American universities develop new low-cost thermoelectric materials to cool summer auto parts

Tue Aug 13 10:33:22 CST 2019

  In the summer, the steering wheel of the car becomes hot and can't be used, but the new thermoelectric material can solve the problem. The lack of materials that can be kept efficient at room temperature, while being inexpensive, can directly convert electrical energy into heat, and the popularity of thermoelectric devices that achieve cooling and heating functions is hindered. But now, researchers at the University of Houston and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology report that they have discovered a new material that is highly efficient at room temperature. 

       In addition, thermoelectric materials can be used to convert waste heat from power plants, automotive exhaust pipes, and other sources into electrical energy. It is also reported that many new materials are used for such applications, and such applications require materials to operate at higher temperatures.  so the thermoelectric cooling module creates a huge challenge. The figure of merit ZT is an indicator of the working efficiency of thermoelectric materials. The higher the ZT value of thermoelectric materials, the better.

   Despite the challenges, at least so far, such thermoelectric cooling modules have great commercial potential, in part because they can operate at lower temperatures for extended periods of time, while thermoelectrics are subject to high temperatures during power generation. The thermoelectric cooling market is growing. According to the researchers, the global thermoelectric module market value is about 600 million US dollars in 2018, and is expected to reach about 1.7 billion US dollars by 2027. Niobium alloys have long been considered the best performing thermal cooling materials for decades, but researchers say that high cost enthalpy limits the wide application of this material. Although the cost of sputum has declined recently, it is still around $50 per kilogram. In contrast, the new material developed by the researchers is mainly magnesium, and the price of magnesium is about $6 per kilogram. The researchers say the new material is made of magnesium and tantalum and is created in the form of a negatively charged, the same efficiency as traditional tantalum materials. In addition, the material is less expensive and may expand the thermoelectric module for cooling applications.

Viola Lee

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