Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New Knowledge About Thermoelectric Materials Could Give Better Energy Efficiency

Date:
October 14, 2008
Source:
University of Copenhagen
Summary:
New research could be used to develop motors that are more fuel-efficient and provide for more environmentally friendly cooling methods. The new data describes properties of thermoelectric materials.

The crystal structure of a 'nano-cage'. Where it beforehand was believed that the unique properties of the materials solely could be ascribed to the movements of the heavy 'guest'-atoms in the cages, it has now been shown that the entire atomic scale movements of the cage should be given credit
Credit: Image courtesy of University of Copenhagen

Researchers at the University of Εrhus, Risψ-DTU and the University of Copenhagen stand jointly behind new data, just published in Nature Materials, that describes properties of thermoelectric materials, which is of great importance for their practical application.

In the long term the new knowledge can be used to develop motors that are more fuel-efficient and for more environmentally friendly cooling methods.  

Thermoelectric materials can be assembled into units, which can transform the thermal difference to electrical energy or vice versa - electrical current to cooling. An effective utilization requires however that the material supplies a high voltage and has good electrical, but low thermal conductivity.

"The new knowledge explains exactly why some thermoelectric materials can have the desired low thermal conductivity without degrading the electrical properties. This can be crucial for the conversion of wasted heat, for example, from vehicle exhaust emissions. Leading car manufacturers are now working to develop this possibility and the first models are close to production. The technology is expected to give the cars considerably improved fuel economy," explains Bo B. Iversen, Professor at iNANO at the University of Εrhus.

The new knowledge can also contribute to the development of new cooling methods, so that one avoids the most common, but very environmentally damaging greenhouse gas (R-134a). All of which is a gain for the environment.

In the Nature Materials article the researchers have studied one of the most promising thermoelectric materials in the group of clathrates, which create crystals full of ‘nano-cages'.

"By placing a heavy atom in each nano-cage, we can reduce the crystals' ability to conduct heat. Until now we thought that it was the heavy atoms random movements in the cages that were the cause of the poor thermal conductivity, but this has been shown to not be true," explains Asger B. Abrahamsen, senior scientist at Risψ-DTU.

The researchers have used the technique of neutron scattering, which gives them opportunity to look into the material and see the atoms' movements.

"Our data shows that, it is rather the atoms' shared pattern of movement that determines the properties of these thermoelectric materials. A discovery that will be significant for the design of new materials that utilize energy even better," explains Kim Lefmann, associate professor at the Nano-Science Center, the Niels Bohr Institute at the University of Copenhagen.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Copenhagen. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Copenhagen. "New Knowledge About Thermoelectric Materials Could Give Better Energy Efficiency." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 14 October 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/10/081007102841.htm>.
University of Copenhagen. (2008, October 14). New Knowledge About Thermoelectric Materials Could Give Better Energy Efficiency. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 17, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/10/081007102841.htm
University of Copenhagen. "New Knowledge About Thermoelectric Materials Could Give Better Energy Efficiency." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/10/081007102841.htm (accessed September 17, 2014).

Share This



More Matter & Energy News

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Space Race Pits Bezos Vs Musk

Space Race Pits Bezos Vs Musk

Reuters - Business Video Online (Sep. 16, 2014) — Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos' startup will team up with Boeing and Lockheed to develop rocket engines as Elon Musk races to have his rockets certified. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
MIT's Robot Cheetah Unleashed — Can Now Run, Jump Freely

MIT's Robot Cheetah Unleashed — Can Now Run, Jump Freely

Newsy (Sep. 16, 2014) — MIT developed a robot modeled after a cheetah. It can run up to speeds of 10 mph, though researchers estimate it will eventually reach 30 mph. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Manufacturer Prints 3-D Car In Record Time

Manufacturer Prints 3-D Car In Record Time

Newsy (Sep. 15, 2014) — Automobile manufacturer Local Motors created a drivable electric car using a 3-D printer. Printing the body only took 44 hours. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Refurbished New York Subway Tunnel Unveiled After Sandy Damage

Refurbished New York Subway Tunnel Unveiled After Sandy Damage

Reuters - US Online Video (Sep. 15, 2014) — New York officials unveil subway tunnels that were refurbished after Superstorm Sandy. Nathan Frandino reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

    Technology News



    Save/Print:
    Share:  

    Free Subscriptions


    Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

    Get Social & Mobile


    Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

    Have Feedback?


    Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
    Mobile iPhone Android Web
    Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
    Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
    Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins