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THREE-DIMENSIONAL ANALYSIS ON THE PERFORMANCE OF THE THERMOELECTRIC MICRO-COOLER
Kong Hoon Lee∗ and Ook Joong Kim Thermo-ﬂuid System Department Korea Institute of Machinery and Materials Daejeon 305-343, Korea firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
ABSTRACT Three-dimensional numerical analysis has been carried out using the FEMLAB software package to ﬁgure out the performance of the thermoelectric micro-cooler. A small-size and column-type thermoelectric cooler is considered and Bi2 Te3 and Sb2 Te3 are selected as the n- and p-type thermoelectric materials, respectively. The thickness of the thermoelectric element considered is 5 to 20 µm and the thickness affects the performance of the cooler. The effect of parameters such as the temperature difference, the current, and the thickness of the thermoelectric element on the performance of the cooler has also been investigated. The coefﬁcient of performance (COP) is the primary factor to evaluate the performance of the cooler and the COP varies with the parameters. The COP has the maximum value at a certain current and the value decreases with the temperature difference or the thickness. The predicted results also show that the performance can be improved for the thick thermoelectric element at the small temperature difference and the small current. INTRODUCTION Thermoelectric devices are used for both cooling and power generation using the Peltier and Seebeck effects, respectively . The thermoelectric device contains over hundreds of n-p couples connected electrically in series, but thermally in parallel between two planar substrates. Because the Peltier and Seebeck effects are directly related, the best materials for the cooling are also optimized for power generation. Near room temperature,
the most efﬁcient materials are heavily doped p-type and n-type (Bi,Sb)2 Te3 . Advance in the fabrication technique with microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) technology has made it possible to fabricate a lot of microdevices. Some of such devices require the precise thermal management and the compact cooling system for effective cooling within a small volume. The thermoelectric micro-cooler has become a promising candidate due to its cooling power density higher than that of the conventional bulk cooler [2,3]. Thermoelectric micro-cooler can easily be integrated and it is a suitable technique for the effective cooling of such devices as it does not have any moving parts. The thermoelectric micro-cooler requires a structure difﬁcult to produce with conventional techniques and the fabrication with MEMS techniques has been attempted. Yao et al. [4, 5] developed the analytical model for the in-plain type thermoelectric micro-cooler and fabricated the cooler with both Si/Ge superlattice and Bi2 Te3 for sopt cooling. Snyder et al.  reported that they fabricated the thermoelectric microdevice using the electrochemical deposition with the photoresist mould. They used 400-µm-thick oxidized silicon as a substrate and formed 20-µmthick thermoelectric elements (Bi2 Te3 for p-type and Sb2 Te3 for n-type) B¨ ttner et al.  fabricated the micro-cooler using their o new fabrication technique using the 4 inch wafer and reported that a net cooling of about 11 K was achieved using ∼800 mA with 3 p/n-junctions. da Silva and Kaviany  carried out the one-dimensional theoretical analysis for the column-type thermoelectric micro-cooler to be used in the cooling of the vapor sensor. They also fabricated the micro-cooler based on the anal-
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The equations are generally written as −∇ · (k p ∇Tp ) = P(Te − Tp ). and the thickness of the thermoelectric element on the performance of the micro-cooler has also been investigated. the current. The governing equations are obtained from the kinetics of electrons and phonons in an electric ﬁeld or an temperature ﬁeld which is described by the coupled Boltzmann equations for electrons and phonons [8. The coefﬁcient of performance (COP) is the primary factor to evaluate the performance of the cooler and the COP varies with the parameters. respectively. Thus. Schematic of the thermoelectric cooler. In order to ﬁgure out the performance of the thermoelectric cooler the three-dimensional numerical analysis has been carried out.comsol. contact hot hot substrate p