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project work on Thermoelectric refrigeraton

project work on Thermoelectric refrigeraton

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Published by Satyajit Rastogi

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Published by: Satyajit Rastogi on May 09, 2013
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Refrigeration is the process of pumping heat energy out of an insulated chamber in order to reduce the temperature of the chamber below that of the surrounding air. Thermoelectric refrigeration uses a principle called the "PELTIER" effect to pump heat electronically. The Peltier effect is named after a French scientist who discovered it in 1834.

There used a so called thermoelectric refrigerator based on Peltier effect. The given effect was called after a french watchmaker (1785-1845.), who discovered it in 1834. If you put a drop of water in the hollow on the joint of 2 semiconductors Sb and Bi, and switch on the current, the drop would freeze (with the reverse direction of the current the drop would melt ). This is how Peltier effect works. Jean Peltier noted that when an electrical current is applied across the junction of two dissimilar metals, heat is removed from one of the metals and transferred to the other. This is the basis of thermoelectric refrigeration. Thermoelectric modules are constructed from a series of tiny metal cubes of dissimilar exotic metals which are physically bonded together and connected electrically. When electrical current passes through the cube junctions, heat is transferred from one metal to the other. Solid-state thermoelectric modules are capable of transferring large quantities of heat when connected to a heat absorbing device on one side and a heat dissipating device on the other. The internal aluminium cold plate fins absorb heat from the contents, (food and beverages), and the thermoelectric modules transfer it to heat dissipating fins under the control panel. Here, a small fan helps to disperse the heat into the air. The system is totally

environmentally friendly and contains no hazardous gases, nor pipes nor coils and no compressor. The only moving part is the small 12-volt fan. Thermoelectric modules are too expensive for normal domestic and commercial applications which run only on regular household current. They are ideally suited to recreational applications because they are lightweight, compact, insensitive to motion or tilting, have no moving parts, and can operate directly from 12-volt batteries.



Food and beverages are kept cold and dry. No space is wasted for ice (unless of course you want ice, in which case we can help to preserve it 3 or 4 times longer than a plain cooler).

A Peltier module consists of semiconductors mounted successively, which form p-n- and n-pjunctions. Each junction has a thermal contact with radiators. When switching on the current of the definite polarity, there forms a temperature difference between the radiators: one of them warms up and works as a heatsink, the other works as a refrigerator.

Fig.2 A typical module provides a temperature difference of several tens degrees Celsius. With forced cooling of the hot radiator, the second one can reach the temperatures below 0 Celsius. For more temperature difference the cascade connection is used.

Fig.3 The cooling devices based on Peltier modules are often called active Peltier refrigerators or Peltier coolers.


Peltier module's power depends on its size. The modules of low power might not be efficient enough. But the usage of the modules of too high power might cause moisture condensation, what is dangerous for electronic circuits. The distance between conductors on the modern printed circuit boards constitutes parts of a millimeter. Nevertheless, they were powerful Peltier modules and additional cooling systems which helped us to overclock .We should notice here, that the systems work was stable and reliable enough. Similar experiments were made with Intel Celeron, Pentium II, Pentium III, which achieved tremendous performance growth. We should point out that Peltier modules dissipates a lot of heat. That's why it's necessary to use not only a powerful fan in the cooler, but also other different fans inside the case.

Fig.4 Unlike the Joule heat which is proportional to the current strength squared (Q=R•I•I•t), the Peltier is proportional to the current strength and changes the sign (-/+) if the current changes the direction. The Peltier heat equals: Qp = P • q q=I•t, P is a Peltier factor that depends on contacting materials and temperature.


Peltier heat is considered positive in case of dissipation, and negative in case of absorption. In this case the Joule heat in both calorimeters is the same (since R = R(Cu)+R(Bi)). But the Peltier heat differs in the sign. So, this experiment allows to calculate the Peltier factor. In the table below you can see some Peltier factors for different pairs of metals. In theory, the Peltier effect is explained the following way: electrons speed up or slow down under the influence of contact potential difference. In the first case the kinetic energy of the electrons increases, and then, turns into heat. In the second case the kinetic energy decreases and the joint temperature falls down. In case of usage of semiconductors of p- and n- types the effect becomes more vivid. On the scheme you can see how it works.







