Collier Miers, the first thesis student to graduate from the MTEC lab, defended his MS thesis on Dec 4, 2015! Congratulations, Collier!
Collier Miers joined the MTEC lab in August 2013 as one of the first two students in the lab. His thesis work, entitled "Towards High-Throughput, Simultaneous Characterization of Thermal and Thermoelectric Properties", helped build up the capabilities of the MTEC Lab. Collier will continue with the MTEC lab as a PHD candidate in the spring.
The extension of thermoelectric generators to more general markets requires that the devices be aordable and practical (low $/Watt) to implement. A key challenge in this pursuit is the quick and accurate characterization of thermoelectric materials, which will allow researchers to tune and modify the material properties quickly. The goal of this thesis was to design and fabricate a high-throughput characterization system for the simultaneous characterization of thermal, electrical, and thermoelectric properties for device scale material samples.
The measurement methodology presented in this thesis combines a custom designed measurement system created specically for high-throughput testing with a novel device structure that permits simultaneous characterization of the material properties. The measurement system is based upon the 3w method for thermalconductivity measurements, with the addition of electrodes and voltage probes to measure the electrical conductivity and Seebeck coecient. A device designed and optimized to permit the rapid characterization of thermoelectric materials is also presented. This structure is optimized to insure 1D heat transfer within the sample, thus permitting rapid data analysis and tting using a personalized MATLAB script.
Verication of the thermal portion of the system is presented using fused silica and sapphire materials for benchmarking. The fused silica samples yielded a thermal conductivity of 1.21 W/(m K), while a thermal conductivity of 31.2 W/(m K) was measured for the sapphire samples.