Oamenii de știință creează cristale care generează electricitate din căldură

Dispozitivele termoelectrice anterioare foloseau elemente scumpe și toxice. Oamenii de știință au creat acum cristale ieftine formate din cupru, mangan, germaniu și sulf care pot transforma eficient căldura în electricitate.

Mineral sulfurat sintetic cu proprietăți termoelectrice.

Într-un efort de a converti eficient căldura în energie electrică, materialele ușor accesibile din materii prime inofensive deschid noi orizonturi în dezvoltarea așa-numitelor materiale termoelectrice sigure și ieftine. Cupru metal sintetic dobândește o structură complexă și microscopică prin simple modificări ale compoziției sale, punând bazele proprietăților sale dezirabile, potrivit unui studiu publicat recent în jurnal. Chimie aplicată.

Noul material sintetic este fabricat din cupru, mangan, germaniu și sulf și este produs printr-un proces destul de simplu, explică savantul de materiale Emmanuel Gilmou, cercetător CNRS la Laboratorul CRISMAT, Caen, Franța, și autorul corespondent al studiului. . „Pudrele sunt amestecate mecanic prin măcinare cu bile pentru a forma o fază de precristalizare, care este apoi condensată la 600 de grade.[{” attribute=””>Celsius. This process can be easily scaled up,” he says.

Thermoelectric materials convert heat to electricity. This is especially useful in industrial processes where waste heat is reused as valuable electric power. The converse approach is the cooling of electronic parts, for example, in smartphones or cars. Materials used in these kinds of applications have to be not only efficient, but also inexpensive and, above all, safe for health.

However, thermoelectric devices used to date make use of expensive and toxic elements such as lead and tellurium, which offer the best conversion efficiency. To find safer alternatives, Emmanuel Guilmeau and his team have turned to derivatives of natural copper-based sulfide minerals. These mineral derivatives are mainly composed of nontoxic and abundant elements, and some of them have thermoelectric properties.

Now, the team has succeeded in producing a series of thermoelectric materials showing two crystal structures within the same material. “We were very surprised at the result. Usually, slightly changing the composition has little effect on the structure in this class of materials,” says Emmanuel Guilmeau describing their discovery.

The team found that replacing a small fraction of the manganese with copper produced complex microstructures with interconnected nanodomains, defects, and coherent interfaces, which affected the material’s transport properties for electrons and heat.

Emmanuel Guilmeau says that the novel material produced is stable up to 400 degrees Celsius (750 degrees Fahrenheit), a range well within the waste heat temperature range of most industries. He is convinced that, based on this discovery, novel cheaper, and nontoxic thermoelectric materials could be designed to replace more problematic materials.

Reference: “Engineering Transport Properties in Interconnected Enargite-Stannite Type Cu2+xMn1−xGeS4 Nanocomposites” by Dr. V. Pavan Kumar, S. Passuti, Dr. B. Zhang, Dr. S. Fujii, K. Yoshizawa, Dr. P. Boullay, Dr. S. Le Tonquesse, Dr. C. Prestipino, Prof. B. Raveau, Prof. P. Lemoine, Dr. A. Paecklar, Dr. N. Barrier, Prof. X. Zhou, Prof. M. Yoshiya, Dr. K. Suekuni, Dr. E. Guilmeau, 13 September 2022, Angewandte Chemie International Edition.
DOI: 10.1002/anie.202210600

Funding: Agence Nationale de la Recherche, Horizon 2020 Framework Programme, Japan Society for the Promotion of Science

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