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Energies 2015, 8(11), 12584-12602;

The Influence of Non-Uniform High Heat Flux on Thermal Stress of Thermoelectric Power Generator

School of Civil Engineering and Architecture, Wuhan University of Technology, No. 122, Luoshi Road, Wuhan 430070, China
School of Energy and Power Engineering, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, No. 1037, Luoyu Road, Wuhan 430074, China
School of Foreign Languages, Wuhan University of Engineering Science. N0. 8, Xiongtingbi Road, Jiangxia District, Wuhan 430200, China
Department of Mechanical Engineering, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, VA 24061, USA
These authors contributed equally to this work.
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Shi Xue Dou
Received: 6 September 2015 / Revised: 24 October 2015 / Accepted: 28 October 2015 / Published: 6 November 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Thermoelectric Energy Harvesting)
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A thermoelectric generator (TEG) device which uses solar energy as heat source would achieve higher efficiency if there is a higher temperature difference between the hot-cold ends. However, higher temperature or higher heat flux being imposed upon the hot end will cause strong thermal stress, which will have a negative influence on the life cycle of the thermoelectric module. Meanwhile, in order to get high heat flux, a Fresnel lens is required to concentrate solar energy, which will cause non-uniformity of heat flux on the hot end of the TEG and further influence the thermal stress of the device. This phenomenon is very common in solar TEG devices but seldom research work has been reported. In this paper, numerical analysis on the heat transfer and thermal stress performance of a TEG module has been performed considering the variation on the power of the heat flux being imposed upon the hot-end; the influence of non-uniform high heat flux on thermal stress has also been analyzed. It is found that non-uniformity of high heat flux being imposed upon the hot end has a significant effect on the thermal stress of TEG and life expectation of the device. Taking the uniformity of 100% as standard, when the heating uniformity is 70%, 50%, 30%, and 10%, respectively, the maximum thermal stress of TEG module increased by 3%, 6%, 12%, and 22% respectively. If we increase the heat flux on the hot end, the influence of non-uniformity on the thermal stress will be more remarkable. View Full-Text
Keywords: thermoelectric generator; non-uniformity; heat flux; thermal stress thermoelectric generator; non-uniformity; heat flux; thermal stress

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Ming, T.; Wang, Q.; Peng, K.; Cai, Z.; Yang, W.; Wu, Y.; Gong, T. The Influence of Non-Uniform High Heat Flux on Thermal Stress of Thermoelectric Power Generator. Energies 2015, 8, 12584-12602.

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