Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name



Mechanical Engineering

Degree Program

Mechanical Engineering, MS

Committee Chair

Park, Sam

Committee Co-Chair (if applicable)

Brehob, Ellen

Committee Member

Brehob, Ellen

Committee Member

Kim, Young


Electrolytes; Thermoelectric materials; Copper--Industrial applications


Low grade heat recovery systems are more relevant today due to the rising costs in energy and transition to non-fossil fuel energy sources. Thermogalvanic cells show potential due to low cost and scalability. In this study the performance of a Copper II Sulfate Pentahydrate based electrolyte was evaluated. The effects of electrolyte concentration, electrode separation, and electrode surface area were studied experimentally. Conductive heat transfer within the electrolyte was simulated via SolidWorks. All experimental thermocell testing was conducted to find the maximum power production of a particular cell design. The base cell had a six inch electrode separation with two copper electrodes at each end. Temperature gradients were varied from ΔT= 10-50 ˚C for all tests. Maximum power production was measured for a 0.3M CuSO4 5H2O based thermocell with six inch electrode spacing and A= 0.00244 m2 electrode surface area at Pmax = 7.45 μW. The relative efficiency was calculated to ηr = 0.00198%.