Date of Award

January 2016

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Civil Engineering (MSCE)


Civil Engineering

First Advisor

Na Lu

Committee Member 1

Jan Olek

Committee Member 2

John Haddock


Close to 60% of energy produced in the U.S. is wasted as heat, which can be directly converted into electricity using thermoelectric (TE) technology via the Seebeck effect. However, the potential use of TE technology for energy harvesting has not been fully explored yet, especially in civil infrastructure applications. Therefore, the aim of this work is to investigate the possibility of developing TE concrete by incorporating semiconductor nanoparticles, such as zinc oxides (ZnO) and ZnO alloys in cement paste. This study has systematically evaluated the influence of aluminum ZnO (AZO) nanoparticles and undoped zinc oxide (ZnO) nanoparticles on the thermoelectric, hydration, and rheological behavior of portland cement paste. In order to elucidate the thermoelectric efficiency of semiconductors nanoparticles in cement paste, physical and chemical experiments were performed on ordinary portland cement pastes with water to binder ratio of 0.35 dosed with 0, 0.2, 0.4, 0.6, 0.8, and 1% weight fraction of ZnO and AZO nanoparticles. At the SMART Lab at Purdue, the thermoelectric behavior was evaluated with a newly developed test method of Seebeck coefficient measurement on cementitous materials, along with electrical and thermal conductivity measurements. In order to elucidate the chemical aspects of the hydration properties, X-ray diffractometry,