods arranged parallel to one another in a circle are contained in a large outer closed-end conduit that extends into a tank containing the heavy water. Liquid metal is introduced into the large conduit by a small inner conduit that extends within the circle of fuel rods to a point near the lower closed end of the outer conduit. (AEC) Production Reactors

  8. NEUTRONIC REACTOR

    DOEpatents

    Fermi, E.; Szilard, L.

    1957-09-24

    Reactors of the type employing plates of natural uranium in a moderator are discussed wherein the plates are um-formly disposed in parallel relationship to each other thereby separating the moderator material into distinct and individual layers. Each plate has an uninterrupted sunface area substantially equal to the cross-sectional area of the active portion of the reactor, the particular size of the plates and the volume ratio of moderator to uranium required to sustain a chain reaction being determinable from the known purity of these materials and other characteristics such as the predictable neutron losses due to the formation of radioactive elements of extremely high neutron capture cross section.

  9. NEUTRONIC REACTOR

    DOEpatents

    Wigner, E.P.; Weinberg, A.W.; Young, G.J.

    1958-04-15

    A nuclear reactor which uses uranium in the form of elongated tubes as fuel elements and liquid as a coolant is described. Elongated tubular uranium bodies are vertically disposed in an efficient neutron slowing agent, such as graphite, for example, to form a lattice structure which is disposed between upper and lower coolant tanks. Fluid coolant tubes extend through the uranium bodies and communicate with the upper and lower tanks and serve to convey the coolant through the uranium body. The reactor is also provided with means for circulating the cooling fluid through the coolant tanks and coolant tubes, suitable neutron and gnmma ray shields, and control means.

  10. Reactor Lithium Heat Pipes for HP-STMCs Space Reactor Power System

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Tournier, Jean-Michel; El-Genk, Mohamed S.

    2004-02-01

    Design and performance analysis of the nuclear reactor's lithium heat pipes for a 110-kWe Heat Pipes-Segmented Thermoelectric Module Converters (HP-STMCs) Space Reactor Power system (SRPS) are presented. The evaporator length of the heat pipes is the same as the active core height (0.45 m) and the C-C finned condenser is of the same length as the STMC panels (1.5 m). The C-C finned condenser section is radiatively coupled to the collector shoes of the STMCs placed on both sides. The lengths of the adiabatic section, the values of the power throughput and the evaporator wall temperature depend on the radial location of the heat pipe in the reactor core and the number and dimensions of the potassium heat pipes in the heat rejection radiator. The reactor heat pipes have a total length that varies from 7.57 to 7.73 m, and a 0.2 mm thick Mo-14%Re wick with an average pore radius of 12 μm. The wick is separated from the Mo-14%Re wall by a 0.5 mm annulus filled with liquid lithium, to raise the prevailing capillary limit. The nominal evaporator (or reactor) temperature varies from 1513 to 1591 K and the thermal power of the reactor is 1.6 MW, which averages 12.7 kW for each of the 126 reactor heat pipes. The power throughput per heat pipe increase to a nominal 15.24 kW at the location of the peak power in the core and to 20.31 kW when an adjacent heat pipe fails. The prevailing capillary limit of the reactor heat pipes is 28.3 kW, providing a design margin >= 28%.

  11. Reactor Lithium Heat Pipes for HP-STMCs Space Reactor Power System

    SciTech Connect

    Tournier, Jean-Michel; El-Genk, Mohamed S.

    2004-02-04

    Design and performance analysis of the nuclear reactor's lithium heat pipes for a 110-kWe Heat Pipes-Segmented Thermoelectric Module Converters (HP-STMCs) Space Reactor Power system (SRPS) are presented. The evaporator length of the heat pipes is the same as the active core height (0.45 m) and the C-C finned condenser is of the same length as the STMC panels (1.5 m). The C-C finned condenser section is radiatively coupled to the collector shoes of the STMCs placed on both sides. The lengths of the adiabatic section, the values of the power throughput and the evaporator wall temperature depend on the radial location of the heat pipe in the reactor core and the number and dimensions of the potassium heat pipes in the heat rejection radiator. The reactor heat pipes have a total length that varies from 7.57 to 7.73 m, and a 0.2 mm thick Mo-14%Re wick with an average pore radius of 12 {mu}m. The wick is separated from the Mo-14%Re wall by a 0.5 mm annulus filled with liquid lithium, to raise the prevailing capillary limit. The nominal evaporator (or reactor) temperature varies from 1513 to 1591 K and the thermal power of the reactor is 1.6 MW, which averages 12.7 kW for each of the 126 reactor heat pipes. The power throughput per heat pipe increase to a nominal 15.24 kW at the location of the peak power in the core and to 20.31 kW when an adjacent heat pipe fails. The prevailing capillary limit of the reactor heat pipes is 28.3 kW, providing a design margin {>=} 28%.

