MPhil/PhD in Elastomeric Power Generator for Harvesting Mechanical Energy

Supervisor: Dr Chaoying Wan

PhD Project Overview

Various new materials and techniques for clean and renewable energy have been intensively investigated to address environmental pollution and fossil fuel shortage.

This project aims to design novel elastomeric power generators to convert mechanical energy into electricity by using electroactive elastomers (EAPs) nanocomposites.

Previous research reported that an EAP generator could produce a peak power of 1.2 W with as low as 10cm-height of ocean wave, indicating the potential of generation of megawatt capacity by using larger amounts of EAPs. The power generation efficiency of such EAPs is estimated to be 5 – 7.5 US cents per kilowatt-hour, comparable to that for fossil fuel thermal power plants.

The performance of EAPs depends on their dielectric permittivity and mechanical properties. Incorporation of dielectric fillers to EAPs can enhance the dielectric constant but decreases the flexibility of the elastomers due to high filler concentrations. Graphene, the strongest material ever measured, also has high thermal and electrical conductivity.

In this project, combining the high energy density and conversion efficiency of EAPs and conductivity of graphene, a robust ‘direct drive’ generator will be constructed. Such elastomeric power generators can be feasibly assembled with damping materials to realize vibration damping, mechanical energy harvesting and electricity generation at the same time, leading to a green regeneration and recycling of energy.

The mechanism and technology developed in this project can also be extended to development of other artificial motors for energy conversion.

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Applicants should have a First Class UK honours degree or equivalent, in a relevant discipline such as Engineering, Chemistry, Polymer Technology, Nanotechnology or Materials Science.

An MSc in a relevant subject is highly desirable.

Please note that the scholarship is only available to UK and EU applicants.

Awards available: 1 award available

Funding Details: Fees and Maintenance at RCUK level

Length of Award: 3 years (PhD)

Eligibility: Available to Home (UK & EU) students

Application Details: 

Please contact prior to submitting a formal application.

Apply directly through the PG Admissions system (note reference number)

Deadline:  31st January 2013 

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