phonon te thermoelectric element ANALYSIS The physical domain is composed of two Silicon substrates and six thermoelectric elements sandwiched between two sub- µm 700 600 µm 200 µm 200 µm ate ubstr ide s old s C ide Hot s z y x Hot side substrate trate subs 200 µm Cold side substrate Fig.com 2 Copyright c 2005 by ASME 200 µm (2) 24 µm .and p-type thermoelectric materials. It is known that tellurium compounds currently have the highest cooling performance around room temperature. contact cold cold substrate e electron h hot. The effect of parameters such as the temperature difference. Model for the Thermoelectric Leg The model development follows the one-dimensional approach of da Silva and Kaviany  and extends it to threedimensional situation. (1) 200 µm 2 −∇ · (ke ∇Te ) = ρe je − P(Te − Tp ). The small-size and column-type thermoelectric cooler is considered. the electron-phonon thermal non-equilibrium is caused near the boundary due to the phonon and electron boundary resistances at the metal and thermoelectric interface . The analysis is carried out with the different governing equations for the substrates and thermoelectric elements. 1 See 200 µm 2 µm Thermoelectric element Metal connector 20 µm 2 µm http://www. 1. The thermoelectric element considered has the thickness of 5 to 20 µm. in the present study. The FEMLAB1 is utilized in the analysis. strates as shown in Fig. The thickness of the element affects the thermal and electrical transport through the interface between the element and metal connector. However. The thermoelectric element is 20 µm thick and is located between the top and bottom metal connectors of 2 µm thick.10. which is a software package applicable to the multiphysics problems. The size of each substrate is 700 µm × 600 µm × 200 µm. in the thermoelectric materials.11]. Heat transfer in the materials which do not have the thermoelectric features is accomplished by conduction of free electrons. The development of the model follows the one-dimensional approach of da Silva and Kaviany  and extends it to threedimensional situation.ysis and measured the performance of the cooler . NOMENCLATURE Ate cross-sectional area of the thermoelectric element (m2 ) COP coefﬁcient of performance Je electrical current (A) je electrical current density (A/m2 ) k thermal conductivity (W/mK) L thickness (m) P strength of electron/hole-phonon interaction Pe electrical power (W) Qc cooling rate at the cold-side substrate (W) Qh heat release rate at the hot-side substrate (W) q heat ﬂux (W/m2 ) Re electrical resistance (Ω) Rc conduction resistance (K/W) T temperature (◦ C or K) V voltage (V) αbulk bulk Seebeck coefﬁcient (V/K) αb boundary Seebeck coefﬁcient (V/K) ρe electrical resistivity (Ωm) Subscripts c cold. respectively. The energy conversion mechanisms such as the Joule heating and Peltier cooling/heating will also contribute to this non-equilibrium . 1. Bi2 Te3 and Sb2 Te3 are selected as the n.
2 −∇ · (ki ∇T ) = ρc je . The third terms represent the Joule heating at the interfaces. respectively. adiabatic boundary conditions are applied to the surfaces except for the top and bottom surfaces. The interface conditions for phonon conduction are as follows: Th − Tp (Ate Rc )b. te − L2 (3) te − L2 In order to solve Eq. 10]. te − L2 (13) (7) −kcold ∂T ∂z Tte − Tc (Ate Rc )b where ki is kc for the metal connector. The second terms in the right hand side of Eqs. Model for the Substrate and the Metal Connector Thermal energy is transferred only by conduction in the substrates and metal connectors and is described by Fourier’s law. Tp − Tc (Ate Rc )b. Lte 2 The interface conditions for electron conduction are as follows: Th − Te (Ate Rc )b. In such a situation. (4) Model for the Thermal Equilibrium The bulk type thermoelectric cooler is generally studied with the thermal equilibrium conditions . Lte 2 (14) SOLUTION METHOD The equations described in the previous section are solved using the FEMLAB which is the commercial software package 3 Copyright c 2005 by ASME . Lte 2 (9) . the energy equations (1) and (2) are written as: 2 −∇ · (k∇T ) = ρe je . Adiabatic boundary conditions are applied to all the boundary except for the interfaces indicated in Eqs. The term related to the Joule heating of the right hand side is considered only in the metal connectors and not in the substrates since the substrates should be insulated for the electricity. 