  12. Anisotropic thermoelectric behavior in armchair and zigzag mono- and fewlayer MoS2 in thermoelectric generator applications

    PubMed Central

    Arab, Abbas; Li, Qiliang

    2015-01-01

    In this work, we have studied thermoelectric properties of monolayer and fewlayer MoS2 in both armchair and zigzag orientations. Density functional theory (DFT) using non-equilibrium Green’s function (NEGF) method has been implemented to calculate the transmission spectra of mono- and fewlayer MoS2 in armchair and zigzag directions. Phonon transmission spectra are calculated based on parameterization of Stillinger-Weber potential. Thermoelectric figure of merit, ZT, is calculated using these electronic and phonon transmission spectra. In general, a thermoelectric generator is composed of thermocouples made of both n-type and p-type legs. Based on our calculations, monolayer MoS2 in armchair orientation is found to have the highest ZT value for both p-type and n-type legs compared to all other armchair and zigzag structures. We have proposed a thermoelectric generator based on monolayer MoS2 in armchair orientation. Moreover, we have studied the effect of various dopant species on thermoelectric current of our proposed generator. Further, we have compared output current of our proposed generator with those of Silicon thin films. Results indicate that thermoelectric current of MoS2 armchair monolayer is several orders of magnitude higher than that of Silicon thin films. PMID:26333948

  13. Anisotropic thermoelectric behavior in armchair and zigzag mono- and fewlayer MoS2 in thermoelectric generator applications.

    PubMed

    Arab, Abbas; Li, Qiliang

    2015-09-03

    In this work, we have studied thermoelectric properties of monolayer and fewlayer MoS2 in both armchair and zigzag orientations. Density functional theory (DFT) using non-equilibrium Green's function (NEGF) method has been implemented to calculate the transmission spectra of mono- and fewlayer MoS2 in armchair and zigzag directions. Phonon transmission spectra are calculated based on parameterization of Stillinger-Weber potential. Thermoelectric figure of merit, ZT, is calculated using these electronic and phonon transmission spectra. In general, a thermoelectric generator is composed of thermocouples made of both n-type and p-type legs. Based on our calculations, monolayer MoS2 in armchair orientation is found to have the highest ZT value for both p-type and n-type legs compared to all other armchair and zigzag structures. We have proposed a thermoelectric generator based on monolayer MoS2 in armchair orientation. Moreover, we have studied the effect of various dopant species on thermoelectric current of our proposed generator. Further, we have compared output current of our proposed generator with those of Silicon thin films. Results indicate that thermoelectric current of MoS2 armchair monolayer is several orders of magnitude higher than that of Silicon thin films.

  14. Decoupling interrelated parameters for designing high performance thermoelectric materials.

    PubMed

    Xiao, Chong; Li, Zhou; Li, Kun; Huang, Pengcheng; Xie, Yi

    2014-04-15

    The world's supply of fossil fuels is quickly being exhausted, and the impact of their overuse is contributing to both climate change and global political unrest. In order to help solve these escalating problems, scientists must find a way to either replace combustion engines or reduce their use. Thermoelectric materials have attracted widespread research interest because of their potential applications as clean and renewable energy sources. They are reliable, lightweight, robust, and environmentally friendly and can reversibly convert between heat and electricity. However, after decades of development, the energy conversion efficiency of thermoelectric devices has been hovering around 10%. This is far below the theoretical predictions, mainly due to the interdependence and coupling between electrical and thermal parameters, which are strongly interrelated through the electronic structure of the materials. Therefore, any strategy that balances or decouples these parameters, in addition to optimizing the materials' intrinsic electronic structure, should be critical to the development of thermoelectric technology. In this Account, we discuss our recently developed strategies to decouple thermoelectric parameters for the synergistic optimization of electrical and thermal transport. We first highlight the phase transition, which is accompanied by an abrupt change of electrical transport, such as with a metal-insulator and semiconductor-superionic conductor transition. This should be a universal and effective strategy to optimize the thermoelectric performance, which takes advantage of modulated electronic structure and critical scattering across phase transitions to decouple the power factor and thermal conductivity. We propose that solid-solution homojunction nanoplates with disordered lattices are promising thermoelectric materials to meet the "phonon glass electron crystal" approach. The formation of a solid solution, coupled with homojunctions, allows for

  15. Safety status of space radioisotope and reactor power sources

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Bennett, Gary L.

