Date Approved


Embargo Period


Document Type


Degree Name

M.S. Mechanical Engineering


Mechanical Engineering


Henry M. Rowan College of Engineering


Bakrania, Smitesh

Committee Member 1

Haas, Francis M.

Committee Member 2

Xue, Wei


catalytic combustion, microcombustion, microreactor, nanocatalytic, nanoparticle, thermoelectric


Energy conversion; Thermoelectric materials


Heat Transfer, Combustion | Mechanical Engineering


This work aimed to create a first-generation power device for eventual application to portable electronics. A platinum nanoparticle catalytic substrate was employed in a microcombustion-thermoelectric coupled (MTC) device for the purpose of chemical-to-electrical energy conversion. Multiple microcombustion reactors were designed, fabricated, and investigated. Most importantly, the reactor configuration was designed to accommodate thermoelectric generators (TEGs) for power production. Temperature studies with catalytic combustion of methanol-air fuel mixtures were used to evaluate the thermal power generation performance of each reactor. The final reactor design enabled ignition at room temperature with the ability to achieve repeat catalytic cycles upon subsequent exposure to methanol-air mixtures.

Preliminary performance studies achieved a maximum temperature difference T of 58 degrees C with a fuel mixture flow rate of 800 mL/min. While the temperature difference indicates a respectable potential for power generation, the importance of thermal design was a key finding of this work. It was thought that improved thermal management could make better use of thermal energy lost in the exhaust stream, potentially increasing reactor surface temperatures and corresponding thermoelectric generator parameter T. Thermal design changes would significantly enhance the performance of a later generation of this device, detailed at the close of this thesis.