Room-temperature mechanocaloric effects in lithium-based superionic materials

AK Sagotra and DW Chu and C Cazorla, NATURE COMMUNICATIONS, 9, 3337 (2018).

DOI: 10.1038/s41467-018-05835-9

Mechanocaloric materials undergo sizable temperature changes during stress-induced phase transformations and hence are highly sought after for solid-state cooling applications. Most known mechanocaloric materials, however, operate at non-ambient temperatures and involve first-order structural transitions that pose practical cyclability issues. Here, we demonstrate large room-temperature mechanocaloric effects in the absence of any structural phase transformation in the fast-ion conductor Li3N (vertical bar Delta S vertical bar similar to 25 J K-1 kg(-1) and vertical bar Delta T vertical bar similar to 5 K). Depending on whether the applied stress is hydrostatic or uniaxial the resulting caloric effect is either direct (Delta T > 0) or inverse (Delta T < 0). The dual caloric response of Li3N is due exclusively to stress-induced variations on its ionic conductivity, which entail large entropy and volume changes that are fully reversible. Our work should motivate the search of large and dual mechanocaloric effects in a wide variety of superionic materials already employed in electrochemical devices.

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