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MEMS Seminar: "Concepts for the direct conversion of heat to electricity with multiferroics"

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Wednesday, October 04, 2023
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
Professor Richard James
MEMS Seminar Series

Thomas Lord Department of Mechanical Engineering & Materials Science
Fall 2023 Seminar Series with Professor Richard James, Professor of Aerospace Engineering Mechanics at the University of Minnesota.

"Concepts for the direct conversion of heat to electricity using multiferroics"

We describe progress on materials and devices for the direct conversion of heat to electricity applicable to the small temperature difference regime, 10-200 C. This regime includes abundant natural and waste heat sources, but there is currently no reasonable method to harvest the energy. We are pursuing an idea
based on the use of first order phase transformations with either an abrupt change of magnetization or
polarization at the transformation. In the ferromagnetic case the electricity is harvested by induction; in the ferroelectric case, by capacitance. It is a "direct" method in the sense that there is no separate electrical
generator. We survey the theory of this method, the design of the materials and devices, and the analysis of various cycles. We compare theoretical predictions and the behavior of a prototype under cyclic heating/cooling.
These devices provide interesting possible ways to recover the vast amounts of energy stored on earth at small temperature difference. They move heat produced by natural and man-made sources from higher to lower temperature and therefore contribute negatively to global warming. Joint work with Bharat Jalan and
Ashley Bucsek.

RICHARD D. JAMES is Distinguished McKnight University Professor in the Department of Aerospace Engineering and Mechanics at the University of Minnesota. He has a Sc.B. in Engineering from Brown University and a Ph.D. in
Mechanical Engineering from the Johns Hopkins University. James' current research concerns prediction of the effect of stress on the
superconducting transition temperature, links between non-adiabatic quantum mechanics, molecular dynamics and continuum mechanics, the search for a shape memory ceramic material, the origins of soft magnetism, structural origami design, and new methods for the direct conversion of heat to electricity using phase transformations in multiferroic materials. For more
information see /

Contact: Amy Spaulding