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Maximum Utilization of Thermoelectric Materials

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2 Author(s)
Burgess, James P. ; Ohio Semiconductors Division Tecumseh Products Company ; Milligan, Neal P.

This paper covers the derivation of the factors related to the most effective use of thermoelectric materials for cooling and power generation. It is shown theoretically and verified experimentally that device performance is maintained constant independent of the amount of thermoelectric material used. A practical limit in this weight reduction exists, and is shown to be dependent upon the quality of the contact resistance obtained. Experiments with Bismuth Telluride alloys demonstrate a sizeable improvement is feasible in the cost and weight of thermoelectric devices. Performance figures of 1.3×106 watts/lb. generation, and 5×106btu/hr·lb. cooling are shown feasible.

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Aerospace, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:2 ,  Issue: 2 )