Performance investigation of thermoelectrics with an external spacer inserted in serious

Jake Kim, Yong Tae Kang, Sang Nyung Kim, Joo Ho Hwang, Soon Geul Lee, Hiki Hong, Moo Geun Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


This study consists of two parts: mathematical modeling for the start-up period (transient system) and an optimum design analysis of a thermoelectric cooler (TEC). In the mathematical modeling for the transient system, a dimensionless time to reach the steady state is determined, which can be practically adopted to reduce the start-up period during the operation of a thermoelectric module (TEM). The objectives of the optimum design analysis are to investigate the effect of key parameters characterizing the TEC on the coefficient of performance (COP) and to determine the optimal conditions for the TEC design. It is found that the COP increases up to 44% with an increase of the ratio of heat transfer area of the insulator to that of the TEM, γ. For micro-TEC, the COP is significantly affected by the TEM depth and spacer. Especially in the case of TEM depth of 100 μm, the COP is enhanced up to 110% at an optimal spacer depth ratio (ε - 1) of 10. The results show that the effect of figure of merit Zm (= S2 / R KTE) on the COP appears differently according to the combination of thermal conductance KTE, electric resistance R and Seebeck constant S of the TEM. It reveals that when a new thermoelectric material is developed, the optimal combination among KTE, R, and S as well as Zm should be considered simultaneously.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)486-494
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of Thermal Sciences
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2008 Apr
Externally publishedYes


  • Coefficient of performance
  • Figure of merit
  • Thermoelectric cooler
  • Thermoelectric module

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Engineering(all)


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