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The Absolute Seebeck effect states that an electric potential (voltage) is produced to any isolated conducting when subject to a temperature gradient.But why? My view of this is that when you apply heat to one end you create a net transfer of energy through phonons and electrons' collisions towards the colder end, however there should be no net drift of electrons in one direction, because electrons are just moving randomly and colliding with other particles to transfer their thermal energy. So how would that create a voltage?

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Have a look at en.wikipedia.org/wiki/… as this gives a pretty clear description of the underlying physics. Come back to us if anythingnin that article is unclear. –  John Rennie Sep 26 '13 at 8:04
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s/anythingnin/anything in/. Dammit, why the silly time limit on editing my own comments? –  John Rennie Sep 26 '13 at 8:34

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