Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors



Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button


android tablet pc

Home > Press > Rensselaer Engineers “Cook” Promising New Heat-Harvesting Nanomaterials in Microwave Oven: Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Researchers Create Large Marble-Sized Pellets of Thermoelectric Nanomaterials

Engineering researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute have developed new thermoelectric nanomaterials, pictured above, that could lead to techniques for better capturing and putting this waste heat to work. The key ingredients for making marble-sized pellets of the new material are aluminum and a common, everyday microwave oven.
Engineering researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute have developed new thermoelectric nanomaterials, pictured above, that could lead to techniques for better capturing and putting this waste heat to work. The key ingredients for making marble-sized pellets of the new material are aluminum and a common, everyday microwave oven.

Abstract:
Waste heat is a byproduct of nearly all electrical devices and industrial processes, from driving a car to flying an aircraft or operating a power plant. Engineering researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute have developed new nanomaterials that could lead to techniques for better capturing and putting this waste heat to work. The key ingredients for making marble-sized pellets of the new material are aluminum and a common, everyday microwave oven.

Rensselaer Engineers “Cook” Promising New Heat-Harvesting Nanomaterials in Microwave Oven: Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Researchers Create Large Marble-Sized Pellets of Thermoelectric Nanomaterials

Troy, NY | Posted on September 29th, 2011

Harvesting electricity from waste heat requires a material that is good at conducting electricity but poor at conducting heat. One of the most promising candidates for this job is zinc oxide, a nontoxic, inexpensive material with a high melting point. While nanoengineering techniques exist for boosting the electrical conductivity of zinc oxide, the material's high thermal conductivity is a roadblock to its effectiveness in collecting and converting waste heat. Because thermal and electrical conductivity are related properties, it's very difficult to decrease one without also diminishing the other.

However, a team of researchers led by Ganpati Ramanath, professor in the Materials Science and Engineering Department at Rensselaer, in collaboration with the University of Wollongong, Australia, have demonstrated a new way to decrease zinc oxide's thermal conductivity without reducing its electrical conductivity. The innovation involves adding minute amounts of aluminum to zinc oxide, and processing the materials in a microwave oven. The process is adapted from a technique invented at Rensselaer by Ramanath, graduate student Rutvik Mehta, and Theo Borca-Tasciuc, associate professor in the Department of Mechanical, Aerospace, and Nuclear Engineering (MANE). This work could open the door to new technologies for harvesting waste heat and creating highly energy efficient cars, aircraft, power plants, and other systems.

"Harvesting waste heat is a very attractive proposition, since we can convert the heat into electricity and use it to power devices — like in a car or a jet — that is creating the heat in the first place. This would lead to greater efficiency in nearly everything we do and, ultimately, reduce our dependence on fossil fuels," Ramanath said. "We are the first to demonstrate such favorable thermoelectric properties in bulk-sized high-temperature materials, and we feel that our discovery will pave the way to new power harvesting devices from waste heat."

Results of the study are detailed in the paper "Al-Doped Zinc Oxide Nanocomposites with Enhanced Thermoelectric Properties," published recently by the journal Nano Letters. View the paper online at: http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/nl202439h

To create the new nanomaterial, researchers added minute quantities of aluminum to shape-controlled zinc oxide nanocrystals, and heated them in a $40 microwave oven. Ramanath's team is able to produce several grams of the nanomaterial in a matter of few minutes, which is enough to make a device measuring a few centimeters long. The process is less expensive and more scalable than conventional methods and is environmentally friendly, Ramanath said. Unlike many nanomaterials that are fabricated directly onto a substrate or surface, this new microwave method can produce pellets of nanomaterials that can be applied to different surfaces. These attributes, together with low thermal conductivity and high electrical conductivity, are highly suitable for heat harvesting applications.

"Our discovery could be key to overcoming major fundamental challenges related to working with thermoelectric materials," said project collaborator Borca-Tasciuc. "Moreover, our process is amenable to scaling for large-scale production. It's really amazing that a few atoms of aluminum can conspire to give us thermoelectric properties we're interested in."

This work was a collaborative effort between Ramanath and Shi Xue Dou, a professor at the Institute for Superconducting and Electronic Materials at the University of Wollogong, Australia. Wollongong graduate student Priyanka Jood carried out the work together with Rensselaer graduate students Rutvik Mehta and Yanliang Zhang during Jood's one-year visit to Rensselaer. Co-authors of the paper are Richard W. Siegel, the Robert W. Hunt Professor of Materials Science and Engineering; along with professors Xiaolin Wang and Germanas Peleckis at the University of Wollongong.

