A BRIEF SURVEY OF ELEMENTARY THERMOELECTRIC THEORY
NAVAL RESEARCH LAB WASHINGTON DC
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The three fundamental effects of thermoelectricity - EEBECK, Peltier, and Thomson - are presented and the corresponding coefficients are defined. Following a simplified derivation of the Kelvin relations, a more sophisticated and detailed presentation of the irreversible thermo dynamic approach to these relations is made. It is demonstrated that these relations are valid in spite of the arbitrary assumptions as the separation of thermal and electrical conduction made in the former derivation. Next, a brief summary is given of a derivation of the expression for the Seebeck coefficient based on a quasi-free electron model and simple energy dependence of an isotropic relation time. In closing, the attempt to apply band theory to the search for better thermoelectric materials is briefly described and some interesting ideas for improvement are mentioned along with criticisms concerning predictions of the maximum possible figure of merit.
- Electricity and Magnetism