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TitleCharacterization of thermoelectric generators by measuring the load-dependence behavior
Author(s)Carmo, J. P.
Antunes, Joaquim
Ribeiro, J. F.
Silva, M. F.
Gonçalves, L. M.
Correia, J. H.
Data acquisition
Thermoelectric generator
Seebeck effect
Power source characterization
Measurement setup
Issue date1-Dec-2011
Abstract(s)Solid-state thermoelectric generators (TEGs) based on the Seebeck effect to convert temperature gradients, DT [K], into electrical energy are being used in an increased number of stand-alone microsystems applications. These generators are composed by at least one pair of p- and n-type thermoelectric elements with high figures-of-merit, ZT, to perform such a conversion. The exact behavior knowledge of generators is mandatory in order to decide the most suitable for the target application. The focus of this paper is to present a methodology to characterize thermoelectric generators, by measuring their behavior for different types of loads. The measurements were done with the help of commercial thermoelectric generators (thermoelectric modules TEC1-12707) and a measurement setup composed by a controlled hot-plate, a controlled cooling fan (above an heat dissipator), a set of two thermistors for measuring the temperature, a personal computer with the data acquisition board model NI USB-6009 and the LabView software from National Instruments for acquiring the measures and for controlling both the hot-plate and the cooling fan. The thermoelectric modules TEC1-12707 was selected due to its compact size (e.g., 40 mm 40 mm) and because it can withstand temperatures up to 450 K without degrading the quality of measurements. A SPICE model for thermoelectric modules TEC1-12707 was also obtained: an open-circuit voltage of Vopen = 53.17 DT [mV] and an internal resistance of R0 = 3.88 X with a tolerance of DRint = 0.13 X such that Rint = R0 ± DRint = 3.88 ± 0.13 X. The measurements done under the maximum output power delivery condition (for the maximum temperature gradient of DT = 51 C) resulted in the maximum output power of Pout = 500 mW, as well as in the output current and voltage of Iout = 357 mA and Vout = 1.40 V, respectively. The load resistance of 3.92 X (Vout/Iout) is also in accordance with the measurements because it is located in the range [l r, l + r] X, where l = R0 = 3.88 X and r = DRint = 0.13 X. An Agilent multimeter model 34410A with 6½ digits was used for measuring the voltages at the TEG’s output and the respective currents.
AccessRestricted access (UMinho)
Appears in Collections:CAlg - Artigos em revistas internacionais/Papers in international journals
DEI - Artigos em atas de congressos internacionais

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