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The 346th forum: Efficient energy-conversion near room-temperature with transition metal based magnetic materials

Date: 2018-10-30
Time: 14:00
Venue: M238
Speaker: Prof. Ekkes Brück

Fundamental Aspects of Materials and Energy, Faculty of Science, Delft University of Technology, Netherlands


Dr. Ekkes Brück is a full professor at the Faculty of Applied Sciences at Delft University of Technology and head of the section Fundamental Aspects of Materials and Energy. Employing microscopic and macroscopic techniques, his main research interest is in materials for renewable energy and energy saving (MCE, Li-ion batteries, H storage, solar cells, self-healing materials, catalysts). In this work in-situ, neutron scattering, X-ray diffraction, positron annihilation and Mössbauer spectroscopy play an important role.

His major scientific effort and scholarly contribution of the past 15 years is to establish magnetocaloric material as a new, sustainability-oriented discipline. He is recognized as leading expert in this field. 

Overall, he has published more than 450 papers with about 10000 citations (ISI); generated 13 patents. His h-index is 40. He has acquired 20 projects as principal investigator, procuring a total of more than 12 Million Euros for his group, currently he has 3.95 million euro projects running. He is the co-editor for 3 journals, co-organized the Intermag Conference in Amsterdam and initiated the recurring Delft Days on Magnetocalorics.


Magneto-caloric power conversion can be used to convert heat into electricity that up to now was considered as waste. This new technology therefore has the potential to significantly contribute to the energy transition on a global scale.

With the advent of giant magneto-caloric effects (MCE) that occur in conjunction with magneto-elastic or magneto-structural phase transition of first order (FOT), room temperature heat-pump applications became feasible. In this context the MnFe(P,X) system is of particular interest as it contains earth abundant ingredients that are not toxic. This material family derives from the Fe2P compound, a prototypical example known since a long time to exhibit a sharp but weak FOT at 210 K (-63°C).

Magneto-caloric power-conversion calls for a somewhat different combination of properties [1], in particular a large latent heat that is favourable for a heat-pump, is detrimental for power conversion as a lot of heat is needed to change the temperature. Yet a large change of magnetization is required, which suggests one should either employ materials exhibiting exchange inversion or second order materials. Magnetically highly responsive materials in combination with the field generated by a permanent magnet open the way to new technology for magnetic refrigeration, heat pumps and power generation. Employing the highly efficient coupling between the degrees of freedom of magnetic spins and lattice vibrations in a solid, will render energy conversion and energy generation technologies that get close to the theoretical limits.

[1] Theo Christiaanse and Ekkes Brück. Proof-of-Concept Static Thermomagnetic Generator Experimental Device. Metallurgical and Materials Transactions E 1, 36-40 (2014). DOI: 10.1007/s40553-014-0006-9.

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