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Патент USA US3089002

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May 7, 1963
R. P. LlPKls
3,088,989
THERMOELECTRIC CONVERTER
Filed June 28, 1961
2 Sheets-Sheet l
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F l G. 4.
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ROBERT P. LIPKIS
1N VENTOR.
AGENTS.
May 7, 1963
R. P. ums
3,088,989
THERMOELECTRIC CONVERTER
Filed June 28, 1961
2 Sheets-Sheet 2
FIC-3.2.
ROBERT F? LIPKIS
INVENTOR.
BY ¿ya
@gv/¿MQ
AGENTS.
United States Patent O ””ICC
3,088,989
Patented May 7, 1953
l
2
3,088,989
tion energy. The film means is intermediate the top
surface of the tirst plate and the sun and, if more than
one film means is utilized, each such film means is spaced
THERMOELEC'I‘RIC CONVERTER
Robert P. Lipkis, Los Angeles, Calif., assignor to Space
Technology Laboratories, Inc., Los Angeles, Calif., a
apart from and substantially parallel to the adjacent film
means.
corporation of Delaware
Filed June 28, 1961, Ser. No. 120,290
Solar electromagnetic radiation energy is transmitted
through the film means and is absorbed by the top sur
face -of the first plate thereby raising the temperature
This invention relates to thermoelectric converters and,
of the ñrst plate. Electromagnetic radiation emitted
more specifically, to improved arrangements for increas 10 from the top and bottom surfaces of the ñrst plate is
ing the temperature difference between a hot junction
substantially in the infrared portion of the electromag
and a cold .junction of a thermoelectric converter and
netic radiation spectrum. This emitted infrared electro
thereby increase its eñiciency.
magnetic radiation from the top surface is partially ab
Thermoelectric converters are known in which elec
sorbed and partially reiiected by the film means which,
10 Claims. (Cl. 136-4)
trical energy is generated in response to a temperature 15 as noted above, is substantially opaque to infrared elec
differential between a hot junction and a cold junction.
tromagnetic radiation. Consequently, the radiative heat
The efiiciency of operation of such thermoelectric con
loss from the first plate is substantially reduced.
verters may be considered as the amount of electrical
In another embodiment of applicant’s invention a ther
energy developed in a given converter for the total tem
moelectric converter, substantially as described above, is
provided with sealing means around the edges thereof
perat'ure differential existing between the hot junction
and the cold junction. While thermoelectric converters
and the space between the ñlm means and the first plate
in the past have been able, to some extent, to provide
is maintained at substantially a vacuum on the order of
moderate efficiencies by reducing conductive heat trans
less than 5 >< 10~-3 millimeters of mercury absolute to sub
fer between the hot junction and the cold junction, they
stantially eliminate gas conductive and convective heat
have not always been completely satisfactory in reduc 25 transfer therebetween. The space between the first plate
ing radiative and convective heat transfer between the
and the second plate also is maintained at such a vacuum.
hot junction and the cold junction and in reducing radia
Convective and gas conductive heat losses from the first
tive heat losses from the hot junction.
plate are thereby reduced, thus increasing the tempera
Accordingly, it is an `object of this invention to pro
ture ydifferential between the hot junctions and the cold
junctions.
vide an improved thermoelectric converter.
It is another «object of this invention to provide a
In yet another >embodiment of this invention a thermo
electric converter is provided with a radiation yshield in
termediate the iirst plate and the second plate and elec
thermoelectric converter in which the temperature dif
ference between the hot junction and the cold junction is
enhanced.
trically insulated from the semi-conductor materials.
It is another object of this invention to provide a 35 The radiation shield lowers radiative heat transfer be
thermoelectric converter in which the radiative heat losses
tween the first plate and the second plate thereby enhanc
from the hot junction are reduced.
‘
ing the temperature differential therebetween.
These and other objects are realized, in accordance
The above and other embodiments of this invention are
with this invention, by providing an arrangement that 40 more fully disclosed in the following detailed description
minimizes radiative heat losses from the hot junction and
with reference to the accompanying drawing wherein sim
also minimizes radiative and convective heat losses from
ilar reference characters refer to »similar elements and in
which:
FIG. l is a pictorial representation of one embodiment
the hot junction and between the hot junction and the
cold junction.
