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New Material Breaks World Record Turning Heat into Electricity


sman
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New Material Breaks World Record Turning Heat into Electricity

"https://www.tuwien.at/en/tu-wien/news/news-articles/news/new-material-breaks-world-record-turning-heat-into-electricity/"

A new type of material generates electrical current very efficiently from temperature differences. This allows sensors and small processors to supply themselves with energy wirelessly.

Thermoelectric materials can convert heat into electrical energy. This is due to the so-called Seebeck effect: If there is a temperature difference between the two ends of such a material, electrical voltage can be generated and current can start to flow. The amount of electrical energy that can be generated at a given temperature difference is measured by the so-called ZT value: The higher the ZT value of a material, the better its thermoelectric properties.

The best thermoelectrics to date were measured at ZT values of around 2.5 to 2.8. Scientists at TU Wien (Vienna) have now succeeded in developing a completely new material with a ZT value of 5 to 6. It is a thin layer of iron, vanadium, tungsten and aluminium applied to a silicon crystal.

The new material is so effective that it could be used to provide energy for sensors or even small computer processors. Instead of connecting small electrical devices to cables, they could generate their own electricity from temperature differences. The new material has now been presented in the journal "Nature".

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If they could put something like this into heatsinks, especially for portable computing devices like laptops, cell phones and tablets it could be very useful for extending battery life as well as overall efficiency.  Dealing with heat continues to be one of the primary barriers for powerful small form factor computing devices.

Edited by exile360
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