    1990-01-01

    The current overall safety criterion for both radioisotope and reactor power sources is containment or immobilization in the case of a reentry accident. In addition, reactors are designed to remain subcritical under conditions of land impact or water immersion. A very extensive safety test and analysis program was completed on the radioisotope thermoelectric generators (RTGs) in use on the Galileo spacecraft and planned for use on the Ulysses spacecraft. The results of this work show that the RTGs will pose little or no risk for any credible accident. The SP-100 space nuclear reactor program has begun addressing its safety criteria, and the design is planned to be such as to ensure meeting the various safety criteria. Preliminary mission risk analyses on SP-100 show the expected value population dose from postulated accidents on the reference mission to be very small. It is concluded that the current US nuclear power sources are the safest flown.

  16. A review on the fabrication of polymer-based thermoelectric materials and fabrication methods.

    PubMed

    Kamarudin, Muhammad Akmal; Sahamir, Shahrir Razey; Datta, Robi Shankar; Long, Bui Duc; Mohd Sabri, Mohd Faizul; Mohd Said, Suhana

    2013-01-01

    Thermoelectricity, by converting heat energy directly into useable electricity, offers a promising technology to convert heat from solar energy and to recover waste heat from industrial sectors and automobile exhausts. In recent years, most of the efforts have been done on improving the thermoelectric efficiency using different approaches, that is, nanostructuring, doping, molecular rattling, and nanocomposite formation. The applications of thermoelectric polymers at low temperatures, especially conducting polymers, have shown various advantages such as easy and low cost of fabrication, light weight, and flexibility. In this review, we will focus on exploring new types of polymers and the effects of different structures, concentrations, and molecular weight on thermoelectric properties. Various strategies to improve the performance of thermoelectric materials will be discussed. In addition, a discussion on the fabrication of thermoelectric devices, especially suited to polymers, will also be given. Finally, we provide the challenge and the future of thermoelectric polymers, especially thermoelectric hybrid model. PMID:24324378

  17. A Review on the Fabrication of Polymer-Based Thermoelectric Materials and Fabrication Methods

    PubMed Central

    Kamarudin, Muhammad Akmal; Sahamir, Shahrir Razey; Datta, Robi Shankar; Long, Bui Duc; Mohd Sabri, Mohd Faizul; Mohd Said, Suhana

    2013-01-01

    Thermoelectricity, by converting heat energy directly into useable electricity, offers a promising technology to convert heat from solar energy and to recover waste heat from industrial sectors and automobile exhausts. In recent years, most of the efforts have been done on improving the thermoelectric efficiency using different approaches, that is, nanostructuring, doping, molecular rattling, and nanocomposite formation. The applications of thermoelectric polymers at low temperatures, especially conducting polymers, have shown various advantages such as easy and low cost of fabrication, light weight, and flexibility. In this review, we will focus on exploring new types of polymers and the effects of different structures, concentrations, and molecular weight on thermoelectric properties. Various strategies to improve the performance of thermoelectric materials will be discussed. In addition, a discussion on the fabrication of thermoelectric devices, especially suited to polymers, will also be given. Finally, we provide the challenge and the future of thermoelectric polymers, especially thermoelectric hybrid model. PMID:24324378

  18. Control Strategy for a 42-V Waste-Heat Thermoelectric Vehicle

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Deng, Y. D.; Fan, W.; Tang, Z. B.; Chang, X. Y.; Ling, K.; Su, C. Q.

