Simple enough right.
So what is a Thermocouple?
A thermocouple is a device that produces a small voltage when there is a temperature difference between a pair of conductors. Make a bunch in series and you have a thermocouple.
I am going to show you how to make a thermopile out of about a foot of copper wire and four paper clips. I want you all to know that this will not generate very much electricity. It is not some miracle cure to the worlds energy crisis. It is not much more really than an interesting experiment for people who like this sort of thing.
I can't think of many practical uses for this particular design, you could use it a some sort of measuring device perhaps. Maybe in conjunction with an Arduino, you could perform some sort of output based on a candle flickering....an LED that will light if the candle burns out (and the voltage being generated by the thermopile drops)?
You would have to design something much more stable and made up of many many more thermocouples to generate any usable amount of power.
Step 1: Gather Stuff
- some solid core copper wire
- four paper clips (perhaps more depending on the length of your paperclips when straightened)
- a small tea-light candle
- a glass receptacle ( to hold the candle)
- some play-doh or similar
Tools that you will need or that will help
- soldering iron
- a muti-meter
- wire cutters
- needle nose pliers (for straightening out your paperclips)
- a third hand vise