We demonstrate a thermo-magneto-electric generator (TMEG) based on second-order phase transition of soft magnetic materials that provides a promising pathway for scavenging low-grade heat. It takes advantage of the cyclic magnetic forces of attraction and repulsion arising through ferromagnetic-to-paramagnetic phase transition to create mechanical vibrations that are converted into electricity through piezoelectric benders. To enhance the mechanical vibration frequency and thereby the output power of the TMEG, we utilize the nonlinear behavior of piezoelectric cantilevers and enhanced thermal transport through silver (Ag) nanoparticles (NPs) applied on the surface of a soft magnet. This results in large enhancement of the oscillation frequency reaching up to 9 Hz (300% higher compared with that of the prior literature). Optimization of the piezoelectric beam and Ag NP distribution resulted in the realization of nonlinear TMEGs that can generate a high output power of 80 μW across the load resistance of 0.91 MΩ, which is 2200% higher compared with that of the linear TMEG. Using a nonlinear TMEG, we fabricated and evaluated self-powered temperature-mapping sensors for monitoring the thermal variations across the surface. Combined, our results demonstrate that nonlinear TMEGs can provide additional functionality including temperature monitoring, thermal mapping, and powering sensor nodes.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Materials Science(all)