UTEP Professor to Create an Electricity Generating Device Using Explosives
May 21, 2009
Dr. Lawrence Murr, Chair of the Department of Metallurgical and Materials Engineering at The University of Texas at El Paso has received a grant to create thermoelectric materials using explosives.
The project, titled “Phase I STTR: Shockwave Fabrication of High Performance Thermoelectrics” received funding from TXL Group, Inc., a local company that manufactures thermoelectric materials and devices, converting wasted heat to electricity. Since current solar materials are not 100% effective when converting heat to electricity, much of the heat produced is wasted.
TXL Group, Inc. hopes that Dr. Murr’s research, which uses explosives to create the materials, will enhance the materials’ efficiency.
Using explosives to create things isn’t new to UTEP’s Metallurgical Engineering Department. Dr. Murr currently holds the patent on the process using explosives to fabricate superconductors.
“It’s the only way we know of to create a solid without melting the material,” said Dr. Murr. “You change the properties of the material if you heat it up and melt it. We need the material in a solid form without melting it.”
The commercialization potential of Dr. Murr’s research includes the possibility of creating devices that could sit on the side of a highway or in a desert and generate electricity.
“It’s novel because it’s the only way of keeping this stuff in the form we want it.”
Dr. Murr has been Chair of the Department of Metallurgical and Materials Engineering at UTEP since 1989. He has received numerous awards and honors for his work. Most recently he was selected as the recipient of the prestigious Lee Hsun Research Award in recognition of past accomplishments in the research field of materials science and technology.
For more information on UTEP’s Department of Metallurgical and Materials Engineering visit http://mme.utep.edu.