Flexible Nanocrystal-Coated Glass Fibers for High-Performance Thermoelectric Energy Harvesting
By Itza Montforte, Web Writer
Recent efforts on the development of nanostructured thermoelectric materials from nanowires and nanocrystals show the comparable or superior performance to the bulk crystals possessing the same chemical compositions because of the dramatically reduced thermal conductivity due to phonon scattering at nanoscale surface and interface.
Up to date, the majority of the thermoelectric devices made from these inorganic nanostructures are fabricated into rigid configuration. The explorations of truly flexible composite-based flexible thermoelectric devices have, thus far achieved much less progress, which in principle could significantly benefit the conversion of waste heat into electricity or the solid-state cooling by applying the devices to any kind of objects with any kind of shapes.
This investigation by the Purdue University is the development of a techinque that uses nanotechnology to harvest energy from hot pipes or engine components to potentially recover energy wasted in factories, power plants and cars.
Researchers have coated glass fibers with a new thermoelectric material developed, when this thermoelectric materials are heated on one side, electron flow to the cooler side generating and electrical current, thus, diminishing the wasted energy. Coated fibers also could be used to create a solid-state cooling technology that does not require compressors or chemical refrigerants.
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