Prof. Kamal Krishna Kar


Umang Gupta Chair Professor
Professor, Department of Mechanical En

and Materials Science Programme
Indian Institute of Technology

Kanpur 208016, UP, India

                                           Phone: (+91) (512) 2597687/2598703/(+91) (0)9415081153

                                                                                                     Fax: (+91) (512) 2597408



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What is thermoelectric?

Would you like to utilize waste heat and/or solar energy into electrical energy by using novel material? Thermoelectrics play a vital role in the field of renewable energy conversion technologies for balancing the global energy crisis. It has proved the potential use in various high end technological applications such as missiles, space-crafts, etc. The thermoelectric performance of devices mainly depend on the type of materials used in it and their individual properties such as Seebeck coefficient, electrical conductivity, thermal conductivity, thermal stability, etc. The low thermal conductivity requirement is to maintain a large temperature gradient, high Seebeck coefficient is for producing a large potential difference and high electrical conductivity is to minimize the Joule heating effect, respectively.

The pre-requisites for a good thermoelectric materials are as (i) it should have high electrical conductivity (> 50 S/cm), (ii) it should have a high Seebeck coefficient (> 200 μV/K), and (iii) it should have a low thermal conductivity (≤ 1.5 W/m.K). A proper control in these parameters within a single material is quite challenging.

Device specification: Open circuit voltage: 5 volts, current: 700 mA, 250 elements (125 couples, standard size of commercial element) at the temperature difference of 100 K, ZT of 0.8-1.0 at 300 K, ZT of 1.0-1.2 at 400 K and ZT of 1.2 to 1.5 at high temp i.e., 600 K, high Seebeck coefficient ≥ 250 μV/K at 300 K, and lattice thermal conductivity of ~ 1 W/m.K and power factor of  15-20 μW/cm.K2 at 300 K