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Introduction to Thermoelectricity / Edition 1

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Thermoelectric Technical Reference

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Peltier effect

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Thermoelectrics Workshop | International Thermoelectric Society

Telkes M. The Efficiency of Thermoelectric Generators. Paris: CH. Dunod; On the history of Thermoelectricity Development in Russia. Received: February 10, ; Revised: September 9, All the contents of this journal, except where otherwise noted, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License. Services on Demand Journal. Introduction The growing concern with the exhaustion of energy resources indispensable to modern life, such as oil, natural gas and coal, feeds the development of new technologies based on the use of alternative natural resources: solar energy, hydroelectric energy, wind energy, bioenergy, geothermal energy, etc.

Thermoelectric Materials TMs Since Seebeck's discovery, many materials have been considered useful to generate thermoelectricity. Performance of the thermoelectric material Since the 19 th century, engineers had been seeking to build an efficient and economically viable TEG.

The performance z is expressed by the formula 5 It should be emphazised that, unliike the Formula 1, all parameters in the Formula 2 refer to a single material A. At present, such strategy is used in the following investigations 16 : a improvement of traditional TMs already known more than hundred years such as Zinc, Antimonite and Bismuth Telluride; b improvement of new classes of TMs Lead Telluride and Related Compounds; Silicon-Germanium Alloys; Half-Heusler Compounds; Metal Silicides e Boron Carbide; Oxides and others , already having one or several useful physical-chemical properties.

Efficiency of the Heat Engine based on a thermoelectric material pair According to Ioffe, the efficiency h g of the "ideal thermoelectric device" for electric power generation is defined by the equation 3 The efficiency of a real thermoelectric device depends not only on the temperature and the quantity Z, but also on other physical-chemical properties of TMs as well as on the electrical load applied to the TEG and TEG geometry 5. If a normal uncharged gas is placed in a box within a temperature gradient, where one side is cold and the other is hot, the gas molecules at the hot end will move faster than those at the cold end in addition to this thermodynamic difference between hot and cold, there can also be a scattering rate difference. The faster hot molecules will diffuse further than the cold molecules and so there will be a net build up of molecules higher density at the cold end.

The density gradient will drive the molecules to diffuse back to the hot end. In the steady state, the effect of the density gradient will exactly counteract the effect of the temperature gradient so there is no net flow of molecules. If the molecules are charged, the buildup of charge at the cold end will also produce a repulsive electrostatic force and therefore electric potential to push the charges back to the hot end.

If the free charges are positive the material is p-type , positive charge will build up on the cold which will have a positive potential. Similarly, negative free charges n-type material will produce a negative potential at the cold end. Most of the Seebeck coefficient in electronic systems is related to the equilibrium thermodynamics can be described as the entropy transported per charge transported. At low temperature typically less than K and in materials with large phonon thermal conductivity, phonon drag thermopower can be large.

The Seebeck coefficient has a number of simple, approximate forms in certain limiting cases - the intermediate cases are described in [1] and [5]. The thermopower of an insulator often decreases with temperature. The weighted mobility can be defined as a simple function of two measured properties, the Seebeck coefficient and the electrical resistivity. When there are significant number of both electrons and holes contributing to charge transport bipolar charge transport the thermoelectric properties are greatly affected.

This occurs when electrons are excited across the band gap producing minority charge carriers e. The equations for two-band n-type conduction band and p-type valence band transport given below are special forms of the generalized multi-band result given in [1].