In 1834,French scientist Jean Peltier discovered a reversed phenomenon to that of Seebeck Effect.If two dissimilar metals are joined together so as to form a closed circuit, there will be two junctions where they meet each other. If an electric current is made to flow across these two junctions, one of the junctions become hot and the other junction becomes cold. This is actually the reverse of Seebeck Effect. The Peltier–Seebeck effect, or thermoelectric effect, is the direct conversion of thermal differentials to electric voltage and vice versa. Related effects are the Thomson effect and Joule heating. The Peltier–Seebeck and Thomson effects are reversible (in fact, the Peltier and Seebeck effects are reversals of one another); Joule heating cannot be reversible under the laws of thermodynamics.


If two dissimilar metals are joined together so as to form a closed circuit, there will be two junctions where they meet each other. If one of these junctions is heated then a current flows in the circuit which can be detected by a galvanometer. The amount of the current produced depends on the difference in temperature between the two junctions and on the characteristics of the two metals. The Seebeck effect is the conversion of temperature differences directly into electricity. This effect was first discovered, accidentally, by the German physicist Thomas Johann Seebeck in 1821, who found that a voltage existed between two ends of a metal bar when a temperature difference ΔT existed in the bar.

He also discovered that a compass needle would be deflected when a closed loop was formed of two metals with a temperature difference between the junctions. This is because the metals respond differently to the temperature difference, which creates a current loop, which in turn produces a magnetic field.

The effect is that a voltage, the thermoelectric EMF, is created in the presence of a temperature difference between two different metals or semiconductors. This causes a continuous current to flow in the conductors if they form a complete loop. The voltage created is of the order of several microvolts per degree difference. In the circuit:



(which can be in several different configurations and be governed by the same equations), the voltage developed can be derived from:

SA and SB are the Seebeck coefficients (also called thermoelectric power or thermopower) of the metals A and B, and T1 and T2 are the temperatures of the two junctions. The Seebeck coefficients are non-linear, and depend on the conductors' absolute temperature, material, and molecular structure. If the Seebeck coefficients are effectively constant for the measured temperature range, the above formula can be approximated as:

Thus, the working principle of thermocouple depends on the thermo electric effect. It can be used to measure a temperature difference directly, or to measure an absolute temperature, by setting one end to a known temperature. Several thermocouples in series are called a thermopile.

This is also the principle at work behind thermal diodes and thermoelectric generators (such as radioisotope thermoelectric generators or RTGs) which are used for creating power from heat differentials.

The Seebeck effect is due to two effects: charge carrier diffusion and phonon drag. If both connections are held at the same temperature, but one connection is periodically opened and closed, an AC voltage is measured, which is also temperature dependent. This application of the Kelvin probe is sometimes used to argue that the underlying physics does only need one junction. And this effect is still visible if the wires only come close, but do not touch, thus no diffusion is needed.

In 1851, Thomson pointed out the third effect.He related the heat absorbed or evolved in a single conductor to the temperature gradient along it and current flowing through it.


 COMPACT SIZE: Since the cooling module is comparable to the size of a matchbox, so the space required by the cooling system is very less.
 LIGHT WEIGHT: A 36 qt. capacity unit weighs only 17 lbs. Portability is one of the most attractive feature of thermoelectric refrigeration.  LOWER PRICED: It is 20% to 40% less expensive than compressor or absorption units.  LOW BATTERY: Battery consumption is quite low, averages approximately 4.5 amps - less

than your cars headlights. SOME OTHER ADVANTAGES:            No moving parts ; noiseless. Simple and fewer parts required. Can operate in any position. These units are much more flexible than conventional units. Easy control. No leakage problem. Compact in size. Suitable for low capacity. Very long life. It can take over load simply by increasing power input. An interchange of heating and cooling process can be exercised by reversing the polarity.

    Low C.O.P. More power is needed to run the system. Advantageous only for units of smaller capacity. Unavailablity of suitable materials of high figure of merit.

 Peltier refrigerators are widely used in several western countries.

Peltier cooling is also used in air conditioning in of rooms where large cooling capacities are required but the temperature difference need not to be so large. Such large system has a great advantage that it can be used for heating the room in winter merely by reversing the direction of current. The thermoelectric cooling can be effectively used in the following:      Constant low temperature bath and chambers. Coooled baffles fopr oil diffusion pump in vacuum system. Dew point hygrometer for determining absolute humidity. Photo multiplier cooler. Serum coolers for perseveration of blood plasma and serums etc.

