Journal of Materials Science

, Volume 42, Issue 10, pp 3520–3528 | Cite as

Enhancement of the generating power in Cu/Bi–Te/Cu composite thermoelectric devices

  • Osamu YamashitaEmail author
  • Hirotaka Odahara


The voltage ΔV and electric current ΔI of the p- and n-type Cu/Bi–Te/Cu composite thermoelectric devices were measured as a function of ΔT for four regions of the intrinsic Bi–Te compound, Cu/Bi–Te and Bi–Te/Cu interfaces and Cu/Bi–Te/Cu composite using thermocouples set at intervals of s = 2 and 6 mm, where the lengths of Bi–Te compound and copper are 4 and 5 mm, respectively. ΔV and ΔI of all regions tended to increase linearly with an increase of ΔT. The resultant α was obtained from the relation ΔVT. The resultant α values of regions including the interface are much higher in absolute value than those of the intrinsic Bi–Te compounds, so that the barrier thermo-emf is found to occur in the forward-bias direction. It indicates that the barrier thermo-emf appears even in the semiconductor-metal junction, as in the case of the p–n junctions. The resultant α of Cu(TH)/Bi–Te interface rich in the heat flow increases with an increase of ΔT, while that of Bi–Te/Cu(TC) interface poor in the heat flow decreases with an increase of ΔT. The ΔT-dependence of α of the interfaces is entirely opposite at the hot and cold sides. As a result, the resultant α of the p- and n-type Cu/Bi–Te/Cu composites remained little varied with changes of ΔT, so that the present composites have a thermal stability superior to the intrinsic Bi–Te compounds.The generating powers ΔWBi-Te and ΔWCu/Bi-Te/Cu for the p- and n-type intrinsic Bi–Te compounds and Cu/Bi–Te/Cu composites increased parabolalically with an increase of ΔT, and the ratios of ΔWCu/Bi–Te/Cu to ΔWBi–Te reached great values of 1.41 and 1.45 for the p- and n-type composites, respectively. It was thus found that the enhancement in the resultant α of the composite materials results in a significant improvement in the conversion efficiency for generators.


Seebeck Coefficient Thermoelectric Material Energy Conversion Efficiency Cold Side Eutectic Solder 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of EngineeringEhime UniversityMatsuyamaJapan
  2. 2.IbarakiJapan

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