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Thermodynamics of Thermoelectric Phenomena and Applications
Laboratoire CRISMAT, UMR 6508, Caen 14050, France
Institute of Physics, University Halle-Wittenberg, D-06099 Halle (Saale), Germany
Institute of Materials Research, German Aerospace Center (DLR), D-51170 Köln, Germany
California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA 91125, USA
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 2 July 2011; in revised form: 15 July 2011 / Accepted: 29 July 2011 / Published: 15 August 2011
Abstract: Fifty years ago, the optimization of thermoelectric devices was analyzed by considering the relation between optimal performances and local entropy production. Entropy is produced by the irreversible processes in thermoelectric devices. If these processes could be eliminated, entropy production would be reduced to zero, and the limiting Carnot efficiency or coefficient of performance would be obtained. In the present review, we start with some fundamental thermodynamic considerations relevant for thermoelectrics. Based on a historical overview, we reconsider the interrelation between optimal performances and local entropy production by using the compatibility approach together with the thermodynamic arguments. Using the relative current density and the thermoelectric potential, we show that minimum entropy production can be obtained when the thermoelectric potential is a specific, optimal value.
Keywords: thermoelectricity; optimum device design; entropy production; compatibility approach; thermoelectric potential
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MDPI and ACS Style
Goupil, C.; Seifert, W.; Zabrocki, K.; Müller, E.; Snyder, G.J. Thermodynamics of Thermoelectric Phenomena and Applications. Entropy 2011, 13, 1481-1517.
Goupil C, Seifert W, Zabrocki K, Müller E, Snyder GJ. Thermodynamics of Thermoelectric Phenomena and Applications. Entropy. 2011; 13(8):1481-1517.
Goupil, Christophe; Seifert, Wolfgang; Zabrocki, Knud; Müller, Eckhart; Snyder, G. Jeffrey. 2011. "Thermodynamics of Thermoelectric Phenomena and Applications." Entropy 13, no. 8: 1481-1517.