    2013-07-01

    A 42-V waste-heat thermoelectric vehicle is employed as a potential application of thermoelectric generators for fuel economy improvement and emissions reduction. The 42-V waste-heat thermoelectric vehicle currently in development employs an assemblage driving system consisting of a waste-heat thermoelectric generator, a 42-V powernet, and an integrated starter and generator (ISG). The waste-heat thermoelectric generator also functions as a power supply. To optimize the utilization of the waste-heat energy generated by the thermoelectric generator, an electric assist control strategy and a torque split control strategy are proposed herein. Through the development of relevant systems and strategies, including the thermoelectric generator and an electric bus system, two vehicle models are established and compared using the ADVISOR platform based on MATLAB/Simulink. The calculation results show improved fuel economy and emissions performance resulting from the integration of the torque split control strategy into the 42-V waste-heat thermoelectric vehicle.

  19. The role of nuclear reactors in space exploration and development

    SciTech Connect

    Lipinski, R.J.

    2000-07-01

    The United States has launched more than 20 radioisotopic thermoelectric generators (RTGs) into space over the past 30 yr but has launched only one nuclear reactor, and that was in 1965. Russia has launched more than 30 reactors. The RTGs use the heat of alpha decay of {sup 238}Pu for power and typically generate <1 kW of electricity. Apollo, Pioneer, Voyager, Viking, Galileo, Ulysses, and Cassini all used RTGs. Space reactors use the fission energy of {sup 235}U; typical designs are for 100 to 1000 kW of electricity. The only US space reactor launch (SNAP-10A) was a demonstration mission. One reason for the lack of space reactor use by the United States was the lack of space missions that required high power. But, another was the assumed negative publicity that would accompany a reactor launch. The net result is that all space reactor programs after 1970 were terminated before an operating space reactor could be developed, and they are now many years from recovering the ability to build them. Two major near-term needs for space reactors are the human exploration of Mars and advanced missions to and beyond the orbit of Jupiter. To help obtain public acceptance of space reactors, one must correct some of the misconceptions concerning space reactors and convey the following facts to the public and to decision makers: Space reactors are 1000 times smaller in power and size than a commercial power reactor. A space reactor at launch is only as radioactive as a pile of dirt 60 m (200 ft) across. A space reactor contains no plutonium at launch. It does not become significantly radioactive until it is turned on, and it will be engineered so that no launch accident can turn it on, even if that means fueling it after launch. The reactor will not be turned on until it is in a high stable orbit or even on an earth-escape trajectory for some missions. The benefits of space reactors are that they give humanity a stairway to the planets and perhaps the stars. They open a new

  20. Neutronic reactor

    DOEpatents

    Wende, Charles W. J.

    1976-08-17

    A safety rod for a nuclear reactor has an inner end portion having a gamma absorption coefficient and neutron capture cross section approximately equal to those of the adjacent shield, a central portion containing materials of high neutron capture cross section and an outer end portion having a gamma absorption coefficient at least equal to that of the adjacent shield.

  1. Neutronic reactor

    DOEpatents

    Carleton, John T.

    1977-01-25

    A graphite-moderated nuclear reactor includes channels between blocks of graphite and also includes spacer blocks between adjacent channeled blocks with an axis of extension normal to that of the axis of elongation of the channeled blocks to minimize changes in the physical properties of the graphite as a result of prolonged neutron bombardment.

  2. NEUTRONIC REACTOR

    DOEpatents

    Creutz, E.C.; Ohlinger, L.A.; Weinberg, A.M.; Wigner, E.P.; Young, G.J.

    1959-10-27

    BS>A reactor cooled by water, biphenyl, helium, or other fluid with provision made for replacing the fuel rods with the highest plutonium and fission product content without disassembling the entire core and for promptly cooling the rods after their replacement in order to prevent build-up of heat from fission product activity is described.

  3. Sonochemical Reactors.

    PubMed

    Gogate, Parag R; Patil, Pankaj N

    2016-10-01

    Sonochemical reactors are based on the generation of cavitational events using ultrasound and offer immense potential for the intensification of physical and chemical processing applications. The present work presents a critical analysis of the underlying mechanisms for intensification, available reactor configurations and overview of the different applications exploited successfully, though mostly at laboratory scales. Guidelines have also been presented for optimum selection of the important operating parameters (frequency and intensity of irradiation, temperature and liquid physicochemical properties) as well as the geometric parameters (type of reactor configuration and the number/position of the transducers) so as to maximize the process intensification benefits. The key areas for future work so as to transform the successful technique at laboratory/pilot scale into commercial technology have also been discussed. Overall, it has been established that there is immense potential for sonochemical reactors for process intensification leading to greener processing and economic benefits. Combined efforts from a wide range of disciplines such as material science, physics, chemistry and chemical engineers are required to harness the benefits at commercial scale operation.

