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Thermoelectric Generator Experiment

  1. Jul 26, 2013 #1

    I am trying to turn a thermoelectric peltier cooler I recently bought into a weak thermoelectric generator. (I bought this one https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002UQQ3Q2/ref=oh_details_o04_s00_i00?ie=UTF8&psc=1 ) .

    I built a basic series circuit with 2 3V batteries and a 1 Ω resistor and this so I could determine which side was the cool side and which side was the hot side and labeled them accordingly.

    Now, I don't want to ruin the the piece but would like to convert it into a weak electrical generator by. To do this, I understand I have to create a temperature differential across the device, my question is, am I supposed to heat the hot side and cool the cold side, or am I supposed to heat cool side and cool what is the hot side in order to produce an electric current.

    If I had to guess, I would heat the hot side and cool the cold side. Any advice is appreciated! Thanks!
    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2017
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 27, 2013 #2


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    You are in a good position to experiment.
    If you keep your temperature difference within specification you will not damage the element.
  4. Jul 27, 2013 #3
    As far as I know, the emf generated depends on the temperature difference and not the absolute temperatures. So you can either heat one junction or cool the other.

    And it doesn't matter which side you heat or cool. Changing the hot and cold juntions only reverses the direction of the current.
  5. Jul 27, 2013 #4
    It did work, got a small engine to spin, in both directions with opposite polarity. Thanks for everyone's input.
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