Thermal and stress analyses in thermoelectric generator with tapered and rectangular pin configurations


Yilbas B. S. , Akhtar S. S. , Sahin A. Z.

ENERGY, vol.114, pp.52-63, 2016 (Journal Indexed in SCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 114
  • Publication Date: 2016
  • Doi Number: 10.1016/j.energy.2016.07.168
  • Title of Journal : ENERGY
  • Page Numbers: pp.52-63
  • Keywords: Thermoelectric generator, Thermal stress, Pin geometry, Tapered pins, POWER GENERATOR, PERFORMANCE, DEVICE, SIMULATIONS, MODEL

Abstract

Thermal stress developed in thermoelectric generators is critical for long service applications. High temperature gradients, due to a large temperature difference across the junctions, causes excessive stress levels developed in the device pins and electrodes at the interfaces. In the present study, a thermoelectric generator with horizontal pin configuration is considered and thermal stress analysis in the device is presented. Ceramic wafer is considered to resemble the high temperature plate and copper electrodes are introduced at the pin junctions to reduce the electrical resistance between the pins and the high and low temperature junction plates during the operation. Finite element code is used to simulate temperature and stress fields in the thermoelectric generator. In the simulations, convection and radiation losses from the thermoelectric pins are considered and bismuth telluride pin material with and without tapering is incorporated. It is found that von Mises stress attains high values at the interface between the hot and cold junctions and the copper electrodes. Thermal stress developed in tapered pin configuration attains lower values than that of rectangular pin cross-section. (C) 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.