Date of Final Oral Examination (Defense)
Type of Culminating Activity
Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering
Mechanical and Biomechanical Engineering
Yanliang Zhang, Ph.D.
John F. Gardner, Ph.D.
Inanc Senocak, Ph. D.
Thermoelectric generators (TEGs) convert heat to electricity by way of the Seebeck effect. TEGs have no moving parts and are environmentally friendly and can be implemented with systems to recover waste heat. This work examines complete thermoelectric systems, which include the (TEG) and heat exchangers or heat sinks attached to the hot and cold sides of the TEG to maintain the required temperature difference across the TEG. A 1-D steady state model is developed to predict the performance of a TEG given the required temperatures and device dimensions. The model is first validated using a 3-D model and then is used to examine methods to improve the TEG performance. A numerical model is developed to predict the thermal performance of heat exchangers to be used in combination with the TEG model. The combined thermoelectric generator – heat exchanger model, is compared with a 3-D model and then used to predict the performance of a TEG – heat exchanger system used to recover waste heat from a diesel engine. Next natural convection heat sinks are modeled and studied to be implemented with the TEG. A model is developed to predict the performance of a system applied for power harvesting in a nuclear power plant. The model is also used to design a system to recover waste heat from the human body. Finally, a novel natural convection heat sink is suggested, where microwires act as the extended surface for the heat sink. The microwire heat sink is modeled accounting for the relevant thermal physics. The microwire heat sink is used in combination with the TEG model to predict the performance of a system used to recover waste body heat.
Gamarachchi, Buddhima Pasindu, "Thermoelectric System Modeling and Design" (2017). Boise State University Theses and Dissertations. 1296.