Simultaneous Realization of Flexibility and Ultrahigh Normalized Power Density in a Heatsink-Free Thermoelectric Generator via Fine Thermal Regulation

Sijing Zhu, Ying Peng, Jie Gao, Lei Miao, Huajun Lai, Chengyan Liu, Junhao Zhang, Yong Zhang, Shun Zhou, Kunihito Koumoto, Tiejun Zhu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Wearable thermoelectric generators (w-TEGs) can incessantly convert body heat into electricity to power electronics. However, the low efficiency of thermoelectric materials, tiny terminal temperature difference, rigidity, and negligence of lateral heat transfer preclude broad utilization of w-TEGs. In this work, we employ finite element simulation to find the key factors for simultaneous realization of flexibility and ultrahigh normalized power density. Using melamine foam with an ultralow thermal conductivity (0.03 W/m K) as the encapsulation material, a novel lightweight π-type w-TEG with no heatsink and excellent stretchability, comfortability, processability, and cost efficiency has been fabricated. At an ambient temperature of 24 °C, the maximum power density of the w-TEG reached 7 μW/cm2 (sitting) and 29 μW/cm2 (walking). Under suitable heat exchange conditions (heatsink with 1 m/s air velocity), 32 pairs of w-TEGs can generate 66 mV voltage and 60 μW/cm2 power density. The output performance of our TEG is remarkably superior to that of previously reported w-TEGs. Besides, the practicality of our w-TEG was showcased by successfully driving a quartz watch at room temperature.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1045-1055
Number of pages11
JournalACS Applied Materials and Interfaces
Volume14
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2022 Jan 12
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • fill factor
  • finite element simulation flexibility
  • melamine foam encapsulation
  • normalized power density
  • wearable thermoelectric generator

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)

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