Spanish researchers presented a new concept of thermoelectric material consisting of cellulose grown using bacteria, with an admixture of a small amount of electrically conductive carbon nanotubes.
Materials that are able to convert heat into electricity have enormous potential for use in various fields of activity. Therefore, a team of scientists from the Institute of Materials Science Barcelona (ICMAB-CSIC) has developed a resistant, flexible and environmentally friendly thermoelectric material that can be recycled for reuse.
To create it, researchers used special bacteria that were placed in water containing sugar and carbon nanotubes. In the process of life, they produced nanocellose fibers that deteriorating conductive particles. The material obtained has a high heat resistance and is able to withstand the temperature of 250 ° C.
The tiny size of nanotubes allows you to maintain electrical conductivity, even when their concentration is only 1%. The use of a small amount of carbon particles (maximum 10%) ensures the necessary economic and energy efficiency. In the production process, you can control thickness, color and transparency.
Nanotubes and cellulosic nanofibers have similar dimensions, which leads to a homogeneous dispersion. The presence of carbon particles further improves the mechanical properties of the material, making it more deformable, stretchable and resistant.
In the manufacture of toxic elements are not used, therefore cellulose can be processed with enzymes, in parallel, restoring nanotubes, which are the most valuable element of the structure.
The unique properties of the material allow it to apply it to produce electricity from residual heat to power various sensors and internet devices of things or in agriculture. According to scientists, with additional optimization of efficiency, with thermoelectric cellulose, you can create smart thermal insulators or hybrid photoelectric systems. Good flexibility and scalability of the production process will allow the use of material to interact with heat sources of an unusual form or a large area.
Researchers from Universities Cambridge, Illinois and Pennsylvania recently presented at all