In one embodiment of this invention a solar thermo
electric con-verter comprises a lirst substantially flat plate
having a top surface adapted to receive solar electro
magnetic radiation energy and -a bottom surface and a
45
of applicant’s invention;
FIGURES 2 and 3 are pictorial representations of ele
ments shown on FIGURE l; and
FIGURE 4 is a sectional View of another embodiment
second substantially flat plate spaced apart from the first
of applicant’s invention.
plate and substantially parallel to and coextensive there 50
Referring now to FIGURE 1, there is shown a thermo
with having a top surface and a bottom surface. A
electric converter, referred to generally as 10, according
plurality of semi-conductors, part of which are positively
to applicant’s invention. The thermoelectric converter
doped and part of which are negatively doped, are cou
pled to the bottom surface of the first plate to form the
hot junctions of the thermoelectric converter and are cou
pled to the top surface of the second plate to form the
cold junctions of the thermoelectric converter. Elec
10 is comprised of a first plate 12 and a second plate
14. The first plate 12 is substantially iiat and has a
55 top surface 12a that exhibits a high absorptivity for solar
electromagnetic radiation and a low emissivity for in
frared electromagnetic radiation. The first plate 12 has
trical insulators are also provided on the first plate and
a `bottom surface 12b that exhibits a low emissivity for
the second plate to effect a desired electrical arrange
infrared electromagnetic radiation. The bottom surface
ment. The bottom surfaces of the first plate and the 60 12b of the ñrst plate 12 is selectively electrically con
top surface of the second plate are prepared to pro
vide both a selective electrically conductive path as well
as a low infrared electromagnetic radiation emissivity
ductive.
There are numerous configurations of materials suit
4able for utilization as the lirst plate 12. `One such con
to thereby minimize radiative heat transfer therebetween.
figuration is illustrated in FIGURE 2 wherein there is
The top surface of the first plate is provided to have a 65 shown a sandwich arrangement of materials that provides
h-igh solar electromagnetic radiation absorptivity and a
the desired radiative and electrical properties. A body
low infrared electromagnetic radiation emissivity.
member 16, which for example may be an electrical in
Substantially parallel to and coextensive with the first
sulating coated thin metallic sheet or a plastic such as a
plate and spaced apart from the top surface thereof there
glass über reinforced resin, is coated on one side with a
is provided at least one iilm means that is substantially 70 Avacuum deposited opaque layer of aluminum 18. A layer
transparent to solar electromagnetic radiation energy and
of titanium 20 is deposited on the opaque layer of alu
substantially opaque to infrared electromagnetic radia
minum 1S to form a sandwich construction. This con
3,088,989
3
figuration for the top surface 12a of first plate 12 is more
fully described in the copending application entitled
“Electromagnetic Radiation Energy Arrangement,” filed
May 26, 1961, Serial Number 112,999, Robert P. Lipkis
and John E. Vehrencamp, inventors, and provides a top
surface 12a that exhibits a high solar electromagnetic ra
diation absorptivity and a low infrared electromagnetic
radiation emissivity. An electrically conductive layer 22,
rwhich may be aluminum, silver, gold, or any other elec
trically conductive material, is bonded on the opposite
side of the body member 16 to form the low infrared
emitting bottom surface 12b. The layer 22 provides a sub
stantially smooth, shiny metal surface 12b which has a
4
of infrared electromagnetic radiation. The film means
32 may 'be fabricated from thin sheets of glass, plastic,
quartz, or the like.
lIn operation, the top surface 12a of first plate 12 is
positioned to receive solar electromagnetic radiation, in
dicated 'by arrow 36, which is transmitted through the
film means ‘32 and .is incident upon the top surface 12a.
Since the top surface 12a exhibits a high absorptivity for
solar electromagnetic radiation, such radiation is substan
tially -absorbed thus raising the temperature of the first
plate 12. Since the thermoelectric converter 10 is ori
ented so that the top surface 12a of the first plate 12
receives solar electromagnetic radiation, the second plate
‘14 is thereby shielded from such solar electromagnetic ra
diation and, hence, does not exhibit an increase in temper
ature due to direct solar electromagnetic radiation.
