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Development of a Multiphysics Model for the Prediction of the Electrical Characteristics of Thermoelectric Modules

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In this research, a methodology is proposed for the prediction of the electrical characteristics of thermoelectric modules in thermoelectric generation systems. The development of the research consists of the use of a multiphysics numerical simulation model, with the aim of evaluating in a coupled and simultaneous way the behavior of the fluid and the thermal and electrical characteristics present in the thermoelectric modules. For the study, the influence of boundary conditions, electric resistance, and the model's predictive capacity have been evaluated. In general, the use of the multiphysics model results in a higher estimate of the output voltage and power. Increases of 10% and 15% in the maximum values of electrical voltage and power compared to a model without thermoelectric effects have been demonstrated. Additionally, the prediction of the behavior of the thermoelectric module without thermoelectric phenomena such as the Joule effect and the Thomson effect produces a lower estimate of the electrical performance, especially in high-temperature conditions. In general, the development of the study has made it possible to demonstrate that multiphysics models are necessary for a real estimation of the electrical performance of thermoelectric modules, allowing them to reach a prediction error of 2.0% and 2.4% in the parameters of voltage and output power.
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Thermoelectric Generator; Multiphysics Model; Thermoelectric Module; Electrical Characteristics

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