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BPN835: Silicon Carbide Passivated Electrode for Thermionic Energy Conversion

Project ID BPN835
Start Date Thu 2016-Aug-18 14:21:41
Last Updated Fri 2017-Aug-11 16:24:52
Abstract Thermionic energy converters (TECs) are based on the emission of electrons from a hot electrode (cathode) into a vacuum gap and their collection by a cooler electrode (anode), delivering an electric current through the load. In this process, they convert heat directly into electricity and have the potential to achieve high efficiencies comparable to those of conventional heat engines. We have initiated a highly collaborative project to develop a microfabricated, close-gap thermionic energy converter for directly converting heat from a combustion source into electricity. One of the key challenges is associated with the cathode which needs to be highly conductive and survive temperatures as hot as 2000 C in an oxidizing environment. While tungsten is an attractive choice for the cathode, it readily oxidizes under the envisioned conditions. Owing to its chemical inertness and mechanical strength at high temperatures, silicon carbide is an effective option for electrode passivation. In this work, we are developing processes for fabricating a SiC-protected tungsten electrode, exploring the necessity and effectiveness of interdiffusion barriers, and investigating its long-term stability under harsh environments.
Status Continuing
Funding Source Federal
IAB Research Area NanoTechnology: Materials, Processes & Devices
Researcher(s) Steven R. DelaCruz, Ping Cheng, Dungsheng Tsai, Zhongtao Wang
Advisor(s) Roya Maboudian, Carlo Carraro
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