2 (11) Tte − Tc (Ate Rc )b = −k Lte 2 ∂T ∂z Lte 2 + ∆α je Tte | Lte + (Ate Re )b 2 2 je . The contact resistances cause the temperature jump through the interface and this phenomenon is treated with the interface conditions considering the resistances. (6) The interface conditions for the thermoelectric elements is similarly written as follows: Th − Tte (Ate Rc )b ∂T ∂z + ∆α je Tte |− Lte − (Ate Re )b 2 where ∆α = αbulk −αb and both αbulk and αb are given in Table 1. the thermal conduction within thermoelectric elements is analyzed with one equation for the equilibrium temperature. (3) through (6).e . which is obtained with the density of electrons/holes. = −k te − L2 te − L2 2 je .p + Lte 2 Te − Tc (Ate Rc )b. Boltzmann constant.e ∂Te ∂z + ∆α je Te |− Lte − (Ate Re )b 2 te − L2 = −ke te − L2 2 je . (7). kcold for the cold-side (top) substrate and khot for the hot-side (bottom) substrate. (12) 2 and for the metal connectors. 2 (5) (10) Te − Tc (Ate Rc )b. The equations for thermoelectric elements can be derived with the equilibrium temperature.p ∂Tp = −k p ∂z The interface condition between the hot-side connector and the thermoelectric element is −khot ∂T ∂z = te − L2 Th − Tp (Ate Rc )b. Thus. and electron/hole energy relaxation time [8. = Lte 2 . (5) and (6) represent the Peltier cooling and heating. T (kT = k p Tp + ke Te ).e . P represents the strength of the electron/hole-phonon interaction. The boundary conditions at the cold-side and hot-side surfaces will be the constant temperature or heat ﬂux conditions.p Lte 2 = −k p ∂Tp ∂z . from the equations described above.where je is the electrical current density.p + te − L2 Th − Te (Ate Rc )b. The terms in the left hand side of the above equations represent the heat ﬂow as deﬁned by the phonon (electron) boundary resistance. te − L2 (8) and the condition in between the cold-side connector and the thermoelectric element is −kcold ∂T ∂z = Lte 2 Tp − Tc (Ate Rc )b. The electrical and thermal contact resistances at the interface between the thermoelectric element and the metal connector are considered in the model.e Lte 2 = −ke ∂Te ∂z Lte 2 + ∆α je Te | Lte + (Ate Re )b 2 2 je 2 . −khot ∂T ∂z = te − L2 Th − Tte (Ate Rc )b .
The properties of materials shown in Table 1 are used in the analysis. The ﬁrst domain has two different dependent variables such as Tp .8 × 10−12 1. Schematic of the two-dimensional geometry. The temperatures for the two subdomains are connected with the interface conditions. (8) and (9).7 × 10−8 400 1. (10) through (12) are used for the ﬁrst subdomain and Eqs. The thickness of the metal connector is ﬁxed to 1 µm and it is not important here since the temperature varies little within the connector in the y-direction. the equations are separately applied to the n-type and p-type elements with their own properties indicated in Table 1.61 × 1013 −228 × 10−6 187 × 10−6 1.6 9. Property ρe k based on the ﬁnite element method and is applicable to the multiphysics problems. the domain for the calculation is divided into two subdomains. 3. The ﬁrst subdomain is used for the thermoelectric elements with Eqs.30 × 10−5 2. The predicted temperatures in the present study are nearly identical to the one-dimensional analytic solutions as indicated in Fig. In the ﬁrst domain. The thermal conductivities of Copper and Silicon are adopted from the material library of the FEMLAB software. (13) and (14) are used as the interface conditions of metal connectors.0 × 10−8 0. Te and the second subdomain has only T . 3. The material of the metal connector is assumed to be copper for the sake of convenience.3 × 10−7 Substrate 163 Hot side connector y x n-type TE p-type TE 7 µm 1 µm Cold side connector Fig. (Ate Rc )b. Eqs. and Eqs.p ke (Ate Rc )b. Properties of (a) n− and p−type thermoelectric elements (b) metal connectors and Silicon substrates (a) Property Unit n-type (Bi2 Te3 ) p-type (Sb2 Te3 ) P αbulk αb ρe (Ate Re )b kp (Ate Rc )b. The dimension of the geometry is arbitrarily determined by considering that the predicted results in the present study can be compared with the 260 -3 -2 -1 0 1 4 µm 2 Thickness (µm) Fig.e . (3) through (6). (7).5 9. The analysis to compare the results for the electron-phonon 330 Tp 320 310 Te Tp (Analytic) Te (Analytic) Je = 30 mA Je = 15 mA Temperature (K) 300 290 280 270 Je = 0 mA RESULTS AND DISCUSSION Validation of the Analysis The analysis has ﬁrstly been validated with the onedimensional