A research program is currently underway with the purpose of developing a novel, MEMS-sized thermophotovoltaic (TPV) system, which would use hydrogen as fuel and would be capable of delivering power on the order of watts in a package less than one cubic centimeter in volume. High surface to volume ratio is very favorable to the output power density per unit volume, though it tends to suppress ignition and quench the reaction in micro devices. This is the most attractive feature of micro TPV system. As part of an effort to develop such a micro power system, numerical and experimental works are carried to test feasibility of combustion in micro devices and determine relevant factors affecting micro combustion. Results indicate micro flame tube combustor is favorable in keeping the uniform of temperature along the wall, and stable combustion could be achieved in a tube with a sudden step within wider flow rate and wider hydrogen/air ratio than in straight tube. High and uniform temperature has been achieved along the wall of flame tube, which is very important to the efficiency of micro TPV system.

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