Thermoelectrics and their Applications

After doing research for a couple of months, I look back at the time I first started, and its quite fascinating how much ground I have covered since then.  From the time I started, I have come quite far in terms of understanding of the subject matter.  I have gained a better understanding of what the field of thermoelectrics is all about.  Working in the lab has been awesome.  It makes me feel like everything I have learned through school, I am actually implementing in the lab.  It provides the hands on experience that every student should experience.  It is one thing when you learn things throughout school and from reading books and it is something totally different when you actually perform in the lab and apply what you learn.

I have learned about the many applications of thermoelectric materials and they are quite interesting.  However, one that really intrigues me is the application of thermoelectrics in cars.  Many car manufacturers are looking to implement thermoelectrics in their cars so that they may be able to use waste heat from the car and convert it into usable energy.  The way they would be able to do this is by using thermoelectric materials near the tail pipe of the car, where hot air produced from the engine leaves through the back of the car.  These thermoelectric materials would be able to use the temperature gradient produced and turn it into electricity that the car can use for various instruments inside it.  This is one of the many applications of thermoelectrics and how they are used in various ways.

Thermoelectrics, research, and all school related stuff put aside, it has been a quarter full of fun and learning.  I’m looking really forward to break, relaxing, and a lot of catching up on sleeping, and lastly next quarter of school and research.  I’m excited for the future, what’s to come, and being able to do research in my lab along with my group.

Also, I’d like to thank Ryan Need and Rachel Koltun for their guidance, patience, and for being great mentors helping me throughout my research experience.