Thermodynamics and Thermoelectricity

Christophe Goupil, Henni Ouerdane, Knud Zabrocki, Wolfgang Seifert, Nicki F. Hinsche, Eckhard Müller

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Thermoelectric (TE) effects result from the interference of electrical current and heat flow in various materials. This chapter presents a retrospective view on some of the milestones in the development of thermoelectricity. It reviews the thermodynamic theory of galvano- and thermomagnetic effects. As for TE materials, the galvano- and thermomagnetic effects can be found to be more pronounced in semiconductor materials. The chapter considers a basic thermodynamic system and thermodynamics of the ideal Fermi gas. Classical thermodynamics, which is useful for describing equilibrium states, provides very incomplete information on the actual physical phenomena, which are characterized by irreversibility and nonequilibrium states. Since the TE process implies the coupling of the heat flux and electric current, these two fluxes should be driven optimally. They derived two key parameters of the compatibility approach, the relative current and the TE potential.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationContinuum Theory and Modeling of Thermoelectric Elements
PublisherWiley Blackwell
Number of pages74
ISBN (Electronic)9783527338405
ISBN (Print)9783527413379
Publication statusPublished - 8 Jan 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Galvanomagnetic effects
  • Ideal Fermi gas
  • Linear nonequilibrium thermodynamics
  • Thermodynamics
  • Thermoelectric systems
  • Thermoelectricity
  • Thermomagnetic effects


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