Magnetocaloric Devices for Solid State Cooling & Energy Harvesting Applications
It is well known that energy efficiency is one of the fundamental challenges of the 21st century. To reduce energy usage and its associated dependence on limited natural resources, it is of utmost importance to engineer new energy efficient technologies and resolve specific critical issues that inhibit the transition of these technologies from the lab into society. To this end, development of novel devices enabled with the “magnetocaloric” class of functional materials is proposed for two sustainable energy-related emerging technologies: (a) magnetic refrigeration - an environmentally friendly alternative to conventional vapor-compression cooling; and (b) magnetocaloric energy conversion - a thermal energy harvesting technology with an estimated energy efficiency of 30–60% of that of an ideal Carnot cycle.
There are a number of magnetic refrigerator and thermomagnetic energy harvesting device designs being developed today that are anticipated to provide high efficient energy transformations, provided that appropriate working materials can be developed. This team will conduct research to evaluate, optimize and predict the magnetocaloric and thermal response of select rare-earth-free intermetallic compounds. Promising materials systems will be used for testing home-built prototypes designed for magnetic cooling and energy harvesting applications in large-scale platforms such as data center infrastructures, hybrid vehicles and chemical industries.
- Design and development of new magnetic refrigerator/energy harvester device designs, and subsequent fabrication of proof-of-concept prototype devices.
- Development of processing schemes (conventional and 3d-printing) that will allow shaping of the magnetocaloric working material into useful architectures for integration in a device prototype.
- Comprehensive assessment of engineering attributes (thermal transport; mechanical/chemical stability) of select magnetocaloric materials at high temperatures.