  4. NEUTRONIC REACTOR

    DOEpatents

    Wigner, E.P.

    1962-12-25

    A reactor is described comprising a plurality of horizontal trays containing a solution of a fissionable material, the trays being sleeved on a vertical tube which contains a vertically-reciprocable control rod, a gas-tight chamber enclosing the trays, and means for conducting vaporized moderator from the chamber and for replacing vaporized moderator in the trays. (AEC)

  5. NEUTRONIC REACTORS

    DOEpatents

    Anderson, H.L.

    1958-10-01

    The design of control rods for nuclear reactors are described. In this design the control rod consists essentially of an elongated member constructed in part of a neutron absorbing material and having tube means extending therethrough for conducting a liquid to cool the rod when in use.

  6. Sonochemical Reactors.

    PubMed

    Gogate, Parag R; Patil, Pankaj N

    2016-10-01

    Sonochemical reactors are based on the generation of cavitational events using ultrasound and offer immense potential for the intensification of physical and chemical processing applications. The present work presents a critical analysis of the underlying mechanisms for intensification, available reactor configurations and overview of the different applications exploited successfully, though mostly at laboratory scales. Guidelines have also been presented for optimum selection of the important operating parameters (frequency and intensity of irradiation, temperature and liquid physicochemical properties) as well as the geometric parameters (type of reactor configuration and the number/position of the transducers) so as to maximize the process intensification benefits. The key areas for future work so as to transform the successful technique at laboratory/pilot scale into commercial technology have also been discussed. Overall, it has been established that there is immense potential for sonochemical reactors for process intensification leading to greener processing and economic benefits. Combined efforts from a wide range of disciplines such as material science, physics, chemistry and chemical engineers are required to harness the benefits at commercial scale operation. PMID:27573503

  7. NEUTRONIC REACTOR

    DOEpatents

    Wigner, E.P.

    1960-09-27

    A unit assembly is described for a neutronic reactor comprising a tube and plurality of spaced parallel sandwiches in the tube extending lengthwise thereof, each sandwich including a middle plate having a central opening for plutonium and other openings for fertile material at opposite ends of the plate.

  8. Thermal Expansion Studies of Selected High-Temperature Thermoelectric Materials

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ravi, Vilupanur; Firdosy, Samad; Caillat, Thierry; Brandon, Erik; van der Walde, Keith; Maricic, Lina; Sayir, Ali

    2009-07-01

    Radioisotope thermoelectric generators (RTGs) generate electrical power by converting the heat released from the nuclear decay of radioactive isotopes (typically plutonium-238) into electricity using a thermoelectric converter. RTGs have been successfully used to power a number of space missions and have demonstrated their reliability over an extended period of time (tens of years) and are compact, rugged, radiation resistant, scalable, and produce no noise, vibration or torque during operation. System conversion efficiency for state-of-practice RTGs is about 6% and specific power ≤5.1 W/kg. A higher specific power would result in more onboard power for the same RTG mass, or less RTG mass for the same onboard power. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory has been leading, under the advanced thermoelectric converter (ATEC) project, the development of new high-temperature thermoelectric materials and components for integration into advanced, more efficient RTGs. Thermoelectric materials investigated to date include skutterudites, the Yb14MnSb11 compound, and SiGe alloys. The development of long-lived thermoelectric couples based on some of these materials has been initiated and is assisted by a thermomechanical stress analysis to ensure that all stresses under both fabrication and operation conditions will be within yield limits for those materials. Several physical parameters are needed as input to this analysis. Among those parameters, the coefficient of thermal expansion (CTE) is critically important. Thermal expansion coefficient measurements of several thermoelectric materials under consideration for ATEC are described in this paper. The stress response at the interfaces in material stacks subjected to changes in temperature is discussed, drawing on work from the literature and project-specific tools developed here. The degree of CTE mismatch and the associated effect on the formation of stress is highlighted.

