Title page for ETD etd-04182007-105942


Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Derryberry, Rebekah Ann
Author's Email Address rderrybe@vt.edu
URN etd-04182007-105942
Title Artificial Anisotropy for Transverse Thermoelectric Heat Flux Sensing
Degree Master of Science
Department Mechanical Engineering
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Huxtable, Scott T. Committee Chair
Diller, Thomas E. Committee Member
Paul, Mark R. Committee Member
Keywords
  • bismuth telluride
  • semiconductor
  • heat flux sensing
  • transverse thermoelectrics
  • Thomson effect
  • Peltier
  • Seebeck
  • anisotropy
Date of Defense 2007-04-05
Availability unrestricted
Abstract
Thermoelectric phenomenon describes the relationship between the flow of heat and electricity. Two main categories encompassed in thermoelectric theory are the Seebeck and Peltier effects. The Seebeck effect is the generation of a voltage in a device that consists of two different materials in the presence of a temperature gradient, while the Peltier effect is the generation of a temperature gradient across a device of two different materials in the presence of an electrical current. This project focuses on the first of these two phenomena, where the Seebeck effect is used in a novel heat flux sensor that is transverse in nature. Transverse thermoelectric devices are characterized by their anisotropy, meaning that a temperature gradient generated across a device will be perpendicular to the flow of electricity through the device. This orthogonal arrangement allows for the manipulation of material properties, device arrangement, and construction methods for device optimization.

This project characterizes the heat flux sensing capabilities of an artificially anisotropic transverse thermoelectric device via experimental and theoretical methods. The device tested is constructed out of bismuth telluride and titanium grade 5. Bismuth telluride is a standard thermoelectric material, while the titanium is used because of its high melting point and good electrical conductivity. The device is constructed by alternating rectangular pieces of these two materials. These pieces are bonded together at a given angle to simulate anisotropy. Several devices are constructed in a range of angles from 59 to 88°. These devices are each tested in a vacuum chamber where a heater heats one side of the device. This heat flux into the device creates a temperature gradient across the device and the device generates a voltage perpendicular to this temperature gradient. Steady state data are collected for both the temperature difference between the two sides of the device and the voltage generated by the device. This procedure is repeated on each device for a range of heat fluxes from 0 to 2.6 W/cm2. This range generates voltage signals up to 14341 µV for an angle of 59°. Data collected are then used to generate a linear trend line that describes the devices response to a given heat flux. These experimental results are compared to theoretical predictions using thermoelectric theory. The results indicate that the device does exhibit transverse thermoelectric characteristics and the experimental data follow the predicted trends. This thesis documents the process of constructing, testing, and analyzing this device.

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