analytic solution reported in the literature  and the analysis for the validation is carried out in the twodimensional geometry as shown in Fig. 3 are obtained from the one-dimensional geometry in which the thickness of each thermoelectric element is 4 µm and the width is 7 µm. If the thermal equilibrium is considered. the equations described as Eqs. The temperature jump for electron conduction is larger than for phonon conduction due to the relatively large boundary resistance for electron conduction. one-dimensional analytic solutions reported in the literature .5 8. In the calculation considering the thermal non-equilibrium near the interfaces of the thermoelectric elements.6 × 10−12 1. the temperatures for the electron and phonon are almost identical to each other. When the electric current does not ﬂow. 2. 4 Copyright c 2005 by ASME 1 µm 3 .5 3.2 × 10−8 0.761 × 1013 171 × 10−6 −252 × 10−6 1. The result shows that the thermal non-equilibrium near the interface cause the different temperatures for the electron and the phonon. (1) and (2) and the second subdomain is used for the metal connectors and substrates with Eq. Comparison of the predicted temperature distributions with the one-dimensional analytic solution which is regenerated from the literature .e W/m3 K V/K V/K Ωm Ωm2 W/mK K/(W/m2 ) W/mK K/(W/m2 ) Unit Ωm W/mK 8. The analytic solutions indicated as symbols in Fig.5 × 10−7 (b) Metal connector 1. indicated in Table 1.Table 1.04 × 10−5 6. The thermophysical properties related to the thermoelectric elements are evaluated by referring to the values reported by da Silva and Kaviany . 2.
However.e (Ate Rc )b. This is primarily due to the difference between the boundary resistances for electron and phonon conduction. The maximum current does not mean the maximum value of the current but the value for which the temperature difference is maximum. 5 shows that the maximum current increases as the thickness of the thermoelectric element decreases and the results are summarized in Table 2. First of all. the temperature differences between two analyses are large for the p-type element with relatively large electron boundary resistance. the maximum temperature difference. Those properties do not differ much from each other and then the temperatures for n. in the non-equilibrium condition. respectively for the n. Three-dimensional Analysis The three-dimensional analysis is carried out with the geometry shown in Fig. and another is both the cold and hot sides maintained at the same temperature .0 and 2.p . the temperature obtained from the non-equilibrium analysis is similar to the temperature from the equilibrium analysis. and the maximum cooling rate of the cooler are evaluated. Figure 4 compares the results for the thermal equilibrium and non-equilibrium analyses. (Ate Rc )b. (a) Je = 15 mA and (b) Je = 30 mA.p (15) 300 Temperature (K) and the thermal conductivity is written for Te = Tp = T . (n-type) 300 295 290 285 280 275 The temperatures for the n-type thermoelectric element are nearly identical for different currents but the temperatures for the p-type thermoelectric element differ from each other in Fig.e + (Ate Rc )b. For the n-type element with relatively small electron boundary resistance.29 × 10−8 and 7. (n-type) Eq. In the analysis. For the comparison. The maximum Temperature (K) -3 -2 -1 0 1 2 3 Length.and p-type elements in the equilibrium condition do not also differ much from each other. (p-type) Eq. However. T (kT = ke Te + k p Tp ). the maximum current. Temperature distribution for the two-dimensional geometry. the equilibrium temperature. The properties for the equilibrium solutions such as the boundary resistances and thermal conductivities of the thermoelectric elements are averaged with values given in Table 1 for the comparison. (n-type) Eq. (p-type) Non-eq. (p-type) Eq. the electron-phonon thermal nonequilibrium near the interface is considered in the analysis of the present study. When the cold side is insulated and the hot-side temperature is ﬁxed to 25 ◦ C.and p-type elements. the temperature variation near the interface for electron conduction is much higher than for phonon conduction. Thus. 4.1 W/mk.305 Non-eq. 4. 