Flexible thermoelectric materials and device optimization for wearable energy harvesting
In this paper, we review recent advances in the development of flexible thermoelectric materials and devices for wearable human body-heat energy harvesting applications. We identify various emerging applications such as specialized medical sensors where wearable thermoelectric generators can have advantages over other energy sources. To meet the performance requirements for these applications, we provide detailed design guidelines regarding the properties of the material, device dimensions, and gap fillers by performing realistic device simulations with important parasitic losses taken into account. For this, we review recently emerging flexible thermoelectric materials suited for wearable applications, such as polymer-based materials and screen-printed paste-type inorganic materials. A few examples among these materials are selected for thermoelectric device simulations in order to find optimal design parameters for wearable applications. Finally we discuss the feasibility of scalable and cost-effective manufacturing of thermoelectric energy harvesting devices with desired dimensions.
- This article is part of the themed collection: The Chemistry of Thermoelectric Materials