Voltage amplification of thermopower waves via current crowding at high resistances in self-propagating combustion waves

Taehan Yeo, Hayoung Hwang, Yonghwan Cho, Dongjoon Shin, Wonjoon Choi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Combustion wave propagation in micro/nanostructured materials generates a chemical-thermal-electrical energy conversion, which enables the creation of an unusual source of electrical energy, called a thermopower wave. In this paper, we report that high electrical resistance regimes would significantly amplify the output voltage of thermopower waves, because the current crowding creates a narrow path for charge carrier transport. We show that the structurally defective regions in the hybrid composites of chemical fuels and carbon nanotube (CNT) arrays determine both the resistance levels of the hybrid composites and the corresponding output voltage of thermopower waves. A sudden acceleration of the crowded charges would be induced by the moving reaction front of the combustion wave when the supplied driving force overcomes the potential barrier to cause charge carrier transport over the defective region. This property is investigated experimentally for the locally manipulated defective areas using diverse methods. In this study, thermopower waves in CNT-based hybrid composites are able to control the peak voltages in the range of 10-1000 mV by manipulating the resistance from 10 Ω to 100 kΩ. This controllable voltage generation from thermopower waves may enable applications using the combustion waves in micro/nanostructured materials and better understanding of the underlying physics.

Original languageEnglish
Article number305402
Issue number30
Publication statusPublished - 2015 Jul 31


  • carbon nanotube
  • chemical fuel
  • combustion
  • current crowding
  • energy conversion
  • thermopower wave

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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