||Simulation Analysis of Tilted Polyhedron-Shaped Thermoelectric Elements
Meng, XiangningSuzuki, Ryosuke O.
Journal of electronic materials
1476 , 2015-06 , Springer
The generation of thermoelectricity is considered a promising approach to harness the waste heat generated in industries, automobiles, gas fields, and other man-made processes. The waste heat can be converted to electricity via a thermoelectric (TE) generator. In this light, the generator performance depends on the geometric configuration of its constituent elements as well as their material properties. Our previous work reported TE behaviors for modules consisting of parallelogram-shaped elements, because elements with tilted laminate structures provide increased mechanical stability and efficient heat-transferring ability from the hot surface to the cold surface. Here, we study TE elements in the shape of a polyhedron that is obtained by mechanically truncating the edges of a parallelogram element in order to further enhance the generator performance and reduce TE material usage. The TE performance of the modules consisting of these polyhedron elements is numerically simulated by using the finite-volume method. The output power, voltage, and current of the polyhedral TE module are greater than those of the parallelogram-element module. The polyhedron shape positively affects heat transfer and the flow of electric charges in the light of increasing the efficiency of conversion from heat to electricity. By varying the shape of the truncated portions, we determine the optimal shape that enables homogeneous heat flux distribution and slow diffusion of thermal energy to obtain the better efficiency of conversion of heat into electricity. We believe that the findings of our study can significantly contribute to the design policy in TE generation.