THERMOELECTRIC: Cooling is achieved electronically using the concept of "Peltier" effect - heat is pumped with electrical energy. COMPRESSOR : Whereas in conventional refrigerators cooling is achieved by vapourising a refrigerant (such as freon) inside the refrigerator - heat is absorbed by the refrigerant through the principle of the "latent heat of vaporisation" and released outside the refrigerator where the vapour is condensed and compressed into a liquid again. Thermoelectric modules have no moving parts and are free with chlorofluorocarbons . Therefore they are environment friendly, reliable, and virtually maintenance free. They can be operated in any orientation and are ideal for cooling devices where mechanical vibrations cannot be tolerated. Their compact size also makes them ideal for applications that are size or weight limited where even the smallest compressor would have excess capacity. Their ability to heat and cool by a simple reversal in polarity of current is useful in applications where both heating and cooling is necessary or where temperature control is of utmost importance.

ABSORPTION: In absorption units cooling is achieved by vapourising a refrigerant (ammonia gas) inside the refrigerator by "boiling" it out of a water ammonia solution with a heat source (electric or propane) using the principle of "latent heat of vapourisation". The vapour is condensed and re-absorbed by the ammonia solution outside the refrigerator.


COMPACTNESS: They are the most compact because of the small size of the cooling components - cooling module / heat sink / cold sink. WEIGHT: Thermoelectric units weigh 1/3 to 1/2 as much as the other units because of the lightweight cooling system - no heavy compressor. PORTABILITY: Thermoelectric units are the most portable because they are light enough to carry with one hand and are not affected by motion or tilting. Compressor models are quite heavy and the absorption models must be kept level within 2 - 3 degrees. PRICE: They cost 20% - 40% less than the equivalent sized compressor or absorption units available for recreational use. BATTERY DRAIN: but may average slightly less depending on thermostatic control settings. Absorption portables draw 6.5 to 7.5 amps when running and may average about 5 amps They have a maximum current drain on 12 volts of 4.5 amps. Compressor portables draw slightly more current when running draw. COOLING PERFORMANCE: Compressor systems are the most efficient in hot weather. Some models will perform as a portable freezer and will refrigerate in ambient temperatures of up to 110 degrees F. Such units will refrigerate in sustained ambient temperatures of up to 95 degrees F. If they are kept full, they will refrigerate satisfactorily even if peak daytime temperatures reach 110 degrees F because the contents temperature will lag behind the ambient. The food will be just starting to warm up when the air cools off in the evening which will bring the food temperature back down to normal. Absorption type refrigerators provide almost the same cooling performance as thermoelectric portables but are less efficient at high ambient temperatures. FREEZING ICE CUBES: Compressor systems will usually make a quantity of small ice cubes except in very hot weather. Gas absorption systems can do the same except in hot weather. Thermoelectric units do not make ice cubes but can preserve them in a plastic container for 2 - 3 days which is often adequate for most applications. SAFETY: Such systems are completely safe because they use no gases or open flames and run on just 12 volts. Compressor systems can leak freon which can be extremely dangerous especially if heated. Absorption systems may use propane which can be extremely dangerous in the event of a leak.

RELIABILITY: Thermoelectric modules do not wear out or deteriorate with use. They have been used for military and aerospace applications for years because of their reliability and other unique features. Compressors and their motors are both subject to wear and freon-filled coils are subject to leakage and costly repairs. Absorption units are somewhat temperamental and may require expert servicing from time to time, especially if jarred when travelling. EASE OF SERVICING AND MAINTENANCE: Thermoelectric units have only one moving part, a small fan (and 12 volt motor) which can easily be replaced with only a screw driver. Most parts are easily replaced by the end-user. Compressor and absorption units both require trained (expensive) mechanics and special service equipment to service them.

 In the thermoelectric refrigeration system the electrons are pumped by the wheres in case of vapour compression system the vapour from the evaporator (to a condenser) is deliveredby the compressor at a high pressure. When the electrons reach the junction of the dissimilar reconductors, their energy decreases due to heat transfer to the surroundings.This corresponds to the cooling or condensation of compressed vapour. After this the electrons are reduced to lower potential which resembles the process of throttling as in vapour compression system. The heat transfer to the cold junction imparts energy to electrons which again move to battery similar to transfe of vapour from evaporator to the compressor.