  9. Thermal Expansion Studies of Selected High Temperature Thermoelectric Materials

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Ravi, Vilupanur; Firdosy, Samad; Caillat, Thierry; Brandon, Erik; Van Der Walde, Keith; Maricic, Lina; Sayir, Ali

    2008-01-01

    Radioisotope thermoelectric generators (RTGs) generate electrical power by converting the heat released from the nuclear decay of radioactive isotopes (typically plutonium-238) into electricity using a thermoelectric converter. RTGs have been successfully used to power a number of space missions and have demonstrated their reliability over an extended period of time (tens of years) and are compact, rugged, radiation resistant, scalable, and produce no noise, vibration or torque during operation. System conversion efficiency for state-of-practice RTGs is about 6% and specific power less than or equal to 5.1 W/kg. Higher specific power would result in more on-board power for the same RTG mass, or less RTG mass for the same on-board power. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory has been leading, under the advanced thermoelectric converter (ATEC) project, the development of new high-temperature thermoelectric materials and components for integration into advanced, more efficient RTGs. Thermoelectric materials investigated to date include skutterudites, the Yb14MnSb11 compound, and SiGe alloys. The development of long-lived thermoelectric couples based on some of these materials has been initiated and is assisted by a thermo-mechanical stress analysis to ensure that all stresses under both fabrication and operation conditions will be within yield limits for those materials. Several physical parameters are needed as input to this analysis. Among those parameters, the coefficient of thermal expansion (CTE) is critically important. Thermal expansion coefficient measurements of several thermoelectric materials under consideration for ATEC are described in this paper. The stress response at the interfaces in material stacks subjected to changes in temperature is discussed, drawing on work from the literature and project-specific tools developed here. The degree of CTE mismatch and the associated effect on the formation of stress is highlighted.

  10. Thermoelectric Properties of Pristine and Doped Graphene Nanosheets and Graphene Nanoribbons: Part II

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Muley, Sarang V.; Ravindra, N. M.

    2016-06-01

    In Part II of this study, approaches to improve the thermoelectric figure of merit ( ZT) of graphene nanosheets and nanoribbons is discussed. The presence of vacancies in graphene is found to increase the ZT of zigzag graphene nanoribbons significantly. Graphene can be a promising material with much better thermoelectric performance than conventional thermoelectrics.

  11. Thermoelectric material including conformal oxide layers and method of making the same using atomic layer deposition

    DOEpatents

    Cho, Jung Young; Ahn, Dongjoon; Salvador, James R.; Meisner, Gregory P.

    2016-06-07

    A thermoelectric material includes a substrate particle and a plurality of conformal oxide layers formed on the substrate particle. The plurality of conformal oxide layers has a total oxide layer thickness ranging from about 2 nm to about 20 nm. The thermoelectric material excludes oxide nanoparticles. A method of making the thermoelectric material is also disclosed herein.

  12. Calibration of High Temperature Thermal Conductivity System: New Algorithm to Measure Heat Capacity Using Flash Thermal Diffusivity in Thermoelectric Materials

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Deb, Rahul; Snyder, Jeff G.

    2005-01-01

    A viewgraph presentation describing thermoelectric materials, an algorithm for heat capacity measurements and the process of flash thermal diffusivity. The contents include: 1) What are Thermoelectrics?; 2) Thermoelectric Applications; 3) Improving Thermoelectrics; 4) Research Goal; 5) Flash Thermal Diffusivity; 6) Background Effects; 7) Stainless Steel Comparison; 8) Pulse Max Integral; and 9) Graphite Comparison Algorithm.

  13. Proposal for a phase-coherent thermoelectric transistor

    SciTech Connect

    Giazotto, F.; Robinson, J. W. A.; Moodera, J. S.; Bergeret, F. S.

    2014-08-11

    Identifying materials and devices which offer efficient thermoelectric effects at low temperature is a major obstacle for the development of thermal management strategies for low-temperature electronic systems. Superconductors cannot offer a solution since their near perfect electron-hole symmetry leads to a negligible thermoelectric response; however, here we demonstrate theoretically a superconducting thermoelectric transistor which offers unparalleled figures of merit of up to ∼45 and Seebeck coefficients as large as a few mV/K at sub-Kelvin temperatures. The device is also phase-tunable meaning its thermoelectric response for power generation can be precisely controlled with a small magnetic field. Our concept is based on a superconductor-normal metal-superconductor interferometer in which the normal metal weak-link is tunnel coupled to a ferromagnetic insulator and a Zeeman split superconductor. Upon application of an external magnetic flux, the interferometer enables phase-coherent manipulation of thermoelectric properties whilst offering efficiencies which approach the Carnot limit.

