Jump to main content
Jump to site search

Issue 22, 2016
Previous Article Next Article

Thermoelectric plastics: from design to synthesis, processing and structure–property relationships

Author affiliations

Abstract

Thermoelectric plastics are a class of polymer-based materials that combine the ability to directly convert heat to electricity, and vice versa, with ease of processing. Potential applications include waste heat recovery, spot cooling and miniature power sources for autonomous electronics. Recent progress has led to surging interest in organic thermoelectrics. This tutorial review discusses the current trends in the field with regard to the four main building blocks of thermoelectric plastics: (1) organic semiconductors and in particular conjugated polymers, (2) dopants and counterions, (3) insulating polymers, and (4) conductive fillers. The design and synthesis of conjugated polymers that promise to show good thermoelectric properties are explored, followed by an overview of relevant structure–property relationships. Doping of conjugated polymers is discussed and its interplay with processing as well as structure formation is elucidated. The use of insulating polymers as binders or matrices is proposed, which permit the adjustment of the rheological and mechanical properties of a thermoelectric plastic. Then, nanocomposites of conductive fillers such as carbon nanotubes, graphene and inorganic nanowires in a polymer matrix are introduced. A case study examines poly(3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene) (PEDOT) based materials, which up to now have shown the most promising thermoelectric performance. Finally, a discussion of the advantages provided by bulk architectures e.g. for wearable applications highlights the unique advantages that thermoelectric plastics promise to offer.

Graphical abstract: Thermoelectric plastics: from design to synthesis, processing and structure–property relationships

Back to tab navigation
Please wait while Download options loads

Publication details

The article was received on 25 Feb 2016 and first published on 07 Jul 2016


Article type: Tutorial Review
DOI: 10.1039/C6CS00149A
Citation: Chem. Soc. Rev., 2016,45, 6147-6164
  • Open access: Creative Commons BY license
  •   Request permissions

    Thermoelectric plastics: from design to synthesis, processing and structure–property relationships

    R. Kroon, D. A. Mengistie, D. Kiefer, J. Hynynen, J. D. Ryan, L. Yu and C. Müller, Chem. Soc. Rev., 2016, 45, 6147
    DOI: 10.1039/C6CS00149A

    This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported Licence. Material from this article can be used in other publications provided that the correct acknowledgement is given with the reproduced material.

    Reproduced material should be attributed as follows:

    • For reproduction of material from NJC:
      [Original citation] - Published by The Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) on behalf of the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) and the RSC.
    • For reproduction of material from PCCP:
      [Original citation] - Published by the PCCP Owner Societies.
    • For reproduction of material from PPS:
      [Original citation] - Published by The Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) on behalf of the European Society for Photobiology, the European Photochemistry Association, and RSC.
    • For reproduction of material from all other RSC journals:
      [Original citation] - Published by The Royal Society of Chemistry.

    Information about reproducing material from RSC articles with different licences is available on our Permission Requests page.

Search articles by author