Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Mechanical Engineering

Major Professor

Nathan Crane, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Frank Pyrtle, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Kyle Reed, Ph.D.


ansys, three-dimensional FEA, peltier effect, energy conversion, thermal grill illusion


Micro-scale self assembly is an attractive method for manufacturing sub-millimeter sized thermoelectric device parts. Challenges controlling assembly yield rates, however, have caused research to find novel ways to implement the process while still resulting in a working device. While a typical system uses single n-type and p-type material elements in series, one method used to increase the probability of a working device involves adding redundant parallel elements in clusters. The drawback to this technique is that thermal performance is affected in clusters which have missing elements. While one-dimensional modeling sufficiently describes overall performance in terms of average junction temperatures and net heat flux, it fails when a detailed thermal profile is needed for a non-homogeneous system. For this reason, a three-dimensional model was created to describe thermal performance using Ansys v12.1. From the results, local and net performance can be described to help in designing an acceptable self-assembled device.

In addition, a haptic thermal display was designed using thermoelectric elements with the intention of testing the thermal grill illusion. The display consists of 5 electrically independent rows of thermoelectric elements which are controlled using pulse width modulating direct current motor controllers.