295 k = ke + k p .37 × 10−8 m2 K/W. (p-type) Non-eq. It seems to be due to the electron-phonon interaction near the interface related to the boundary resistance because the same properties excluding the averaged conductivity and resistance are used and conductivities do not differ much in two different analyses. Fig. y (µm) (a) 315 310 305 Non-eq. The boundary resistance is written 5 Copyright c 2005 by ASME . two special boundary conditions are considered to ﬁgure out some maximum performance as a reference. thermal equilibrium and non-equilibrium near the interface is also carried out in the two-dimensional geometry as shown in Fig. 1 but the thickness of thermoelectric elements is changed to investigate the characteristics of the proposed thermoelectric cooler with the thickness. One is the thermal insulation at the cold side substrate and the ﬁxed temperature at the hot-side substrate. and the averaged boundary resistances are 7. (Ate Rc )b = (Ate Rc )b. The average thermal conductivities are 2. is deﬁned for the nonequilibrium solution. y (µm) (b) Fig. 290 (16) 285 280 -3 -2 -1 0 1 2 3 Length. 2. (n-type) by considering the thermal conduction through the interface.
the maximum temperature difference and the maximum cooling rate. 7(a).0 11.2 13. Thus. the thicker element is desirable for the efﬁcient cooling.2 -75. When Lte = 20 µm.4 4. Therefore. The difference beTable 2.2 -79. The maximum cooling rate increases as the thickness of the thermoelectric element decreases and the current increases in the contrary of the previous case in Fig. the maximum cooling rate occurs at Je = 16 A and the rate decreases by 0.1 17. The heat release rate gradually increases with the current even after the current (Je = 13 A) at which the cooling rate 6 Copyright c 2005 by ASME . Maximum current. Figure 6 shows the cooling and heat release rate in the special condition of both the cold and hot sides maintained at the same temperature. 6. it is desirable that the maximum current is small. Lte (µm) 10 15 20 Je.0 Tc. the maximum cooling rate at the cold side occurs at Je = 13 A regardless of the hot-side temperature. Th − Tc (°C) 6 5 100 90 Cooling rate (W) 80 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0 0 5 10 Lte = 20 µm Lte = 15 µm Lte = 10 µm Lte = 5 µm 15 20 Lte = 20 µm Lte = 15 µm Lte = 10 µm Lte = 5 µm 4 3 2 1 0 Current (A) 0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18 20 Current (A) Fig. For the efﬁcient operation. Th = Tc = 25 ◦ C. Temperature difference between the hot and cold side for Qc = 0 and Th = 25 ◦ C.2 9. the cooling rate is larger for the thicker element at the relatively small current.6 16. The maximum rate decreases at the constant rate by about 0.max (A) 15. the calculation has been carried out when the hot-side temperature is varied from 45 ◦ C to 125 ◦ C with the cold-side temperature ﬁxed to 25 ◦ C. tween the hot-side and cold-side temperatures are varied from 20 ◦ C to 100 ◦ C and the predicted results are shown in Figs 7 to 10.max (W) Qh (W) Heat release rate (W) 20 15 10 5 0 0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18 20 Current (A) (b) Fig.1 14. For example. and the rate decreases as the hot-side temperature increases as shown in Fig. 5. the thicker thermoelectric element is a better choice in the view of the maximum current and temperature difference since the thinner element requests very large electric current and it is of no practical use. In addition. 6(b) and the maximum cooling rate occurs at the large current.35 W when the hot-side temperature increases by 20 ◦ C.5 Je (A) Qc.min (◦ C) -67.6 ∆Tmax (◦ C) 92. 8(a). In order to ﬁgure out the performance of the proposed thermoelectric micro-cooler. This trend can be found for the cases with the different thickness of the thermoelectric element shown in Fig. However. 8. (a) Cooling rate at the cold side and (b) heat release rate at the hot side for Th = Tc = 25 ◦ C. (a) 30 25 Lte = 20 µm Lte = 15 µm Lte = 10 µm Lte = 5 µm temperature difference at the maximum current decreases as the thickness of the element decreases and it is greater than 100 ◦ C when the thickness is greater than 15 µm. 5. in spite of the large maximum cooling rate when the thickness is small.8 4.2 100.110 Temperature difference. The cooling rate at the cold-side increases with the electric current but the rate decreases after it meets its maximum value at a certain current. the cooler might be of no practical use since the heat release rate increases as the current increases as shown in Fig.2 104. when Lte = 15 µm.45 W when the hot-side temperature increases by 20 ◦ C as shown in Fig.
