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Title: Compatibility of segmented thermoelectric generators
Authors: Snyder, J.
Ursell, T.
Issue Date: 27-Aug-2002
Citation: 21st Conference on Thermoelectrics
Long Beach, CA, USA
Abstract: It is well known that power generation efficiency improves when materials with appropriate properties are combined either in a cascaded or segmented fashion across a temperature gradient. Past methods for determining materials used in segmentation weremainly concerned with materials that have the highest figure of merit in the temperature range. However, the example of SiGe segmented with Bi2Te3 and/or various skutterudites shows a marked decline in device efficiency even though SiGe has the highest figure of merit in the temperature range. The origin of the incompatibility of SiGe with other thermoelectric materials leads to a general definition of compatibility and intrinsic efficiency. The compatibility factor derived as = (Jl+zr - 1) a~ is a function of only intrinsic material properties and temperature, which is represented by a ratio of current to conduction heat. For maximum efficiency the compatibility factor should not change with temperature both within a single material, and in the segmented leg as a whole. This leads to a measure of compatibility not only between segments, but also within a segment. General temperature trends show that materials are more self compatible at higher temperatures, and segmentation is more difficult across a larger -T. The compatibility factor can be used as a quantitative guide for deciding whether a material is better suited for segmentation orcascading. Analysis of compatibility factors and intrinsic efficiency for optimal segmentation are discussed, with intent to predict optimal material properties, temperature interfaces, and/or currentheat ratios.
Appears in Collections:JPL TRS 1992+

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