Title: Thermal characteristics of a skutterudite thermoelectric generator: influence of device pin length on efficiency and output power

Authors: Bekir S. Yilbas; Ahmet Z. Sahin

Addresses: Mechanical Engineering Department, King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals, Dhahran 31261, Saudi Arabia ' Mechanical Engineering Department, King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals, Dhahran 31261, Saudi Arabia

Abstract: Thermodynamic analysis is presented in terms of dimensionless operating parameters, which includes temperature and load resistance ratios, and dimensionless device pin length for a skutterudite thermoelectric generator. To obtain the device geometric configuration maximising the thermal efficiency, the device characteristics are computed for various values of operating and pin geometric parameters. It is found that the device maximum efficiency does not coincide with the optimum dimensionless device pin length corresponding to the maximum thermal efficiency. Altering load resistance from its optimum value lowers the thermal efficiency considerably and the thermal efficiency variation becomes gradual for the reduced external load resistance. In addition, electrical resistance of the thermoelectric generator beyond its optimum value has an adverse effect on the thermal efficiency.

Keywords: skutterudite; thermoelectric generators; pin length; thermal efficiency; output power; thermodynamic analysis; temperature; load resistance; electrical resistance.

DOI: 10.1504/IJEX.2016.077430

International Journal of Exergy, 2016 Vol.20 No.3, pp.343 - 360

Received: 21 Nov 2014
Accepted: 19 Aug 2015

Published online: 29 Jun 2016 *

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