Thermoelectric (TE) materials have unique property of converting waste heat into useful electrical energy and vice versa, thus utilizing two material property effects that have been studied since 1800ís: Seebeck effect and Peltier effect. Current TE materials have low conversion efficiencies at higher temperatures and uses expensive elemental materials (Te, Ge, etc.), which contribute to their present limited application.
Our laboratory research focuses on the development of new TE materials for high-temperature applications. Currently, the TE materials under investigation include binary and ternary alloys of metal borides and silicides. These TE materials have great potential to exhibit higher figure of merit (ZT) at higher temperatures.
The TE Materials are
produced using synthetic methods such as cold pressing, sintering, and
arc melting. All experimental parameters are optimized during the
production of TE materials. The product samples are
characterized with SEM, TEM, EDAX, and X-ray diffraction techniques. The
structure, phase stability, and purity of the TE materials are determined using
Thermodynamic modeling and Phase diagrams of the TE materials is carried out using computational tools. Database of transport properties, thermodynamic properties, and phase equilibria of high ZT TE materials is developed for high temperature applications like aluminum, steel and automobile industries.