1 Introduction</h5> Thermoelectric (TE) technique is a new type of environmentally friendly energy conversion technology, which can realize the conversion between thermal energy and electric energy in the most direct way (i.e. electron transport) by thermoelectric materials  . The power devices based on TE materials have many significant applications in military, medical treatment, communication, and space flight and aviation, due to their unique advantages including no working medium leaking and mechanical movement, no vibration and noise, small volume, light weight, and low maintenance cost [2–4] .</P>For TE devices, the conversion efficiency is the key index to evaluate the TE performance. To improve the efficiency, in addition to using high-quality TE materials, the optimal design of the device's structure can be carried out. Jang et al.  investigated the influences of the structure parameters on the TE performance of micro-thermoelectric generators by a finite element method. Numerical results indicated that the larger length of the thermoelements corresponds to the higher TE conversion efficiency. And the efficiency increases as the cross-sectional area of the thermoelements reduces. Sahin and Yilbas  studied theoretically the effect of the shape parameter, associated with the TE leg geometry, on the conversion efficiency of
Applied Thermal Engineering – Elsevier
Published: Dec 5, 2014
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