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Journal of Enhanced Heat Transfer
IF: 0.562 5-Year IF: 0.605 SJR: 0.175 SNIP: 0.361 CiteScore™: 0.33

ISSN Print: 1065-5131
ISSN Online: 1026-5511

Journal of Enhanced Heat Transfer

DOI: 10.1615/JEnhHeatTransf.2011001506
pages 465-480

HEAT TRANSFER ENHANCEMENT USING PROTRUSIONS FOR THERMOELECTRIC POWER GENERATORS

Mahmood Rahi
National university of Sciences and Technology
Tom I-P. Shih
Purdue University
Harold J. Schock
Department of Mechanical Engineering, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan 48824-1226, USA

ABSTRACT

The use of thermoelectric devices is limited by their low efficiencies. Since heat transfer through the thermoelectric couples plays a vital role in determining the efficiency of a thermoelectric (TE) module, substantial effort is being made to enhance the heat transfer which in turn will increase the power generation in the TE heat exchangers. In this computational fluid dynamic (CFD) study, a new design of thermoelectric couple was analyzed. Heat transfer enhancement techniques using protrusions in the hot gas stream were used. It was observed that the cases in which the hot gas is deflected onto the thermoelectric legs result in higher heat transfer. This enhancement in the heat transfer results from the thinning of the thermal boundary layer on top of the channel, due to the local acceleration of the flow. CFD analysis predicts a 15% increase in heat transfer using top bumps, a 30% increase by using the conductor's protrusion, and a 35% increase in heat transfer by using the combination of top bumps and conductor's protrusion. It was also observed that although the use of top bumps and conductors increases the heat transfer, this increase is at the cost of an increased pressure drop across the channel.


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