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Title: The impact of thermoelectric leg geometries on thermal resistance and power output

Abstract

Thermoelectric devices enable direct, solid-state conversion of heat to electricity and vice versa. Rather than designing the shape of thermoelectric units or legs to maximize this energy conversion, the cuboid shape of these legs has instead remained unchanged in large part because of limitations in the standard manufacturing process. However, the advent of additive manufacturing (a technique in which freeform geometries are built up layer-by-layer) offers the potential to create unique thermoelectric leg geometries designed to optimize device performance. This work explores this new realm of novel leg geometry by simulating the thermal and electrical performance of various leg geometries such as prismatic, hollow, and layered structures. The simulations are performed for two materials, a standard bismuth telluride material found in current commercial modules and a higher manganese silicide material proposed for low cost energy conversion in high-temperature applications. The results include the temperature gradient and electrical potential developed across individual thermoelectric legs as well as thermoelectric modules with 16 legs. Even simple hollow and layered leg geometries result in larger temperature gradients and higher output powers than the traditional cuboid structure. As a result, the clear dependence of thermal resistance and power output on leg geometry provides compelling motivationmore » to explore additive manufacturing of thermoelectric devices.« less

Authors:
 [1];  [2]
  1. Univ. é de Toulouse, Toulouse Cedex (France)
  2. The George Washington Univ., Washington, DC (United States)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
George Washington Univ., Washington, DC (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), Office of Defense Programs (DP)
OSTI Identifier:
1566136
Alternate Identifier(s):
OSTI ID: 1568919
Grant/Contract Number:  
NA0003858
Resource Type:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Journal of Applied Physics
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 126; Journal Issue: 9; Journal ID: ISSN 0021-8979
Publisher:
American Institute of Physics (AIP)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
30 DIRECT ENERGY CONVERSION

Citation Formats

Thimont, Yohann, and LeBlanc, Saniya. The impact of thermoelectric leg geometries on thermal resistance and power output. United States: N. p., 2019. Web. doi:10.1063/1.5115044.
Thimont, Yohann, & LeBlanc, Saniya. The impact of thermoelectric leg geometries on thermal resistance and power output. United States. doi:10.1063/1.5115044.
Thimont, Yohann, and LeBlanc, Saniya. Tue . "The impact of thermoelectric leg geometries on thermal resistance and power output". United States. doi:10.1063/1.5115044. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1566136.
@article{osti_1566136,
title = {The impact of thermoelectric leg geometries on thermal resistance and power output},
author = {Thimont, Yohann and LeBlanc, Saniya},
abstractNote = {Thermoelectric devices enable direct, solid-state conversion of heat to electricity and vice versa. Rather than designing the shape of thermoelectric units or legs to maximize this energy conversion, the cuboid shape of these legs has instead remained unchanged in large part because of limitations in the standard manufacturing process. However, the advent of additive manufacturing (a technique in which freeform geometries are built up layer-by-layer) offers the potential to create unique thermoelectric leg geometries designed to optimize device performance. This work explores this new realm of novel leg geometry by simulating the thermal and electrical performance of various leg geometries such as prismatic, hollow, and layered structures. The simulations are performed for two materials, a standard bismuth telluride material found in current commercial modules and a higher manganese silicide material proposed for low cost energy conversion in high-temperature applications. The results include the temperature gradient and electrical potential developed across individual thermoelectric legs as well as thermoelectric modules with 16 legs. Even simple hollow and layered leg geometries result in larger temperature gradients and higher output powers than the traditional cuboid structure. As a result, the clear dependence of thermal resistance and power output on leg geometry provides compelling motivation to explore additive manufacturing of thermoelectric devices.},
doi = {10.1063/1.5115044},
journal = {Journal of Applied Physics},
number = 9,
volume = 126,
place = {United States},
year = {2019},
month = {9}
}

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