Date of Award

12-2016

Degree Name

Master of Science in Engineering

Department

Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

First Advisor

Dr. HoSung Lee

Second Advisor

Dr. Bade Shreshta

Third Advisor

Dr. Chris Cho

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access

Abstract

With increasing demand for energy harvesting systems, research has been conducted in different areas in which Thermoelectric Generators (TEG) find their way into the top of many available resources. Out of many energy harvesting systems available, TEGs are comparatively easier to study, to manufacture and also to comprehend while producing enough energy for applications they find use in. They are solid state devices, meaning; they do not have any moving parts and hence makes them durable. Most of the energy that goes out of the automobile as exhaust is reused to power the TEGs. In most of the works that’s been analyzed, only electrical impedence matching was considered while thermal impedence matching including heat exchangers was ignored. This project explores the possibility of obtaining higher power output while both these matchings were simultaneously considered. An ideal and effective way of generating power will be discussed, which is established by optimizing a thermoelectric module. A one dimensional analytical model is developed in Mathcad. Later, a 3D model of the same has been numerically simulated using ANSYS workbench. Insights of the numerical modelling has been discussed and the results show that the Power Output of a TEG can be drastically improved at low leg lengths. The electrical resistance of the contact material and also the copper conductor cannot be neglected. Also the thermal conductance of the ceramic substrates can be changed by changing its material to Aluminum Nitride (AIN) which makes the power output close to an ideal case.

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