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Title: Development of thermoelectric fibers for miniature thermoelectric devices

Miniature thermoelectric (TE) devices may be used in a variety of applications such as power sources of small sensors, temperature regulation of precision electronics, etc. Reducing the size of TE elements may also enable design of novel devices with unique form factor and higher device efficiency. Current industrial practice of fabricating TE devices usually involves mechanical removal processes that not only lead to material loss but also limit the geometry of the TE elements. In this project, we explored a powder-processing method for the fabrication of TE fibers with large length-to-area ratio, which could be potentially used for miniature TE devices. Powders were milled from Bi2Te3-based bulk materials and then mixed with a thermoplastic resin dissolved in an organic solvent. Through an extrusion process, flexible, continuous fibers with sub-millimeter diameters were formed. The polymer phase was then removed by sintering. Sintered fibers exhibited similar Seebeck coefficients to the bulk materials. Moreover, their electrical resistivity was much higher, which might be related to the residual porosity and grain boundary contamination. Prototype miniature uni-couples fabricated from these fibers showed a linear I-V behavior and could generate millivolt voltages and output power in the nano-watt range. Further development of these TE fibers requiresmore » improvement in their electrical conductivities, which needs a better understanding of the causes that lead to the low conductivity in the sintered fibers.« less
 [1] ;  [2] ;  [2] ;  [2]
  1. Temple Univ., Philadelphia, PA (United States)
  2. Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
Publication Date:
Grant/Contract Number:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Journal of Electronic Materials
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 45; Journal Issue: 3; Journal ID: ISSN 0361-5235
Research Org:
Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
Country of Publication:
United States
36 MATERIALS SCIENCE; thermoelectrics; powder processing; fiber; power generator; composite
OSTI Identifier: