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Entropy 2016, 18(7), 255; doi:10.3390/e18070255

Coupled Thermoelectric Devices: Theory and Experiment

Instituto de Investigación en Ciencias Básicas y Aplicadas, Universidad Autónoma del Estado de Morelos, Avenue Universidad No. 1001, Col Chamilpa, Cuernavaca 62209, Mexico
Centro de Investigación en Ciencias, Universidad Autónoma del Estado de Morelos, Avenue Universidad No. 1001, Col Chamilpa, Cuernavaca 62209, Mexico
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Daniel P. Sheehan and Kevin H. Knuth
Received: 17 February 2016 / Revised: 29 March 2016 / Accepted: 1 July 2016 / Published: 14 July 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Limits to the Second Law of Thermodynamics: Experiment and Theory)
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In this paper, we address theoretically and experimentally the optimization problem of the heat transfer occurring in two coupled thermoelectric devices. A simple experimental set up is used. The optimization parameters are the applied electric currents. When one thermoelectric is analysed, the temperature difference Δ T between the thermoelectric boundaries shows a parabolic profile with respect to the applied electric current. This behaviour agrees qualitatively with the corresponding experimental measurement. The global entropy generation shows a monotonous increase with the electric current. In the case of two coupled thermoelectric devices, elliptic isocontours for Δ T are obtained in applying an electric current through each of the thermoelectrics. The isocontours also fit well with measurements. Optimal figure of merit is found for a specific set of values of the applied electric currents. The entropy generation-thermal figure of merit relationship is studied. It is shown that, given a value of the thermal figure of merit, the device can be operated in a state of minimum entropy production. View Full-Text
Keywords: thermoelectric device; entropy production; heat transport; irreversible processes thermoelectric device; entropy production; heat transport; irreversible processes

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Rojas, J.A.; Rivera, I.; Figueroa, A.; Vázquez, F. Coupled Thermoelectric Devices: Theory and Experiment. Entropy 2016, 18, 255.

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