Couple-Compression Technology


Executive Summary


With increasing emphasis on energy efficiency and alternative sources of energy, researchers continually search for methods of energy generation and storage that increase efficiency and reduce costs. One such method of recovering otherwise wasted energy is the implementation of thermoelectric devices. Thermoelectric devices operate most efficiently when there is significant temperature differences, which over time may generate fractures and failures due to dissimilar thermal expansion within the material. This is particularly detrimental in applications that experience thermal cycling.


Description of Technology


This MSU-developed technology maintains compression stresses on the devices during operation and standby so as to prevent the propagation of cracks resulting from general use. The device is designed such that the ‘cold shoe’ is aligned on the periphery of a concentric circle with the ‘hot shoe.’ The contraction of the outer cold shoe is coupled with the expansion of the inner hot shoe compresses the entire device and retards crack growth and generation.


Key Benefits

  • More efficient
  • Wastes less thermoelectric material
  • More reliable (less thermally induced stress failure)
  • Does not require bypass circuitry to eliminate failed couples



  • Vehicle exhaust
  • Stationary power generation
  • NASA applications
  • Hot water heater/furnace


Patent Status: 


Patent Pending.


Licensing Rights Available


Non-exclusive rights available.


Inventors: Harold Schock, George Zhu, Edward Timm, Trevor Ruckle, Kevin Moran


Tech ID: TEC2014-0089


Patent Information:

For Information, Contact:

Brian Copple
Technology Manager
Michigan State University