Date of Award

2015

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics

Department

Mechanical, Industrial and Systems Engineering

First Advisor

Yi Zheng

Abstract

The application of selective thermal emitters can increase the efficiency and reduce the waste energy of thermo photovoltaic (TPV) energy conversion systems. However, the efficiency of these solar cells still has room for improvement. One important aspect is the need for investigations of different emitter materials and structures to optimize the spectral emissivity. Therefore, different selective thermal emitter designs are analyzed in this study with the aim to find a new enhanced design applicable for TPV systems.

The physical principles of radiation heat transfer, the Maxwell-Garnett-Mie theory and the Effective-Medium theory are implemented into MATLAB to generate a code for calculating the spectral emissivity of different thin films, doped materials and surface gratings. Furthermore, the optical data of suitable materials are implemented in the code to obtain their dielectric functions. The calculation of the spectral emissivity for different design structures shows that materials doped with nanoparticles of reflective metals show a great enhancement of the emissivity in the wavelength range of interest. Developed selective thermal emitter designs of Silicon Carbide or Silicon Dioxide doped with Tungsten nanoparticles and surface gratings of those materials reach emissivity values of up to 0.9 between 0.4 μm and 2 μm.

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