Electromagnetic radiation emitted from both the top
sulating body member 16 at preselected positions. The
surface 12a and the bottom surface 12b of the first plate
placement of the grooves 24 is dependent upon the par
12 is substantially in the infrared portion of the electro
ticular electrical circuit arrangement desired in the
20 magnetic spectrum. The infrared radiation emitted yfrom
thermoelectric converter 10.
the top surface 12a, indicated Iby arrow 38, is incident
Referring back now to FIGURE 1, the second plate
upon a first of the film means 32a and since the film means
14 is substantially parallel to and coextensive with the
32a is substantially opaque `to infrared electromagnetic
first plate 12. A top surface 14a exhibits a low emis
radiation 38, it is partially -absorbed thereby .and partially
sivity for infrared electromagnetic radiation and a bot
tom surface 14b exhibits a high emissivity for infrared 25 reflected back to the surface 12a. The absorption of this
infrared electromagnetic radiation by the film means 32a
electromagnetic radiation. There are also many con
tends yto increase the temperature of the film means 32a
figurations of materials suitable for utilization as the sec
and, as the temperature of the film means 32a rises, radia
ond plate 14. FIGURE 3 illustrates one such arrange
»tive heat transfer therebetween is substantially diminished.
ment and there is shown thereon an electrically insulating
body member 26 which, for example, may be a glass fiber 30 Infraded electromagnetic radiation emitted `from the other
film means B2b, 32C, and 32d undergo substantially sim
reinforced resin plastic which has an electrically conduc
ilar absorption-refiection reactions which tend ultimately
tive layer 22’ bonded on one side thereof. This layer 22’
to `decrease the radiative heat losses from the first plate 12.
is substantially the same as the layer 22 of the first plate
low
infrared
electromagnetic
radiation
emissivity.
Grooves 24 are marked in the layer 22 and substantially
all of the layer 22 is removed down to the electrical in
12.
Grooves 24’ are cut in the layer 22’ down to the
electrically insulating body member 26 at preselected po
sitions to provide a predetermined electrical configuration
for the thermoelectric converter 10. A layer 2S is de
`Infrared radiation is `also emitted from the bottom
surface 12b of the first plate 12 as well as the topi surface
14a of the second plate 14. However, since these sur
faces `are poor infrared emitters and poor infrared `ab
sorbers, there is `comparatively little radiative heat trans
posited on the other side of the body member 26 to pro
fer between the first plate 1‘2 and the second plate 14.
vide the bottom surface 14b that exhibits a high emissivity
for infrared electromagnetic radiation. The layer 28 may 40 The bottom surface 14b of the second plate 14 emits
infrared electromagnetic radiation, indicated by the arrow
may be, for example, a roughened layer of carbon black
4f), and, as `described above, the bottom surface 14h ex
or a black metal oxide layer which, as is known, ap
hibits a high emissivity for infrared electromagnetic radia
proaches an emissivity of one. However, other well
tion. This infrared electromagnetic radiation 401 leaves
known materials may equally Well be used for the layer
28 to provide a high infrared emissivity Ibottom surface 45 the second plate 14, thereby increasing the temperature
differential between the first plate 12 and the second plate
14h.
14. Since the total electrical energy available from the
`Referring back now to FIGURE 1, a plurality of semi
thermoelectric converter 10 is proportional to the tem
conductors 30 are shown coupled to the layers 22 and 22’
perature difference maintained between the first plate 12
of the first plate 12 and second plate 14, respectively.
and the second plate 14, minimizing the radiative heat
The semi-conductors 30 may be lead telluride, lead sele
losses from the first plate 12 and increasing the radiative
nide, or any other of the well-known semi-conductor ma
heat loss from the bottom surface 14b of the second
terials. A first portion 30a of the `semi-conductors 30 is
plate 14 increases the electrical power available from the
positively doped to form one side of the desired electrical
thermoelectric converter 10.
path and a second portion 30b of the semi-conductors 30
FIGURE 4 shows another embodiment of applicant’s
is negatively doped to provide the other side of the desired
invention. A thermoelectric converter 10’ is shown which
electrical path. The semi-conductors 30 are coupled to
is similar to the thermoelectric converter 10 illustrated in
the layer 22 of `the first plate 12 and to the layer 22’ 0f
FIGURE 1; however, the thermoelectric converter 10’
the second plate 14 in a predetermined electrical array.
also includes sealing means 35a and 35h which are con
The particular yarray is selected to provide the desired
electrical characteristics, e.g., voltage, current, or other 60 nected to the edges of the thermoelectric converter 10'.