The power also increases as the hotside temperature increases.5 2 (b) ∆T = 20 °C ∆T = 40 °C ∆T = 60 °C ∆T = 80 °C ∆T = 100 °C COPmax Electric power (W) 20 15 10 5 0 COP 0 5 10 15 20 1. Qh (W) ∆T = 20 °C ∆T = 40 °C ∆T = 60 °C ∆T = 80 °C ∆T = 100 °C 0 5 10 15 20 Current (A) Current (A) (a) 30 25 ∆T = 20 °C ∆T = 40 °C ∆T = 60 °C ∆T = 80 °C ∆T = 100 °C 3 2.5 30 25 20 15 10 5 0 Cooling rate. and (d) COP of the cooler (Lte = 20 µm).5 0 0 5 10 15 20 Current (A) Current (A) (c) (d) Fig. 7(c).5 0 0 5 10 ∆T = 20 °C ∆T = 40 °C ∆T = 60 °C ∆T = 80 °C ∆T = 100 °C at COPmax 15 20 Heat release rate. However.5 A but after that the rate increases with the hot-side temperature The electric power required is evaluated by considering the thermal energy balance in the cooler as Pe = Qh − Qc .5 2 1. the maximum COP decreases from 2.5 to 1.88 to 0. The heat release rate decreases with the increase of the hot-side temperature for the current less than 7.33 its current increases from 1. 7. Variation of (a) cooling rate at the cold side. The COP has its maximum value at the relatively small current in comparison to the case of the cooling rate. It is not efﬁcient that the cooler is used at the current greater than 13 A since the cooling rate decreases even though the current increases.4 3. 7(a). When Lte = 20 µm. 7(b). It is reasonable because all the boundaries except for the hot-side and cold-side surfaces are treated as surfaces insulated to the thermal energy transfer. (c) power. the cooler should be operated at the condition for which the maximum COP can be obtained. the cooling rate varies from 0.0 A as the temperature difference increases from 20 to 100 ◦ C.2 W with the hot-side temperature and it is less than the maximum cooling rate indicated in Fig. (b) heat release rate at the hot side.5 1 0. Qc (W) 3 2. The maximum COP decreases quickly as the hot-side temperature increases when the temperature is relatively low. the electric power similarly increases with the current as the heat release rate does as shown in Fig. reaches its maximum value as shown in Fig. Figure 9 shows the variations of the COP’s for the coolers 7 Copyright c 2005 by ASME .4 to 6. 8.5 1 0. in order to increase the energy efﬁciency of the cooler. Figure 7(d) shows the variation of the COP of the cooler with the electric current. Since the cooling rate is fairly less than the heat release rate though the cooling rate initially increases and decreases after its maximum value with the current. At the current at which the maximum COP occurs. The cooling rates for which the maximum COP’s are obtained for the different coolers are also indicated in Fig.
