Kim, Dasaroyong (2009-08). Segregated Network Polymer-Carbon Nanotubes Composites For Thermoelectrics. Master's Thesis.
Polymers are intrinsically poor thermal conductors, which are ideal for thermoelectrics, but low electrical conductivity and thermopower have excluded them as feasible candidates as thermoelectric materials in the past. However, recent progress in polymer technology, particularly nanomaterial-polymer composites, can bring them into degenerate semiconductor or metallic regimes by incorporating a small amount of conductive filler. I demonstrate that such polymer nanocomposites can be viable for light-weight and economical thermoelectrics by using a segregated network approach for the nanocomposite synthesis. The thermoelectric properties were further improved by a change of stabilizer and drying conditions. The thermoelectric properties of the segregated network nanocomposites were measured for carbon nanotubes and the thermoelectric figure of merit, ZT, was calculated at room temperature. The influence on thermoelectric properties from filler concentration, stabilizer materials and drying condition are also discussed.