Thermoelectric materials, efficiency, and power

The past decade has witnessed significant advances in the field of thermoelectric materials thanks to extensive research along new pathways to enhance properties, in particular nanostructuring bulk materials to largely reduce the thermal conductivity which has resulted in peak thermoelectric figure of merit (ZT).

Achieving high peak ZT has been the goal of the thermoelectric community. Is high peak ZT good enough? Does a high peak ZT necessary translated into a high efficiency? How about the engineering (ZT)eng?

In this webinar, we will demonstrate how a high peak ZT cannot warrant a high efficiency, and how the (ZT)eng should be seen as the most relevant parameter. 

We will also demonstrate how a high conversion efficiency does not warrant high output power, but the high engineering power factor (PF)eng does, and this is what matters most for thermoelectric power generators.

Finally we will also discuss how the reduction of thermal conductivity is not without limitation when practical devices are to be built, with a long lifetime, due to the limited mechanical properties of the thermoelectric materials, contacts, and boding materials.

Thermoelectric materials, efficiency, and power


Zhifeng Ren
, Department of Physics and Texas Center for Superconductivity (TcSUH, University of Houston
Dr. Baptiste Gault (Moderator), Materials Science Publisher