This research is funded by support from IBM through the Rensselaer Nanotechnology Center; S3TEC, an Energy Frontier Research Center funded by the U.S. Department of Energy (DoE) Office of Basic Energy Sciences; the Australian Research Council (ARC); and the University of Wollongong.

####

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Michael Mullaney
Phone: (518) 276-6161

Copyright © Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI)

If you have a comment, please Contact us.

Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

Bookmark:
Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related Links

Faculty Home Page - Ramanath:

“Nanosculpture” Could Enable New Types of Heat Pumps and Energy Converters:

Inexpensive “Nanoglue” Can Bond Nearly Anything Together:

Related News Press

News and information

Oregon researchers glimpse pathway of sunlight to electricity: Collaboration with Lund University uses modified UO spectroscopy equipment to study 'maze' of connections in photoactive quantum dots December 19th, 2014

Instant-start computers possible with new breakthrough December 19th, 2014

Aculon Hires New Business Development Director December 19th, 2014

Iranian Scientists Use Nanotechnology to Increase Power, Energy of Supercapacitors December 18th, 2014

Govt.-Legislation/Regulation/Funding/Policy

Oregon researchers glimpse pathway of sunlight to electricity: Collaboration with Lund University uses modified UO spectroscopy equipment to study 'maze' of connections in photoactive quantum dots December 19th, 2014

Zenosense, Inc. - Hospital Collaboration - 400 Person Lung Cancer Detection Trial December 17th, 2014

SUNY Poly NanoCollege Faculty Member Selected as American Physical Society Fellow: SUNY Poly Associate Professor of Nanoscience Dr. Vincent LaBella Recognized for Significant Technological Innovations that Enable Interactive Learning December 17th, 2014

Switching to spintronics: Berkeley Lab reports on electric field switching of ferromagnetism at room temp December 17th, 2014

Discoveries

Oregon researchers glimpse pathway of sunlight to electricity: Collaboration with Lund University uses modified UO spectroscopy equipment to study 'maze' of connections in photoactive quantum dots December 19th, 2014

Instant-start computers possible with new breakthrough December 19th, 2014

Creation of 'Rocker' protein opens way for new smart molecules in medicine, other fields December 18th, 2014

Iranian Scientists Use Nanotechnology to Increase Power, Energy of Supercapacitors December 18th, 2014

Announcements

Oregon researchers glimpse pathway of sunlight to electricity: Collaboration with Lund University uses modified UO spectroscopy equipment to study 'maze' of connections in photoactive quantum dots December 19th, 2014

Instant-start computers possible with new breakthrough December 19th, 2014

Aculon Hires New Business Development Director December 19th, 2014

Iranian Scientists Use Nanotechnology to Increase Power, Energy of Supercapacitors December 18th, 2014

Energy

Oregon researchers glimpse pathway of sunlight to electricity: Collaboration with Lund University uses modified UO spectroscopy equipment to study 'maze' of connections in photoactive quantum dots December 19th, 2014

How does enzymatic pretreatment affect the nanostructure and reaction space of lignocellulosic biomass? December 18th, 2014

Iranian Scientists Use Nanotechnology to Increase Power, Energy of Supercapacitors December 18th, 2014

Lifeboat Foundation gives 2014 Guardian Award to Elon Musk December 16th, 2014

Battery Technology/Capacitors/Generators/Piezoelectrics/Thermoelectrics/Energy storage

Iranian Scientists Use Nanotechnology to Increase Power, Energy of Supercapacitors December 18th, 2014

Nexeon Attracts ex-Nokia Product Executive to its Board of Directors December 15th, 2014

Defects are perfect in laser-induced graphene: Rice University lab discovers simple way to make material for energy storage, electronics December 10th, 2014

Lengthening the life of high capacity silicon electrodes in rechargeable lithium batteries: Novel rubber-like coating could lead to longer lasting batteries December 2nd, 2014

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE




  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoTech-Transfer
University Technology Transfer & Patents
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More










ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project







© Copyright 1999-2014 7th Wave, Inc. All Rights Reserved PRIVACY POLICY :: CONTACT US :: STATS :: SITE MAP :: ADVERTISE