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Graham Receives Funding from the American Chemical Society's Petroleum Research Fund

Assistant Professor Kenneth Graham received a $110,000 grant from ACS PRF to develop a better understanding of polymer blend thermoelectrics. Thermoelectrics can convert heat energy to useful electrical energy based on the Seebeck effect, or they can utilize electrical energy to produce heating or cooling. Polymer based thermoelectric materials have the potential to be low-cost, are lightweight, and mechanically flexible, which opens up a number of applications if the thermoelectric performance of these materials can be further improved. For example, these materials could be utilized to make the band of a Fitbit, or other wearable electronic device, and provide power for the device based solely on your body heat, or they could be utilized to recover waste heat from higher temperature sources, such as the coolant systems of automobiles. In the proposed research, the Graham group will utilize polymer blends to systematically manipulate the energy dependence of charge transport. They will determine how the film morphology, transport energy differences between the polymers in the blend, and the density of states distribution in the polymer blends influence the Seebeck coefficient and thermoelectric performance.