Numerical Investigation for Strengthening Heat Transfer Mechanism of the Tube-Row Heat Exchanger in a Compact Thermoelectric Generator
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According to the basic principle of heat transfer enhancement, a 1-kW compact thermoelectric generator (TEG) is proposed that is suitable for use at high temperatures and high flow speeds. The associated heat exchanger has a tube-row structure with a guide-plate to control the thermal current. The heat exchanger has a volume of 7 L, and the TEG has a mass of 8 kg (excluding the thermoelectric modules (TEMs)). In this paper, the heat transfer process of the tube-row exchanger is modeled and analyzed numerically; and the influences of its structure on the heat transfer and temperature status of the TEMs are investigated. The results show that use of the thin - wall pipes and increase of surface roughness inside the pipes are effective ways to improve the heat transfer efficiency, obtain the rated surface temperature, and make the TEG compact and lightweight. Furthermore, under the same conditions, the calculated results are compared with the data of a fin heat exchanger. The comparison results show that the volume and mass of the tube-row heat exchanger are 19% and 33% lower than those of the fin type unit, and that the pressure drop is reduced by 16%. In addition, the average temperature in the tube-row heat exchanger is increased by 15°C and the average temperature difference is increased by 19°C; the tube-row TEG has a more compact volume and better temperature characteristics.
KeywordsCompact thermoelectric generation tube-row heat exchanger structure design heat transfer enhancement temperature distribution
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This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No: 51375168), and the experiments were supported by the Guangzhou WANON Electric & Machine Co., Ltd.
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