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3D architected thermoelectric devices with high toughness and power conversion efficiency

Professor Yang Lu of Department of Mechanical Engineering and his collaborators had worked on the research for the topic “Three dimensional architected thermoelectric devices with high toughness and power conversion efficiency”. The research was recently published by Nature Communications on April 12, 2023.


Details of the publication:

Three dimensional architected thermoelectric devices with high toughness and power conversion efficiency

Vaithinathan Karthikeyan, James Utama Surjadi, Xiaocui Li, Rong Fan, Vaskuri C. S. Theja, Wen Jung Li, Yang Lu & Vellaisamy A. L. Roy, Article in Nature Communications,


Abstract:

For decades, the widespread application of thermoelectric generators has been plagued by two major limitations: heat stagnation in its legs, which limits power conversion efficiency, and inherent brittleness of its constituents, which accelerates thermoelectric generator failure. While notable progress has been made to overcome these quintessential flaws, the state-of-the-art suffers from an apparent mismatch between thermoelectric performance and mechanical toughness. Here, we demonstrate an approach to potentially enhance the power conversion efficiency while suppressing the brittle failure in thermoelectric materials. By harnessing the enhanced thermal impedance induced by the cellular architecture of microlattices with the exceptional strength and ductility (>50% compressive strain) derived from partial carbonization, we fabricate three-dimensional (3D) architected thermoelectric generators that exhibit a specific energy absorption of ~30 J g−1 and power conversion efficiency of ~10%. We hope our work will improve future thermoelectric generator fabrication design through additive manufacturing with excellent thermoelectric properties and mechanical robustness.


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