Determination of Electrical Contact Resistivity in Thermoelectric Modules (TEMS) from Module-Level Measurements


An experimental apparatus was developed to characterize the performance of a thermoelectric module (TEM) and heat sink assembly when the TEM was operated in refrigeration mode. A numerical model was developed to simulate the experiments. Bulk and interfacial Ohmic heating, the Peltier effect, Thomson effect and temperature-dependent bulk material properties, i.e., Seebeck coefficient and electrical conductivity were considered. A novel, self-consistent characterization methodology was developed to obtain the electrical contact resistivity at the interconnects in a TEM from the numerical simulations and the experiments. The electrical contact resistivity of the module tested was determined to be approximately 1.0 × 10−9 omega_m2. The predictions are consistent with electrical contact resistivity obtained based on the performance specifications (Tmax) of the TEM.

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