A review of theoretical publications on non-steady thermoelectrics is given. Review concerns different aspects of non-stationary and pulsed processes in thermoelectric materials and devices. Theoretical analysis of dynamic behaviour of thermoelectric devices, including analysis of small and large signals of thermoelectric generator, is given and details of concepts of quasi-equilibrium thermoelectricity are discussed as well. Special attention is paid to theoretical study of the non-routine regime of non-steady thermoelectricity—fast-time dependence of thermoelectric properties when material or device is well out of equilibrium. Theoretical findings of fast-time dependence give reason to believe that it can increase the output electrical power of thermoelectric generator compared to stationary regime of operation. We also present experimental results obtained with first non-stationary thermoelectric generator prototype, which was designed for operation in fast-time dependence mode. Several research teams are presently making and testing devices to confirm that more electrical power can be obtained in AC mode (AC frequency about hundreds of kHz) than in DC mode. Descriptions with an analysis are given.
Part of the book: Thermoelectrics for Power Generation