A model study for cyclic thermal loading and thermal performance of a thermoelectric generator



Thermal cyclic loading influences the life cycle of the thermoelectric device pins because of the thermal stress developed in the pins. Although thermal efficiency improves for different geometric configurations of the device pins, development of thermal stresses limit the selection of pin geometry in practical applications, particularly under cyclic thermal loading. Consequently, in the present study, thermal stress analysis of thermoelectric pins under cyclic thermal loading is carried out. The influence of thermoelectric pin geometry on the stress levels is examined when the device is subjected to the thermal cyclic loading. The predictions of thermal stress distribution are validated with the data presented in the open literature. It is found that pin geometric configuration has a significant effect on the stress levels developed in the pin when subjected to cyclic thermal loading. The pin configuration RA = 1 (parallel pins) results in the minimum value of the maximum von Mises stress in the pins as compared to that corresponding to other configurations. Copyright © 2014 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.