Thermoelectric Materials

Student: Caitlyn Ward, 2019-2020

Sponsor: Yanliang Zhang, Notre Dame, IN

Thermoelectric materials convert excess heat into electricity. Previous research and development aimed at converting the excess heat from large heat sources, like engines and power plants, into usable electricity via rigid and bulky thermoelectric generators. This new technology being developed in the Advanced Manufacturing and Energy Lab at the University of Notre Dame aims to use a thin, flexible film to create an electric current. This film is created using additive manufacturing via nanocrystal 3D printing and sintering onto a pre-fabricated substrate. The lab is in the process of building a new 3D printer specific to their needs, where they aim to experiment with new substrates and more precise printing techniques. The hope is this technology will be a wearable device; currently enough voltage is produced to power small sensors that one might wear in a hospital, but future uses could be self-charging for watches or other wearable devices.