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Effective thermal conductivity in thermoelectric materials

Baranowski, Lauryn L. and Snyder, G. Jeffrey and Toberer, Eric S. (2013) Effective thermal conductivity in thermoelectric materials. Journal of Applied Physics, 113 (20). Art. No. 204904. ISSN 0021-8979. doi:10.1063/1.4807314.

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Thermoelectric generators (TEGs) are solid state heat engines that generate electricity from a temperature gradient. Optimizing these devices for maximum power production can be difficult due to the many heat transport mechanisms occurring simultaneously within the TEG. In this paper, we develop a model for heat transport in thermoelectric materials in which an “effective thermal conductivity” (κ_eff) encompasses both the one dimensional steady-state Fourier conduction and the heat generation/consumption due to secondary thermoelectric effects. This model is especially powerful in that the value of κeff does not depend upon the operating conditions of the TEG but rather on the transport properties of the TE materials themselves. We analyze a variety of thermoelectric materials and generator designs using this concept and demonstrate that κ_(eff) predicts the heat fluxes within these devices to 5% of the exact value.

Item Type:Article
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URLURL TypeDescription
Snyder, G. Jeffrey0000-0003-1414-8682
Additional Information:© 2013 AIP Publishing LLC. Received 6 March 2013; accepted 6 May 2013; published online 23 May 2013. L.L.B. was supported by the Department of Defense (DoD) through the National Defense Science & Engineering Graduate Fellowship (NDSEG) Program. G.J.S. gratefully acknowledges the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and AFOSR MURI FA9550-10-1-0533 for support. E.S.T. acknowledges the NSF Materials Research Science and Engineering Center at CSM (NSF-MRSEC award DMR0820518) for funding. The information, data, or work presented herein was funded in part by the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E), U.S. Department of Energy, under Award No. DE-AR0000287.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Department of Defense (DoD) National Defense Science & Engineering Graduate Fellowship (NDSEG) ProgramUNSPECIFIED
AFOSR MURIFA9550-10-1-0533
NSF Materials Research Science and Engineering CenterDMR0820518
Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E)DE-AR0000287
Subject Keywords:Fourier analysis; heat engines; thermal conductivity; thermoelectric conversion; thermoelectric devices; thermoelectric power
Issue or Number:20
Classification Code:PACS: 84.60.Rb; 85.80.Fi; 89.20.Kk; 07.20.Pe
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20130715-115823060
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Official Citation:Effective thermal conductivity in thermoelectric materials Lauryn L. Baranowski, G. Jeffrey Snyder, and Eric S. Toberer, J. Appl. Phys. 113, 204904 (2013), DOI:10.1063/1.4807314
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:39367
Deposited On:15 Jul 2013 20:41
Last Modified:09 Nov 2021 23:44

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