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Open AccessArticle

Fabrication and Characterization of Flexible Thermoelectric Generators Using Micromachining and Electroplating Techniques

1
Department of Mechanical Engineering, National Chung Hsing University, Taichung 402, Taiwan
2
Department of Biomedical Engineering, National Taiwan University, Taipei 106, Taiwan
3
Department of Electro-Optical Engineering, National United University, Miaoli 360, Taiwan
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Micromachines 2019, 10(10), 660; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi10100660
Received: 20 August 2019 / Revised: 27 September 2019 / Accepted: 29 September 2019 / Published: 30 September 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue 10th Anniversary of Micromachines)
This study involves the fabrication and measurement of a flexible thermoelectric generator (FTG) using micromachining and electroplating processes. The area of the FTG is 46 × 17 mm2, and it is composed of 39 thermocouples in series. The thermoelectric materials that are used for the FTG are copper and nickel. The fabrication process involves patterning a silver seed layer on the polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA) substrate using a computer numerical control (CNC) micro-milling machine. Thermoelectric materials, copper and nickel, are deposited on the PMMA substrate using an electroplating process. An epoxy polymer is then coated onto the PMMA substrate. Acetone solution is then used to etch the PMMA substrate and to transfer the thermocouples to the flexible epoxy film. The FTG generates an output voltage (OV) as the thermocouples have a temperature difference (ΔT) between the cold and hot parts. The experiments show that the OV of the FTG is 4.2 mV at ΔT of 5.3 K and the output power is 429 nW at ΔT of 5.3 K. The FTG has a voltage factor of 1 μV/mm2K and a power factor of 19.5 pW/mm2K2. The FTG reaches a curvature of 20 m−1. View Full-Text
Keywords: thermoelectric generator; flexibility; micromachining; electroplating; thermocouple thermoelectric generator; flexibility; micromachining; electroplating; thermocouple
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MDPI and ACS Style

Lee, W.-L.; Shih, P.-J.; Hsu, C.-C.; Dai, C.-L. Fabrication and Characterization of Flexible Thermoelectric Generators Using Micromachining and Electroplating Techniques. Micromachines 2019, 10, 660.

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