Similarly, a rear wall portion 35C and front wall portion
characteristics required from the thermoelectric converter
35d are connected to the back and the front, respectively,
10. The grooves 24 and 24' provide electrical insulation
of thermoelectric converted 10" and sealed thereto. The
in the electrically conductive layers 22 and 22', respec
seals between the sealing means 35a, 35h, 35e and 35d are
tively, to achieve the desired electrical characteristics.
hermetic seals to permit maintaining substantially a
A plurality of film means 32 is spaced apart from and
vacuum in the spaces 37 between adjacent film means 32
substantially coextensive with and parallel to the top sur
and the spaces 37 ' between the first plate 12 and the first
«face 12a of the first plate 12. The film means 32 are also
film means 32a as well as the spaces 39 between the first
spaced apart from each other and are supported by sup
plate 12 and the lsecond plate 14. Maintaining these
ports 34 which are thermally insulated from both the first
plate 12 and the film means 32. The film means 32 are 70 spaces at substantially a vacuum reduces the conductive
and convective heat transfer from the first plate 12.
substantially transparent to solar electromagnetic radia
It will be appreciated that the spaces 37 and 37’ need
tion :but substantially opaque to infrared electromagnetic
radiation.
Thus, the film means 32 may either be ab
sorptive of infrared electromagnetic radiation or, in the
preferred arrangement of applicant’s invention, refiective
not be maintained at a complete vacuum; maintaining a
gas pressure in these spaces on the order of 10-4 milli
75 meters of mercury absolute or less will provide the desired
5
3,088,989
6
heat transfer reduction. If this arrangement were to be
of said semi-conductors negatively doped; means coupled
to said first plate and said second plate for connecting said
plurality of semi-conductors in a predetermined elec
utilized in outer space applications, however, wherein sub
stantial complete vacuum is the standard environment, the
sealing means 35a, 35h, 35C and 35d would, of course,
not be required. The sealing means 35a, 35b, 35e and 35d
t-rical circuit arrangement; and at least one film means
spaced apart from said top surface of said first plate and
are thermally insulated from the elements of the thermo
electric converter 10' to minimize conductive heat transfer
therebetween and preferably are made of 'a material hav
ing a low thermal conductivity such as a glass fiber rein
substantially coextensive therewith and parallel thereto,
said film means substantially transparent to solar electro
magnetic radiation energy and substantially opaque to
infrared electromagnetic radiation energy whereby solar
forced resin plastic.
10 electromagnetic radiation energy is admitted to and ab
A radiation shield means 42 is intermediate the first
sorbed by said top surface of said first plate thereby rais
plate 12 and the second plate 14 and is of a material that
ing the temperature thereof and whereby loss of energy
is highly reliective of infrared electromagnetic radiation.
from said top surface of said first plate by radiation in the
The shield means 42 is electrically insulated from the
infrared portion of the electromagnetic radiation spec
semi-conductor elements 30 and may, for example, be
trum is substantially reduced.
fabricated of a thin plastic sheet aluminized on both
2. An improved thermoelectric converter comprising,
.sides, crumpled aluminum foil, or the like.
