The influence of surface heat loss is treated analytically for unidimensional thermoelectric energy converters. Also, conditions are formulated whereby a gain in thermoelectric generator system efficiency can result from the transfer of heat from the thermoelectric conductors to a convecting fluid. While the general problem of the temperature distribution along the unidimensional conductor is described by a nonlinear differential equation, practical utility is demonstrated for linearization by assuring constant Thomson coefficient and mean-temperature properties within the range of most contemporary thermoelectric materials and applications. Influences of surface heat loss are discussed and demonstrated upon the longitudinal temperature distribution and the source and sink heat conduction rates.

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