A new type of fabric generates electrical current very effectively from temperature variations. This permits sensors and small processors to supply themselves with energy without connecting to wires.
Thermoelectric materials can convert warmth into electrical energy. That is due to the so-called Seebeck effect: If there’s a temperature difference between the two ends of such a fabric, the electrical voltage can be generated, and the current can begin to flow. The so-called ZT value measures the quantity of electrical energy that can be generated at a given temperature distinction: The upper the ZT worth of a fabric, the better its thermoelectric properties.
The best thermoelectrics to this point had been measured at ZT values of around 2.5 to 2.8. Scientists at TU Wien (Vienna) have now succeeded in creating entirely new materials with a ZT value of 5 to 6. It’s a thin layer of iron, vanadium, tungsten, and aluminum utilized to a silicon crystal.
The brand new material is so efficient that it may very well be used to supply energy for sensors and even small laptop processors. As an alternative connecting small electrical devices to wires, they may generate their electricity from temperature variations. The new material has now been introduced in the journal Nature.
At the Christian Doppler Laboratory for Thermoelectricity, which Ernst Bauer developed at TU Wien in 2013, different thermoelectric materials for various purposes have been studied over the last few years. This analysis has now led to the invention of a very remarkable material—a mix of the iron, vanadium, tungsten, and aluminum.