Dunham, M.T., Hendricks, T.J., and Goodson, K.E., 2019, “Thermoelectric Generators: A Case Study in Multi-Scale Thermal Engineering Design,” Advances in Heat Transfer, Vol. 51, Ch. 5, pp. 299-350, Elsevier, New York.
Thermoelectric phenomena in materials result in the coupling of electric charge and thermal energy transport primarily through the Seebeck, Peltier, and Thomson effects. When properly assembled into a device architecture, materials exhibiting these effects enable the direct conversion of thermal energy to electricity in one configuration, or a heat pump developing a thermal gradient in response to an input of electric power. Thermoelectric effects are present to some degree in all materials with free electrons or holes, though they are most prominent and useful in a small subset of metals and semiconductors which present a favorable combination of thermal and electrical transport properties through the thermal and electrical conductivity parameters, as well as the thermally-driven electrical charge carrier diffusion captured by the Seebeck coefficient….