Thermoelectric generators (TEGs) can convert body heat into electricity, thereby providing a continuous power source for wearable and implantable devices. For wearables, the low fill factor (area occupied by legs over the TEG base area) TEG modules are relevant as they provide large thermal gradient across the legs and require less material, which reduces the cost and weight. However, TEGs with a fill factor below 15% suffer from reduced mechanical robustness; consequently, commercial modules are usually fabricated with a fill factor in the range of 25-50%. In this study, TEG modules with a low and high fill factor are demonstrated and their performance is compared in harvesting body heat. Fabricated modules demonstrate ∼80% output power enhancement as compared to commercially available designs, resulting in high power density of up to 35 μW/cm2 in a steady state. This enhanced power is achieved by using two-third less thermoelectric materials in comparison to commercial modules. These results will advance the ongoing development of wearable devices by providing a consistent high specific power density source.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Materials Science(all)