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3D printable thermoelectric ink turns car exhaust pipes into power generators


ItemDate=2021-08-25 16:45:50 Status=publish

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A research team from the Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology (UNIST) in Korea has developed a thermoelectric ink capable of producing power-generating tubes using 3D printing.Made up of lead (Pb) and tellurium (Te) the power-generating tubes could form the basis of high-performance thermoelectric generators capable of generating electricity from waste heat from industrial or car exhaust gases.

The researchers believe their development offers a promising means of enhancing fuel energy efficiencies and leveraged 3D printing as a means of overcoming the challenges associated with conventional methods of manufacturing thermoelectric materials such as limited design flexibility.This realization led the UNIST team to turn to 3D printing upon which they successfully designed and produced high-performance power-generating thermoelectric tubes that can be customized for integration with different thermal systems and to allow for geothermal adjustments.3D printing thermoelectric power generators During their study the UNIST team leveraged an extrusion-based 3D printing process for PbTe materials and designed a power-generating thermoelectric tube with customized PbTe ‘legs’.

The researchers 3D printed the PbTe ink into tube-like shapes which were then assembled to form a self-sustaining power-generating thermoelectric tube.According to the researchers the competitive thermoelectric properties and printability of the PbTe materials enabled the design of free-form 3D printed thermoelectric modules beyond the limitations of conventional structures.The 3D printed thermoelectric tubes could therefore be utilized directly as exhaust pipes through which hot fluids flow the team claims and form the basis of a skeleton-type design of a light simple thermoelectric generator system.The design reportedly provides the “most effective means for heat transfer” from high-temperature fluid flow through a tube to a thermoelectric generator as there are no thermal


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