  14. Modeling a Thermoelectric Generator Applied to Diesel Automotive Heat Recovery

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Espinosa, N.; Lazard, M.; Aixala, L.; Scherrer, H.

    2010-09-01

    Thermoelectric generators (TEGs) are outstanding devices for automotive waste heat recovery. Their packaging, lack of moving parts, and direct heat to electrical conversion are the main benefits. Usually, TEGs are modeled with a constant hot-source temperature. However, energy in exhaust gases is limited, thus leading to a temperature decrease as heat is recovered. Therefore thermoelectric properties change along the TEG, affecting performance. A thermoelectric generator composed of Mg2Si/Zn4Sb3 for high temperatures followed by Bi2Te3 for low temperatures has been modeled using engineering equation solver (EES) software. The model uses the finite-difference method with a strip-fins convective heat transfer coefficient. It has been validated on a commercial module with well-known properties. The thermoelectric connection and the number of thermoelements have been addressed as well as the optimum proportion of high-temperature material for a given thermoelectric heat exchanger. TEG output power has been estimated for a typical commercial vehicle at 90°C coolant temperature.

  15. Thermoelectric powered wireless sensors for spent fuel monitoring

    SciTech Connect

    Carstens, T.; Corradini, M.; Blanchard, J.; Ma, Z.

    2011-07-01

    This paper describes using thermoelectric generators to power wireless sensors to monitor spent nuclear fuel during dry-cask storage. OrigenArp was used to determine the decay heat of the spent fuel at different times during the service life of the dry-cask. The Engineering Equation Solver computer program modeled the temperatures inside the spent fuel storage facility during its service life. The temperature distribution in a thermoelectric generator and heat sink was calculated using the computer program Finite Element Heat Transfer. From these temperature distributions the power produced by the thermoelectric generator was determined as a function of the service life of the dry-cask. In addition, an estimation of the path loss experienced by the wireless signal can be made based on materials and thickness of the structure. Once the path loss is known, the transmission power and thermoelectric generator power requirements can be determined. This analysis estimates that a thermoelectric generator can produce enough power for a sensor to function and transmit data from inside the dry-cask throughout its service life. (authors)

  16. Enhanced thermoelectric properties of graphene oxide patterned by nanoroads.

    PubMed

    Zhou, Si; Guo, Yu; Zhao, Jijun

    2016-04-21

    The thermoelectric properties of two-dimensional (2D) materials are of great interest for both fundamental science and device applications. Graphene oxide (GO), whose physical properties are highly tailorable by chemical and structural modifications, is a potential 2D thermoelectric material. In this report, we pattern nanoroads on GO sheets with epoxide functionalization, and investigate their ballistic thermoelectric transport properties based on density functional theory and the nonequilibrium Green's function method. These graphene oxide nanoroads (GONRDs) are all semiconductors with their band gaps tunable by the road width, edge orientation, and the structure of the GO matrix. These nanostructures show appreciable electrical conductance at certain doping levels and enhanced thermopower of 127-287 μV K(-1), yielding a power factor 4-22 times of the graphene value; meanwhile, the lattice thermal conductance is remarkably reduced to 15-22% of the graphene value; consequently, attaining the figure of merit of 0.05-0.75. Our theoretical results are not only helpful for understanding the thermoelectric properties of graphene and its derivatives, but also would guide the theoretical design and experimental fabrication of graphene-based thermoelectric devices of high performance.

  17. High performance thermoelectric materials and methods of preparation

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Fleurial, Jean-Pierre (Inventor); Caillat, Thierry F. (Inventor); Borshchevsky, Alexander (Inventor)

