High-entropy polymer produces a giant electrocaloric effect at low fields

Xiaoshi Qian, Donglin Han, Lirong Zheng, Jie Chen, Madhusudan Tyagi, Qiang Li, Feihong Du, Shanyu Zheng, Xingyi Huang, Shihai Zhang, Junye Shi, Houbing Huang, Xiaoming Shi, Jiangping Chen, Hancheng Qin, Jerzy Bernholc, Xin Chen, Long Qing Chen, Liang Hong, Q. M. Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

129 Scopus citations

Abstract

More than a decade of research on the electrocaloric (EC) effect has resulted in EC materials and EC multilayer chips that satisfy a minimum EC temperature change of 5 K required for caloric heat pumps1–3. However, these EC temperature changes are generated through the application of high electric fields4–8 (close to their dielectric breakdown strengths), which result in rapid degradation and fatigue of EC performance. Here we report a class of EC polymer that exhibits an EC entropy change of 37.5 J kg−1 K−1 and a temperature change of 7.5 K under 50 MV m−1, a 275% enhancement over the state-of-the-art EC polymers under the same field strength. We show that converting a small number of the chlorofluoroethylene groups in poly(vinylidene fluoride-trifluoroethylene-chlorofluoroethylene) terpolymer into covalent double bonds markedly increases the number of the polar entities and enhances the polar–nonpolar interfacial areas of the polymer. The polar phases in the polymer adopt a loosely correlated, high-entropy state with a low energy barrier for electric-field-induced switching. The polymer maintains performance for more than one million cycles at the low fields necessary for practical EC cooling applications, suggesting that this strategy may yield materials suitable for use in caloric heat pumps.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)664-669
Number of pages6
JournalNature
Volume600
Issue number7890
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 23 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General

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