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Shockwave Fabrication of High Performance Thermoelectrics

Award Information
Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Branch: N/A
Contract: NNX10CB69C
Agency Tracking Number: 080035
Amount: $600,000.00
Phase: Phase II
Program: STTR
Solicitation Topic Code: T8.01
Solicitation Number: N/A
Solicitation Year: 2008
Award Year: 2010
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2010-08-24
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2012-11-23
Small Business Information
2000 Wyoming Avenue
El Paso, TX 79903-3501
United States
DUNS: 799041889
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 David Nemir
 Principal Investigator
 (915) 533-7800
Business Contact
 David Nemir
Title: President
Phone: (915) 533-7800
Research Institution
 University of Texas at El Paso
 Roberto Osegueda
500 W. University Avenue
El Paso, TX 79968
United States

 (915) 747-5680
 Domestic Nonprofit Research Organization

Thermoelectric (TE) generators have the advantages of no moving parts and flexibility in deployment but suffer from low heat to electricity conversion efficiencies, with a major loss component being conductive (phonon) heat transfer through the TE lattice. By using a high pressure shockwave consolidation, nanopowders can be fused into a solid bulk TE material while preserving the nanostructure. The high density of grain boundaries and lattice defects impedes phonon transport while allowing electron flow. Specific Phase 2 research thrusts will be directed at transitioning laboratory fabrication into volume manufacturing, at producing a graded thermoelectric that is optimized for different temperature ranges over the length of the element, and at preparing bulk thermoelectric material from transition metal trichalcogenides that are not appropriate for melt or powder sintered fabrication.

The overall conversion efficiency of a TE device will always be limited by the Carnot ratio of (Th-Tc)/Th, where Th and Tc are the temperatures of the hot and cold junctions. With the restrictions on phonon transport accruing from nanopowder consolidation, conversion efficiencies in excess of 30% of the Carnot limit are reasonable.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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