in combination: a first plate having a top surface and an
Operation of this embodiment is substantially the same
electrically conductive bottom surface, said top surface
as described in connection with the embodiment shown
adapted to be oriented towards the sun and having a high
on FIGURE l and solar electromagnetic radiation 36 is 20 absorptivity -for solar electromagnetic Áradiation energy
transmitted through the film means 32 and absorbed by
and a low emissivity for infrared electromagnetic ‘radia
the top surface 12a of the first plate 12. This establishes
tion energy and :said bottom surface having a low emis
a large temperature differential between the first plate 12
sivity for infrared electromagnetic radiation; a second
and the second plate 14 thereby providing the requisite
plate spaced apart from said bottom surface of said first
temperature differential for operation of the thermoelectric 25 plate and substantially parallel thereto having an elec
converter 10'. Infrared electromagnetic radiation 3S
trically conductive top surface facing said bottom surface
emitted from the top sur-face 12a of the first plate 12 is not
of said first plate and a bottom surface, said top surface
appreciably transmitted through the first film means 32a
having a low emissivity for infrared electromagnetic radi
and infrared electromagnetic radiation 38' emitted from
ation and -said bottom surface having a high emissivity for
the bottom surface 12b of the first plate 12 is substantially 30 infrared electromagnetic radiation; a plurality of semi
attenuated by the radiation shield means 42 thus minimiz
conductors connected to the bottom surface of said first
ing heat «losses from the first plate 12 to maintain a large
plate and the top surface of said second plate in a pre
temperature differential between the first plate 12 and
selected array, a first portion of said semi-conductors posi
the second plate 14.
tively doped and a second portion of said semi-conduc
While -the embodiments shown in FIGURE 1 and FIG 35 tors negatively doped; means coupled to said first plate
URE 4 comprise a plurality of film means 32, it is ap
and said second plate for connecting said plurality of
parent that even one film means will provide a high degree
semi-conductors in a predetermined electrical circuit ar
>of increased efiiciency to the operation of the thermoelee
rangement; and a plurality of spaced apart film means,
tric converter 10 and thermoeleetric converter 10’. Thus,
each of said film means substantially transparent to solar
in the practice of applicant’s invention, at least one film 40 electromagnetic radiation energy and substantially opaque
means 32 is preferably employed.
’to infrared electromagnetic radiation energy, said plu
This concludes the description of the embodiments of
rality of film means spaced apart from said top surface
applicant’s invention. From the above, it is apparent that
of said first plate and substantially coextensive therewith
applicant has invented a new and improved thermoeleetric
and parallel thereto whereby solar electromagnetic lradia
converter.
45 tion energy is admitted to and absorbed by said top sur
Those skilled in the art will find many variations and
face of said first plate thereby raising the temperature
adaptations of applicant’s invention. Therefore, the fore
thereof and whereby loss of energy from said top `surface
going description of the various embodiments of appli
of said first plate by radiation in the infrared portion
cant’s invention together with the accompanying drawings
of the electromagnetic radiation spectrum is substantially
are intended to be illustrative and not limiting and the 50 reduced.
appended claims are intended to cover all variations land
3. An improved thermoelectric converter comprising,
adaptations wi-thin the true scope and »spirit of this inven
in combination: a ñrst plate having a top surface and an
tion.
electrically conductive bottom surface, said top surface
What is claimed as new and is desired to be secured by
Letters Patent of the United States is:
1. An improved solar thermoeleetric converter for con
verting thermal ener-gy into electrical energy comprising,
in combination: a first plate comprising a top surface and
a selectively electrically conductive bottom surface, said
adapted to be oriented towards the sun and having a high
55
absorptivity for solar electromagnetic radiation energy
and a low emissivity for infrared electromagnetic radia
tion energy and said bottom surface having a low emis
sivity for infrared electromagnetic radiation; a second
plate spaced apart from said bottom surface of said first
top surface adapted to be oriented towards the sun and
and substantially parallel thereto having an elec
having a high absorptivity for solar electromagnetic radia 60 plate
trically conductive top surface facing said bottom surface
tion energy and Ia low emissivity -for infrared electromag
of said first plate and a lbottom surface, said top surface
netic radiation energy and said bottom surface having a
having a low emissivity for infrared electromagnetic
low emissivity ‘for infrared electromagnetic radiation; a
radiation and said bottom surface having a high emis
' second plate spaced apart from said bottom surface of
sivity for infrared electromagnetic radiation; a plurality
said first plate and substantially parallel thereto having a
of semi-conductors connected to the bottom surface of
bottom surface and »a selectively electrically conductive
said first plate and the top surface of said second plate
top «surface facing said bottom surface of said first plate,
