Thermoelectric Generators With Surface Heat Loss

[+] Author and Article Information
H. B. Nottage

Engineering Research Laboratory, Lockheed Aircraft Corp., Burbank, Calif.

P. S. Starrett

Thermodynamics, Engineering Research Laboratory, Lockheed Aircraft Corporation, Burbank, Calif.

P. L. Winskell

Engineering Research Laboratory, Lockheed Aircraft Corporation, Burbank, Calif.

J. Heat Transfer 84(3), 193-204 (Aug 01, 1962) (12 pages) doi:10.1115/1.3684336 History: Received June 05, 1961


The influence of surface heat loss is treated analytically for unidimensional thermoelectric energy converters. Also, conditions are formulated whereby a gain in thermoelectric generator system efficiency can result from the transfer of heat from the thermoelectric conductors to a convecting fluid. While the general problem of the temperature distribution along the unidimensional conductor is described by a nonlinear differential equation, practical utility is demonstrated for linearization by assuring constant Thomson coefficient and mean-temperature properties within the range of most contemporary thermoelectric materials and applications. Influences of surface heat loss are discussed and demonstrated upon the longitudinal temperature distribution and the source and sink heat conduction rates.

Copyright © 1962 by ASME
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