 


There are various combinations of thermoelectric materials which are used in thermoelectric refrigeration system. In the table below you can see Peltier factors for different pairs of metals and their calculated efficiency.


Fe-constantan P,mv 13.0 15.0 19.0 C.O.P 0.17 0.27 0.48 P,mv 8.0 9.0 10.3

Cu-Ni C.O.P -

Pb-constantan P,mv 8.7 11.8 16.0 C.O.P 0.12 0.34


In recent times, the most commonly used material for thermoelectric convertors is lead telluride.The efficiency of such a thermoelectric convertor is,however,only about 5 to 7 percent. Taking into consideration mechanical characteristics, stability under operating conditions and ease of fabrication,Bismuth telluride appears to be amply suitable material.It can be alloyed with such materials as Bismuth selenide, antimony telluride,lead selenide and tin telluride to give improved properties. Research is being made to find more efficient thermocouple materials.To achieve higher efficiency, thermoelectric material should have a high value of Z and be able to operate upto very high temperature .The following points are worthnoting in this regard:        The component thermal conductivity of semiconductor should be as low as possible. The mobility of current carriers should be as high as is compatible with condition 1. One of the arms should consists of a purely hole type and the other of a purely electronic type semiconductor. In the low temperature zone the impurity concentration should be lower than in the higher temperature zone. It should be resist chemical influences such as oxidation. It should have a good mechanical strength. It should be amply elastic.


A thermoelectric material should possess the following properties :     It must be excellent conductor of electricity so that ohmic losses are minimum. It must be a very poor conductor of heat because the heat must be absorbed at one end, and rejected at the other. It must have high thermoelectric power. This means it must have a high rate of change in voltage with temperature. A good thermoelectric material should have a high electrical conductivity ,low thermal thermal conductivity and a high Seebeck coefficient. Semiconductor is the proper material for thermoelectric refrigeration.

Thermoelectric modules are solid-state heat pumps which operate on the Peltier effect (see definitions). A thermoelectric module consists of an array of p- and n-type semiconductor elements that are heavily doped with electrical carriers. The elements are arranged in a way that they connected in series electricallybut thermally connected in parallel. This array is then fixed to two ceramic substrates, one on each side of the elements (see figure below). We should examine how the heat transfers as electrons flow through one pair of p- and n-type elements within the thermoelectric module:


Fig.7 The p-type semiconductor is doped with certain atoms that less electrons than necessary to complete the atomic bonds within the crystal lattice. By applying some voltage, there is a tendency for conduction electrons to complete the atomic bonds. When this happens, they leave ―holes‖ which essentially are atoms within the crystal lattice that now have local positive charges. Electrons are then continually dropping in and being bumped out of the holes and moving on to the next available hole. In effect, it is the holes that are acts as an electrical carriers. Now, electrons move easily in the copper conductors than the semiconductors. When electrons leave the p-type and enter into the copper on the cold-side, holes are created in the p-type as the electrons jump out to a higher energy level to match the energy level of the electrons already moving in the copper. The extra energy to create these holes comes due to absorption of heat. Meanwhile, the newly created holes travel downwards to the copper on the hot side. Electrons from the hot-side of the copper move into the p-type and drop into the holes, releasing the excess energy in the form of heat. The n-type semiconductor is doped with atoms that provide more electrons than necessary to complete the atomic bonds within the crystal lattice. On application of voltage, these extra electrons easily move into the conduction band. However, some additional energy is required to get the n-type electrons to match the energy level of the incoming electrons from the cold-side of copper. The extra energy comes by absorption of heat. Finally, when the electrons leave the hotside of the n-type, they once again can move freely inside the copper. They drop down to a lower energy level, and release heat in the process.


The above explanation does not cover all the details, but it serves to explain in words what are otherwise very complex physical interactions. The main point is that heat is always absorbed at the cold side of the n- and p- type elements, and heat is always released at the hot side of thermoelectric element. The heat pumping capacity of a module is proportional to the current and is depends on the element geometry, number of couples, and material property.



