Journal of Thermal Spray Technology

, Volume 25, Issue 3, pp 431–440 | Cite as

Thermoelectric Device Fabrication Using Thermal Spray and Laser Micromachining

  • Mahder Tewolde
  • Gaosheng Fu
  • David J. Hwang
  • Lei Zuo
  • Sanjay Sampath
  • Jon P. LongtinEmail author
Peer Reviewed


Thermoelectric generators (TEGs) are solid-state devices that convert heat directly into electricity. They are used in many engineering applications such as vehicle and industrial waste-heat recovery systems to provide electrical power, improve operating efficiency and reduce costs. State-of-art TEG manufacturing is based on prefabricated materials and a labor-intensive process involving soldering, epoxy bonding, and mechanical clamping for assembly. This reduces their durability and raises costs. Additive manufacturing technologies, such as thermal spray, present opportunities to overcome these challenges. In this work, TEGs have been fabricated for the first time using thermal spray technology and laser micromachining. The TEGs are fabricated directly onto engineering component surfaces. First, current fabrication techniques of TEGs are presented. Next, the steps required to fabricate a thermal spray-based TEG module, including the formation of the metallic interconnect layers and the thermoelectric legs are presented. A technique for bridging the air gap between two adjacent thermoelectric elements for the top layer using a sacrificial filler material is also demonstrated. A flat 50.8 mm × 50.8 mm TEG module is fabricated using this method and its performance is experimentally characterized and found to be in agreement with expected values of open-circuit voltage based on the materials used.


additive manufacturing (AM) laser micromachining thermal spray thermoelectric generators (TEGs) thermoelectric power generation waste-heat energy harvesting 



The authors gratefully acknowledge support for this work from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) under Agreement # 25222 and the National Science Foundation under Grant CBET #1048744.


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Copyright information

© ASM International 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mahder Tewolde
    • 1
  • Gaosheng Fu
    • 1
  • David J. Hwang
    • 1
  • Lei Zuo
    • 3
  • Sanjay Sampath
    • 2
  • Jon P. Longtin
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Mechanical Engineering, Center for Thermal Spray ResearchStony Brook UniversityStony BrookUSA
  2. 2.Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Center for Thermal Spray ResearchStony Brook UniversityStony BrookUSA
  3. 3.Department of Mechanical EngineeringVirginia TechBlacksburgUSA

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