Date Approved


Embargo Period


Document Type


Degree Name

M.S. Mechanical Engineering


Department of Mechanical Engineering


Henry M. Rowan College of Engineering


Bakrania, Smitesh D.

Committee Member 1

Haas, Francis M.

Committee Member 2

Xue, Wei


Catalysis, Methanol, Microcombustion, Platinum Nanoparticles, Thermoelectric


Thermoelectric apparatus and appliances


Mechanical Engineering


The essential need for portable and dense power sources has been greatly increased with the prevalence of portable electronic devices in the past decade. Catalytic combustion of hydrocarbon and oxygenated fuels has the potential to provide an alternative power source for portable electronic devices by replacing relatively today's heavy battery technology. A successful self-ignition and sustainable catalyst combustion for a variety of fuels using Platinum (Pt)-impregnated substrate was demonstrated in our previous work.

Present work explores the performance of a microcombustion thermoelectric coupled (MTC) device with improved reactor configuration design. Chemically synthesized platinum nanoparticles with particle diameters of approx. 8 nm are deposited on rectangular cordierite substrates, with 800 µm wide square channels acting as a catalyst cartridge. A copper-aluminium reactor is used to host the catalytic combustion. Thermoelectric generators (TEGs) are coupled with heat sinks to establish a constant temperature difference. This work also presents a custom fuel-delivery system designed to achieve a self-contained portable MTC unit. Material characterization and analytical models accompany the experiments to establish the performance parameters. The experiments involving near a stoichiometric mixture of methanol-air at 8000 mL/min of airflow yielded 62 degrees C temperature difference for the TEGs. A most recent design generated actual electrical power output of 493 mW and estimated theoretical power output of 1406 mW with a fuel conversion efficiency of 90% and estimated power density of 74.3 W/m^3 . The outcomes guide future development of such portable combustion-based power sources.