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A Coupled Thermal and Mechanical Model of a Thermal Energy Harvesting Device

[+] Author Affiliations
Katherine E. Bulgrin, Y. Sungtaek Ju, Greg P. Carman, Adrienne S. Lavine

University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA

Paper No. IMECE2009-13040, pp. 327-335; 9 pages
  • ASME 2009 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition
  • Volume 6: Emerging Technologies: Alternative Energy Systems; Energy Systems: Analysis, Thermodynamics and Sustainability
  • Lake Buena Vista, Florida, USA, November 13–19, 2009
  • Conference Sponsors: ASME
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-4379-6 | eISBN: 978-0-7918-3863-1
  • Copyright © 2009 by ASME


In this paper, a two-step thermal energy harvester is analyzed. “Two-step” refers to thermal to mechanical energy conversion followed by mechanical to electrical conversion. A numerical code is developed to predict the behavior and thermomechanical performance of the device. The physical motion of the device is dependent on both temperature and the position of an actuator plate, so equations based on multiple physical forces are solved simultaneously to find the operational characteristics. To verify the accuracy of the code, numerical predictions of device frequency are compared to experimental results. Furthermore, four parameters are varied in a parametric study to observe the effect on the predicted temperature, power output, and efficiency of the device.

Copyright © 2009 by ASME
Topics: Thermal energy



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