5 2 (a) ∆T = 20 °C ∆T = 40 °C ∆T = 60 °C ∆T = 80 °C ∆T = 100 °C COPmax 4 Cooling rate. respectively. and 1. (b) Lte = 10 µm. with the thermoelectric elements of different thickness.5 2 ∆T = 20 °C ∆T = 40 °C ∆T = 60 °C ∆T = 80 °C ∆T = 100 °C COPmax COP 2 1 0 0 5 10 15 20 1.5 0 0 5 10 15 20 Current (A) Current (A) (a) 5 ∆T = 20 °C ∆T = 40 °C ∆T = 60 °C ∆T = 80 °C ∆T = 100 °C at COPmax 3 2.5 1 0.6.8.5 0 0 5 10 15 20 Current (A) Current (A) (b) 5 ∆T = 20 °C ∆T = 40 °C ∆T = 60 °C ∆T = 80 °C ∆T = 100 °C at COPmax 3 2. Qc (W) 3 COP 2 1 0 0 5 10 15 20 1.5 1 0. (b) Lte = 10 µm.5 at the current of 1. 8. Cooling rate at the cold side for (a) Lte = 15 µm. the maximum COP’s are 2. When the thickness is small and the temperature difference is large.5 2 (b) ∆T = 20 °C ∆T = 40 °C ∆T = 60 °C ∆T = 80 °C ∆T = 100 °C COPmax 4 Cooling rate. Qc (W) 3 ∆T = 20 °C ∆T = 40 °C ∆T = 60 °C ∆T = 80 °C ∆T = 100 °C at COPmax 3 2. the current for the maximum COP largely increases and it may be of no practical use.2. 2. and (c) Lte = 5 µm. When ∆T = 20K. Qc (W) 3 COP 2 1 0 0 5 10 15 20 1.5 4 Cooling rate. Coefﬁcient of performance for (a) Lte = 15 µm. and (c) Lte = 5 µm. and 4.5 0 0 5 10 15 20 Current (A) Current (A) (c) Fig. 9. 10. and 5 µm. Figure 10 shows the temperature distributions of several 8 Copyright c 2005 by ASME . and thus the value decrease more quickly as the thickness of the element decreases.6. 2. (c) Fig.8 A for Lte = 15.5 1 0.
4 ◦ C (Te = 19. ∆T = 60 ◦ C and Je = 3. 4. However. respectively. the temperature difference between the hottest region and the coldest boundary is is about 4 ◦ C much less than the difference between the hot-side and cold-side substrate (∆T = 60 ◦ C).5 ◦ C (Te = 97.2 ◦ C. Temperature distributions of the cross-sections in (a) the yz-plane (b) the xz-plane. Figures 10(c) and (d) show the temperature distributions of the cross-sections in the cold-side and the hot-side connectors. In the contrary. in the hot-side substrate due to the Peltier heating. in p the cold-side substrate due to the Peltier cooling. The small-size and column-type thermoelectric cooler is considered and Bi2 Te3 and Sb2 Te3 are selected as the n. (c) the cold-side connector. The two-dimensional analysis has been carried out to validate the analysis before the three-dimensional analysis and the predicted temperature is in good agreement with the onedimensional analytic solution given in the literature. The hotter regions in the hot-side connectors are also centralized and distributed in ac- cordance with the patterns of the thermoelectric elements. respectively. ∆T = 60 ◦ C and Je = 3. CONCLUSION The three-dimensional numerical analysis has been carried out using the FEMLAB software package to ﬁgure out the performance of the thermoelectric micro-cooler. which is coincided with the result of the two-dimensional analysis shown in Fig.and p-type thermoelectric materials.(a) (b) (c) (d) Fig. The colder regions are distributed in accordance with the patterns of thermoelectric elements.8 ◦ C) and is lower than the temperature. 10. 85 ◦ C. The temperature near the interface between the thermoelectric element and the cold-side connector is down to 20. Tp = 95. The electron-phonon thermal equilibrium and non-equilibrium is considered in the two-dimensional analysis near the interface be- 9 Copyright c 2005 by ASME . T = 20.8 A for which the maximum Qc is obtained. 10(a) and (b) illustrate that the temperature variations in both the cold and hot substrates vary a little. the colder regions are centralized and the temperatures near the boundaries are relatively hot.6 ◦ C. cross-section of the cooler for Lte = 20 µm.0 ◦ C) and is higher than the temperature.8 A. the temperature near the interface between the thermoelectric element and the hot-side connector is 95. The thickness of the thermoelectric element considered is 5 to 20 µm and the thickness affects the performance of the cooler. The temperature distributions of two vertical cross-sections shown in Figs. 25 ◦ C. and (d) the hot-side connector for Lte = 20 µm. In the cold-side connectors.
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