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|How Heat Can Generate Electricity
In the diagram below, thermoelectric current is being made with two different semi-conductors, a conductor connecting them, and heat. Electrons flow away from the heat in the n-type ("negative") semiconductor and, in effect, toward the heat in the p-type ("positive"). When something like a radio is fixed to the ends of the semiconductors, current flows through it and, hence, powers it.
The direct conversion of heat into an electric current
is demonstrated below as the heat from a candle, acting
through a thermocouple, produces more than two amperes of
Thermoelectric generators are not very efficient for large-scale use, but they are ideal for powering satellites (usually with a radioactive heat source) and for the powering of small appliances (radios, for example) in areas where "traditional" electric generation is unavailable.
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This page was last updated on 06/04/2017.