in a preselected array, a first portion ‘of said semi-con
said top surface having a low emissivity for infrared elec
ductors positively doped and a second portion of said
tromagnetic radiation and said bottom surface having a 70 semi-conductors negatively doped; radiation shield means
high emissivity for infrared electromagnetic radiation; la
intermediate said first plate and said second plate and
plurality of semi-conductors connected to the bottom
electrically insulated from each of said plurality of semi
surface of said first plate and the top surface of sai-d
conductors, -said shield means having an infrared reflect
second plate in -a preselected array, a first portion of said
ing top surface substantially parallel to and spaced apart
semi-conductors positively doped and a second portion 75 from said bottom surface of said first plate and an infra
3,088,989
7
red reflecting bottom surface substantially parallel to and
spaced apart from said top surface of said second plate
whereby radiative heat transfer between said first plate
and said second plate is substantially reduced; means
coupled to said first plate and said second plate for con
necting said plurality of semi-conductors in a predeter
stantially opaque to infrared electromagnetic radiation
energy whereby solar electromagnetic radiation energy is
admitted to and absorbed by said top surface of said first
mined electrical circuit arrangement; and at least one
plate thereby raising the temperature thereof yand whereby
film means spaced apart from said top surface of said
ñrst plate and substantially coextensive therewith and
parallel thereto, said film means substantially transparent
to solar electromagnetic radiation energy and substantially
opaque to infrared electromagnetic radiation energy
whereby solar electromagnetic radiation energy is ad
mitted to `and absorbed by said top surface of said first
loss of energy from said top surface of said ñrst plate
by radiation in the infrared portion of the electromagnetic
radiation spectrum is substantially reduced.
9. An improved thermoelectric converter comprising,
in combination: a first plate having a top surface and an
electrically conductive bottom surface, said top surface
adapted to be oriented towards the sun and having a high
plate thereby raising the temperature thereof and whereby
`absorptivity for solar electromagnetic radiation energy
and a low emissivity for infrared electromagnetic radia
loss of energy from said top surface of said first plate
by radiation in the infrared portion of the electromagnetic
radiation spectrum is substantially reduced.
4. The arrangement defined in claim 3, wherein said
film means is radiation darkening resistant.
5. The arrangement defined in claim 3, wherein said
film means is comprised of cerium oxide glass.
6. The arrangement defined in claim 3, wherein said
film means is comprised of quartz.
7. An improved thermoelectric converter for convert
ing thermal energy into electrical energy comprising, in
combination: a first plate having a top surface and an
electrically conductive bottom surface, said top surface
adapted to be oriented towards the sun and having a
high absorptivity for solar electromagnetic radiation
energy and a low emissivity for infrared electromagnetic
radiation energy and said bottom surface having a low
emissivity for infrared electromagnetic radiation; a second
plate spaced apart from said bottom surface of said first
plate and substantially parallel thereto having an elec
trically conductive top surface facing said bottom surface
of said first plate and a bottom surface, said top surface
having a low emissivity for infrared electromagnetic radia
tion and said bottom surface having a high emissivity
for infrared electromagnetic radiation; means coupled
to said first plate and to said second plate for generating
O
o
least one film means spaced apart from said top surface
of said first plate and substantially coextensive therewith
and parallel thereto, said film means substantially trans
parent to solar electromagnetic radiation energy and sub
tion energy and said bottom surface having a low emis
20
sivity for infrared electromagnetic radiation; -a second
plate spaced `apart from said bottom surface of said first
plate and substantially parallel thereto having an elec
trically conductive top surface facing said bottom surface
of said first plate and a bottom surface, said top surface
having a low emissivity for infrared electromagnetic radia
tion and said bottom surface having a high emissivity for
infrared electromagnetic radiation; means coupled to said
first plate and to said second plate for generating electric
energy in response to the temperature difference between
said first plate and said second plate; radiation shield
means intermediate said first plate and said second plate
for reducing radiative heat transfer therebetween; and a
plurality of spaced apart film means, each of said film
means substantially transparent to solar electromagnetic
radiation energy and substantially opaque to infrared elec
tromagnetic radiation energy, said plurality of film means
spaced apart from said top surface of said first plate and
substantially coextensive therewith and parallel thereto
whereby solar electromagnetic radiation energy is ad
mitted to and absorbed by said top surface of said first
40 -plate thereby raising the temperature thereof and whereby
loss of energy from said top surface of said ñrst plate by
radiation in the infrared portion of the electromagnetic
electric energy in response to the temperature difference
radiation spectrum is substantially reduced.
