3D printing of highly aligned thermoelectric polymers
KU Leuven
Leuven, Belgium
4 dagen geleden
source : Euraxess

Thermoelectrics (TEs) are energyharvesters that convert waste heat into electrical energy and vice versa (they can use electricity to provide active heating / cooling).

Among the different classesof TE materials, organic TE materials present the advantages of beingnon-toxic, abundant and mechanically flexible.

Therefore, organicthermoelectrics (OTEs) are perfect candidates to power wearable autonomoussensors integrated in smart textiles or even in direct contact with the systems can find multiple applications in biomedicine and sports.

The use of printing technologiesfacilitates the manufacture of OTE materials over large-areas. In particular,3D printing is appealing because it allows the production of verticalstructures with high aspect ratio and elaborated shapes.

However, organicprinted thermoelectrics suffer currently from low performances. Theirperformance depends not only on the material itself, but also on the way itsmolecules are arranged in the solid phase.

The hypothesis of this project isthe re-arrangement of the molecules in a way that they are all oriented in thesame direction (molecular alignment) will lead to a boost in the thermoelectricperformance of the organic material.

In this project, the PhDcandidate is expected to :

  • Developa new setup combining micro-extrusion 3D printing with an external electricfield (e-field) that will induce molecular alignment in the printed polymerleading to a boost in its TE performance.
  • This Electric Field AssistedMolecular Alignment (EFAMA) 3D printing technology will also help improving thepatterning resolution of the 3D structures.

  • Formulatecommercial and customized (semi)conducting polymers with known TE properties asinks with the right rheology to be 3D printed with the developed setup.
  • Evaluatethe effect of the printing parameters and e-field characteristics (AC vs DC,frequency and amplitude) on the final nanostructure and printingresolution.
  • Collaboratewith other researchers in the group to characterize the nanostructure andTE performance of the printed material to validate the initial projecthypothesis.
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