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Unileg Thermoelectric Generator Design for Oxide Thermoelectrics and Generalization of the Unileg Design Using an Idealized Metal

Wijesekara, Waruna and Rosendahl, Lasse and Brown, David R. and Snyder, G. Jeffrey (2015) Unileg Thermoelectric Generator Design for Oxide Thermoelectrics and Generalization of the Unileg Design Using an Idealized Metal. Journal of Electronic Materials, 44 (6). pp. 1834-1845. ISSN 0361-5235. doi:10.1007/s11664-014-3569-4.

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The unileg thermoelectric generator (U-TEG) is an increasingly popular concept in the design of thermoelectric generators (TEGs). In this study, an oxide U-TEG design for high-temperature applications is introduced. For the unicouple TEG design, Ca_3Co_4O_9 and Al-doped ZnO are used as the p- and n-leg thermoelectric materials, respectively. For the U-TEG design, constantan and Ca_3Co_4O_9 are employed as conductor and semiconductor, respectively. The reduced current approach (RCA) technique is used to design the unicouple TEG and U-TEG in order to obtain the optimal area ratio. When both the unicouple TEG and U-TEG were subjected to a heat flux of 20 W/cm^2, the volumetric power density was 0.18 W/cm^3 and 0.44 W/cm^3, respectively. Thermal shorting between the hot and cold sides of the generator through the highly thermally conducting conductor, which is one of the major drawbacks of the U-TEG, is overcome by using the optimal area ratio for conductor and semiconductor given by the RCA. The results are further confirmed by finite-element analysis using COMSOL Multiphysics software. Furthermore, the U-TEG design is generalized by using an idealized metal with zero Seebeck coefficient. Even though the idealized metal has no impact on the power output of the U-TEG and all the power in the system is generated by the semiconductor, the U-TEG design succeeded in producing a higher volumetric power density than the unicouple TEG design.

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Snyder, G. Jeffrey0000-0003-1414-8682
Additional Information:© 2014 The Minerals, Metals & Materials Society. Received July 15, 2014; accepted December 2, 2014; published online December 20, 2014. W.W. and L.R. gratefully acknowledge the Danish Council for Strategic Research for financial support for the current work through the OTE-Power Project under the Program Commission on Sustainable Energy and Environment (Contract No. 10-093971). G.J.S. and D.R.B. acknowledge the Air Force Office of Science Research MURI FA9550-12-1-0002. D.R.B. acknowledges the support of the Resnick Institute.
Group:Resnick Sustainability Institute
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Danish Council for Strategic Research10-093971
Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR)FA9550-12-1-0002
Resnick Sustainability InstituteUNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:Unileg, thermoelectric generator, TEG, thermoelectric, volumetric power density, thermal shorting
Issue or Number:6
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20150603-135324408
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Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:57987
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:04 Jun 2015 19:07
Last Modified:10 Nov 2021 21:57

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