Document Type

Conference Paper


Available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International Licence


Civil engineering

Publication Details

Civil Engineering Research in Ireland (CERI) Conference 2022


Because of the thermoelectric (TE) effect (or Seebeck effect), a difference of potential is generated as a consequence of a temperature gradient across a sample. The TE effect has been mostly studied and engineered in semiconducting materials and it already finds several commercial applications. Only recently the TE effect in cement-based materials has been demonstrated and there is a growing interest in its potential. For instance, a temperature gradient across the external walls of a building can be used to generate electricity. By the inverse of the TE effect (or Peltier effect), one can also seek to control the indoor temperature of a building by biasing TE elements embedded in its external walls. In designing possible applications, the TE properties of cement-based materials must be determined as a function of their chemical composition. For instance, the TE properties of cement paste can be enhanced by the addition of metal oxide (e.g., Fe2O3) powder. In this paper, a single thermoelectric leg is studied using the finite element method. Metal oxide additives in the cement paste are modelled as spherical inhomogeneities. The thermoelectric properties of the single components are based on experimental data, while the overall thermoelectric properties of the composites are obtained from the numerical model. The results of this numerical study are interpreted according to the effective medium theory (EMT) and its generalisation (GEMT).



This research is supported through a US-Ireland grant tri-funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF, 1805818), Science Foundation Ireland (SFI, 17/US/3424), and the Department for the Economy of Northern Ireland (DfE, USI 127).