between said first plate and said second plate; and at
least one film means spaced apart from said top surface
of said first plate and substantially coeXtensive therewith
and parallel thereto, said film means substantially trans
10. in combination: a first plate having a top surface
and an electrically conductive bottom surface, said top
surface adapted to be oriented towards the sun and having
a high absorptivity for solar electromagnetic radiation
energy and a low emissivity for infrared electromagnetic
parent to solar electromagnetic radiation energy and sub
stantially opaque to infrared electromagnetic radiation
radiation energy and said bottom surface having a low
energy whereby solar electromagnetic radiation energy
is admitted to and absorbed by said top surface of said 50 emissivity for infrared electromagnetic radiation; a second
plate spaced `apart from said bottom surface of said first
first plate thereby raising the temperature thereof and
plate and substantially parallel thereto having an electri
whereby loss of energy from said top surface of said ñrst
cally conductive top surface facing said bottom surface of
plate by radiation in the infrared portion of the electro
said first plate and a bottom surface, said top surface hav
magnetic radiation spectrum is substantially reduced.
ing a low emissivity for infrared electromagnetic radiation
8. An improved thermoelectric converter for convert
and said bottom surface having a high emissivity for in
ing thermal energy into electrical energy comprising, in
frared electromagnetic radiation; means coupled to said
combination: a first plate having a top surface and an
first plate and to said second plate for generating electric
electrically conductive bottom surface, said top surface
energy in response to the temperature difference between
adapted to be oriented towards the sun and having a high
absorptivity for solar electromagnetic radiation energy 60 said first plate and said second plate; radiation shield
means intermediate said first plate and said second plate
»and a low emissivity for infrared electromagnetic radia
tion energy and said bottom surface having a low emis
sivity for infrared electro-magnetic radiation; a second
plate spaced apart from said bottom surface of said first
plate vand substantially parallel thereto having an elec
trically conductive top surface facing said bottom surface
for reducing radiative heat transfer therebetween; a
plurality of spaced `apart film means, each of said film
means substantially transparent to solar electromagnetic
radiation energy and substantially opaque to infrared elec
tromagnetic radiation energy, said plurality of film means
intermediate the sun and said first plate and spaced apart
of said first plate and a bottom surface, said top surface
from said top surface of said first plate and substantially
having a low emissivity forinfrared electromagnetic radia
coextensive therewith and parallel thereto whereby solar
tion `and said bottom surface having a high emissivity for
infrared electromagnetic radiation; means coupled to said 70 electromagnetic radiation energy is admitted to and ab
sorbed by said top surface of said first plate thereby rais
first plate and to said second plate for generating electric
ing the temperature thereof and loss of energy from said
energy in response to the temperature difference between
top surface of said first plate by radiation in the infrared
said first plate and said second plate; radiation shield
portion of the electromagnetic radiation spectrum is sub
means intermediate said first plate and said second plate
stantially reduced; wall means coupled to said first plate
for reducing radiative heat transfer therebetween; and at
3,088,989
9
10
for maintaining the spaces between each of said plurality
References Cited in the file of this patent
of ñlm means `and the space between said plurality of iìlm
UNHED STATES PATENTS
means and said to surface of said ñrst late at a pressure
less than and
_absolu/fe;
approxlij’mately
thermal inSulatiOn
10i-4 millimgters
means coupled
0f mercury
to said 5
wall lmeans for preventing conductive heat transfer from
Said Wan mßal'ls t0 Said
means.
219841696
11077219
Coblentz
Shañer -----------------------------Igct'
ay
,
FOREIGN PATENTS
Gennany ____________ __ Aug' 13I
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