    1997-01-01

    Transition metals (T) of Group VIII (Co, Rh and Ir) have been prepared as semiconductor alloys with Sb having the general formula TSb.sub.3. The skutterudite-type crystal lattice structure of these semiconductor alloys and their enhanced thermoelectric properties results in semiconductor materials which may be used in the fabrication of thermoelectric elements to substantially improve the efficiency of the resulting thermoelectric device. Semiconductor alloys having the desired skutterudite-type crystal lattice structure may be prepared in accordance with the present invention by using vertical gradient freeze techniques, liquid-solid phase sintering techniques, low temperature powder sintering and/or hot-pressing. Measurements of electrical and thermal transport properties of selected semiconductor materials prepared in accordance with the present invention, demonstrated high Hall mobilities (up to 8000 cm.sup.2.V.sup.-1.s.sup.-1), good Seebeck coefficients (up to 400 .mu.VK.sup.-1 between 300.degree. C. and 700.degree. C.), and low thermal conductivities (as low as 15 mW/cmK). Optimizing the transport properties of semiconductor materials prepared from elemental mixtures Co, Rh, Ir and Sb resulted in a two fold increase in the thermoelectric figure of merit (ZT) at temperatures as high as 400.degree. C. for thermoelectric elements fabricated from such semiconductor materials.

  18. A note on the electrochemical nature of the thermoelectric power

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Apertet, Y.; Ouerdane, H.; Goupil, C.; Lecoeur, Ph.

    2016-04-01

    While thermoelectric transport theory is well established and widely applied, it is not always clear in the literature whether the Seebeck coefficient, which is a measure of the strength of the mutual interaction between electric charge transport and heat transport, is to be related to the gradient of the system's chemical potential or to the gradient of its electrochemical potential. The present article aims to clarify the thermodynamic definition of the thermoelectric coupling. First, we recall how the Seebeck coefficient is experimentally determined. We then turn to the analysis of the relationship between the thermoelectric power and the relevant potentials in the thermoelectric system: As the definitions of the chemical and electrochemical potentials are clarified, we show that, with a proper consideration of each potential, one may derive the Seebeck coefficient of a non-degenerate semiconductor without the need to introduce a contact potential as seen sometimes in the literature. Furthermore, we demonstrate that the phenomenological expression of the electrical current resulting from thermoelectric effects may be directly obtained from the drift-diffusion equation.

  19. Correlation between dimensional crossover and thermoelectric performance in conducting polymer

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Jo, Junhyeon; Oh, In-Seon; Jin, Mi-Jin; Yoo, Jung-Woo

    Conjugated polymers are emerging as attractive thermoelectric materials, resulting from low thermal conductivity, easy process and variable potentials for change. Recently, there are significant improvements of the Seebeck coefficient (S) and electric conductivity (σ) in the conjugated polymers by adding chemical additives to reform its ordinary disordered structure system. However, the relation between thermoelectricity and charge transport in the system is not well understood, which gives us a new challenge to improve thermoelectricity in the organic system. Here, we studied thermoelectric performance of dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO) doped poly(3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene)-poly(styrenesulfonate) (PEDOT:PSS) with adding variable amounts of fluorosurfactant Zonyl. The charge transport in this disordered system was analyzed within variable range hopping (VRH), which showed the change of hopping dimensionality with further molecular dopants. The morphological change and its effect on charge transport and thermoelectric performance were further investigated through AFM, XPS, etc. As a result, we found the optimal condition for increasing both the Seebeck coefficient and electric conductivity, resulting in a significant improvement for the power factor (S2 σ) .

  20. Weight Penalty Incurred in Thermoelectric Recovery of Automobile Exhaust Heat

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rowe, D. M.; Smith, J.; Thomas, G.; Min, G.

    2011-05-01

    Thermoelectric recovery of automobile waste exhaust heat has been identified as having potential for reducing fuel consumption and environmentally unfriendly emissions. Around 35% of combustion energy is discharged as heat through the exhaust system, at temperatures which depend upon the engine's operation and range from 800°C to 900°C at the outlet port to less than 50°C at the tail-pipe. Beneficial reduction in fuel consumption of 5% to 10% is widely quoted in the literature. However, comparison between claims is difficult due to nonuniformity of driving conditions. In this paper the available waste exhaust heat energy produced by a 1.5 L family car when undergoing the new European drive cycle was measured and the potential thermoelectric output estimated. The work required to power the vehicle through the drive cycle was also determined and used to evaluate key parameters. This enabled an estimate to be made of the engine efficiency and additional work required by the engine to meet the load of a thermoelectric generating system. It is concluded that incorporating a thermoelectric generator would attract a penalty of around 12 W/kg. Employing thermoelectric modules fabricated from low-density material such as magnesium silicide would considerably reduce the generator weight penalty.