Publication Date

8-2015

Date of Final Oral Examination (Defense)

6-22-2015

Type of Culminating Activity

Thesis

Degree Title

Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering

Department

Mechanical and Biomechanical Engineering

Major Advisor

Donald Plumlee, Ph.D.

Advisor

Yanliang Zhang, Ph.D.

Advisor

Michelle Sabick, Ph.D.

Abstract

The market for implantable medical devices is growing rapidly. Research and Markets predicts that by the end of 2015 the market for pacemakers will be 5.1 billion dollars, and a projected growth of 13.82% between 2013 and 2018. The average lifespan of an implantable medical device’s battery is only 5 years, while the projected lifespan of the device itself is 10 years. There is an excess of invasive surgeries occurring to replace these batteries, costing the healthcare system millions of dollars and also causing patients a large degree of discomfort and pain.

Thermoelectric generators have the potential to supplement and eventually replace these battery systems, allowing devices to reach their full lifespan. The process for developing thin film, and flexible thermoelectric generators was explored in this study with the intent of designing for biomedical applications. Screen-printing was used as the manufacturing method and several pastes were formulated and tested to compare their thermoelectric potential.

A new breed of thermoelectric materials that were built from a bottom-up perspective was the precedent for this research. While they have shown great potential for creating bulk pellets, their application in thin films was still relatively unexplored. The most promising sample created had an electrical conductivity of 6775 S/m, a Seebeck of -125 μV/m and a power factor of 105 μW/m-K2. The potential and limitations of this process are discussed.

Available for download on Wednesday, August 23, 2017

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