Progress in Inorganic Semiconductor-Based Thermoelectric Textiles Made by Prof. Zhang Kun-Led Research Team


The research team S.M.A.R.T.headed by Prof. Zhang Kun from DHU College of Textilesmade significant advances in the development of flexible inorganic semiconductor-based thermoelectric textiles. This breakthrough was accomplished through a collaborative effort that included Researcher Zhao Huaizhou and Associate Researcher Li Guodong from the Institute of Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences(CAS), Researcher Zhang Ting from the Institute of Engineering Thermophysics, CAS, and Professor G. Jeffrey Snyder from Northwestern University. Together, they have co-published an article titled “Scalable manufacturing of a durable, tailorable and recyclable multifunctional woven thermoelectric textile system in the prestigious journal Energy & Environmental Science, published by the Royal Society of Chemistry. DHU doctoral student Jing Yuanyuan (enrolled in 2018) serves as the first author of the article; Professor Zhang Kun is the corresponding author, while Researchers Zhao and Zhang, as well as Associate Researcher Li, share the role of co-corresponding authors.

The team has introduced an innovative approach to manufacturing large-scalethermoelectric textiles, enabling continuous weaving of expansive (1,550 square centimeters), washable, and mechanically robust fabrics. These textiles possess the capability to regulate inner-surface temperatures by modulating the magnitude and orientation of direct currents, thereby eliciting warming or cooling effects adaptable to varying temperature conditions. This advancement not only contributes to human well-being but also aligns with the drive to curtail energy consumption. Furthermore, these thermoelectric textiles harness the temperature differential between the human body and its surroundings to generate power for an array of portable electronic devices, which endows them with significant utility in the realms of intelligent wearables and energy storage.

Fig. 1: Conceptual and physical representation of thermoelectric textiles

Fig. 2: Characterization of heating, cooling, and power generation performance of thermoelectric textiles