Singh, Devendra; Kutbee, Arwa T.; Ghoneim, Mohamed T.; Hussain, Aftab M.; Hussain, Muhammad Mustafa(Advanced Materials Technologies, Wiley, 2017-11-24)[Article]
Thermoelectric generators (TEGs) are interesting energy harvesters of otherwise wasted heat. Here, a polymer-assisted generic process and its mechanics to obtain sputtered thermoelectric (TE) telluride material-based 3D tubular structures with unprecedented length (up to seamless 4 cm and further expandable) are shown. This length allows for large temperature differences between the hot and the cold ends, a critical but untapped enabler for high power generation. Compared with a flat slab, better area efficiency is observed for a rolled tube and compared with a solid rod architecture, a rolled tube uses less material (thus making it lightweight and cost effective) and has competitive performance advantage due to a smaller contact area. It is also shown that a tubular architecture thermopile-based TEG is able to generate up to 5 μW of power (eight pairs of p- and n-type thermopiles) through a temperature difference of 60 °C. The demonstrated process can play an important role in transforming 2D atomic crystal structure TE materials into 3D tubular thermopiles for effective TEG application, which can maintain higher temperature differences by longer distances between hot and cold ends.
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