This paper presents an experimental investigation into the effects of altering electrode surface area roughness on thermogalvanic cell performance. A temperature difference between two electrodes was induced and brought to steady state to achieve a difference of around 50 °C, which was maintained with a DC power generated hot wire and a pumped ice bath. The open-circuit voltage values at steady-state were measured by a programed multimeter and the temperatures were measured by a series of type K thermocouples. Electrode surface area roughness was altered using different grit values of sandpaper and measuring the values using a Zescope Optical Profilometer. Once three different surface area average values were achieved, 6 trials were performed with 2 trials per roughness value. The results were tabulated in Section 4 of this report.
It was predicted that increasing the surface area roughness would increase the number of electrons present in the reduction oxidation reaction and decrease the activation resistance of the thermogalvanic system. Decreasing the activation resistance, a component of total internal resistance, would therefore increase the power output of the cell by a small magnitude. The results showed that changing the surface area roughness of the Copper electrodes evidently had no effect on the outputs of the cell system. Additionally, the Seebeck coefficient was also unaffected by the presence of increased surface area roughness.
The work presented in the following paper is part of a continuing effort to better understand the performance of thermogalvanic cells and their heat to electrical energy transfer properties.