The figure above represents a thermoelectric couple. It shows some terms used in the mathematical equation: L = element height A = cross-sectional area Qc = heat load Tc = cold-side temperature Th = hot-side temperature I = applied current Additionally, there is the following: S = Seebeck coefficient R = electrical resistivity K = thermal conductivity V = voltage N = number of couples Here are the basic equations: Qc = 2 × N×[S × I × Tc - × × R × – K × × (Th – Tc)] – REF 8 V = 2 × N ×[S × (Th –Tc) + I × R × ] – REF- 8

The first Qc term, S×I×Tc, is the peltier cooling effect. The second term, × ×R× , represents the Joule heating effect associated with passing an electrical current through a resistance. The Joule heat is distributed throughout the element, so 1/2 the heat goes towards the cold side, and 1/2 the heat goes towards the hot side. The last term, K× ×(Th-Tc), represents the Fourier effect in which heat is conducted from a higher temperature to a lower temperature. So, the peltier cooling is reduced by the losses associated with electrical resistance and thermal conductance. For a voltage, the first term, S×(Th-Tc) represents the Seebeck voltage. The second term, I×R×L/A represents the voltage related by Ohm’s law. These are simplified equations which show the basic idea in calculations. The actual differential equations do not have a closed-form solution because S, R, and K are temperature dependent.

Efficiency relates to the ratio of the amount of work output to the amount of power input. In heat pumping applications, this term is rarely used because it is possible to remove more heat than the amount of power input it takes to move that heat. For thermoelectric modules, it is standard to use the term "coefficient of performance" rather than "efficiency." The coefficient of performance (COP) is the amount of heat pumped divided by the amount of supplied electrical power. The COP depends on the factors like heat load, input power, and the required temperature differential. Typically, the COP is between 0.3 and 0.7 for single-stage applications. However, COPs greater than 1.0 can be achieved especially when the module is pumping against a positive temperature difference (that is, when the module is removing heat from an object that is warmer than the ambient).

Thermoelectric systems are very reliable provided they are used in an appropriate manner. The specific reliability of thermoelectric coolers tends to be difficult to define though because failure rates are highly dependent upon the manner of application. Thermoelectric modules that are at steady state (constant power, heat load, temperature, etc.) can have mean time between failures (MTBFs) more than 200,000 hours. However, applications involving thermal cycling show significantly worse MTBFs, especially when TE coolers are cycled up to a high temperature. With thermal cycling, a more appropriate measure of reliability is not time but rather number of cycles.


All materials expand and contract as they are heated and cooled. Different materials will expand at differently. The rate of expansion depends upon the material property called the coefficient of thermal expansion (CTE). Generally, as the cold side of a module gets colder, it will contract, and as the hot side becomes hotter, hence it will expand. This flexes the thermoelectric elements and their solder junctions. Furthermore, because the module is constructed of several different materials, there is added stress simply because the materials themselves are expanding/contracting at different rates. After repeated thermal cycling, the solder junctions within the module fatigue, and the electrical resistance increases. Cooling performance is reduced, and eventually the module is damaged. The "failure point" is thus a function of operating temperature, the amount of temperature cycling, and how much degradation the particular system can tolerate before performance becomes unacceptable. All thermoelectric modules experience the same stresses of operation, but how they tolerate these stresses depends on build quality—selecting a manufacturer with good, strong solder junctions is a must.

Thermoelectric coolers can indeed be used very effectively and efficiently for heating. Since thermoelectric coolers are solid-state heat pumps, they can pump heat from the ambient in addition to the heating effect that comes from the electrical resistance of the cooler itself. So, the thermoelectric cooler can be more efficient than a resistive heater (within limits). If you are interested in building your own assembly, you can use the cooling performance graphs of the thermoelectric module to estimate how much heating can be done. The total heating load is calculated by first estimating a temperature difference across the module and assuming an input current for any particular module. This defines the active amount of heat that the module can pump from the ambient. Combining this with the total power input determines how much total heating the module can do. You would then iterate the temperature difference guess based on the thermal resistances to and from the module and the corresponding heat loads being transferred.

The papers we have gone through has been compared with our project. Most of the papers have used multiple cooling modules with high power supply. And most of the papers have transformers for power supply. But we have used Switched Mode Power Supply as the power supply. It makes the sensitive cooling module safe. The SMPS restricts the fluctuating load and makes it stable. And in addition to it, our project has the uniqueness of both heating and cooling. The COP of our project is also compared to other research papers.



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