Research Papers: Conduction

Dimensionless Optimization of Thermoelectric Cooler Performance When Integrated Within a Thermal Resistance Network

[+] Author and Article Information
Matthew R. Pearson

Thermal Fluid Sciences Department,
United Technologies Research Center,
411 Silver Lane,
East Hartford, CT 06118
e-mail: pearsomr@utrc.utc.com

Charles E. Lents

Thermal Fluid Sciences Department,
United Technologies Research Center,
411 Silver Lane,
East Hartford, CT 06118
e-mail: lentsce@utrc.utc.com

Contributed by the Heat Transfer Division of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF HEAT TRANSFER. Manuscript received November 12, 2014; final manuscript received March 21, 2016; published online April 26, 2016. Assoc. Editor: Ali Khounsary.

J. Heat Transfer 138(8), 081301 (Apr 26, 2016) (11 pages) Paper No: HT-14-1733; doi: 10.1115/1.4033326 History: Received November 12, 2014; Revised March 21, 2016

Thermoelectric coolers (TECs) are solid-state cooling devices which can be used in certain applications to reduce the operating temperature of electronics or increase their heat dissipation. However, the performance of the cooler is strongly influenced by the thermal system into which it is placed, and the cooler design should be optimized for a given system. In this work, the possible benefits of a TEC implemented within a realistic thermal system are quantified. Finite thermal conductances between the cooled device and the TEC and between the TEC and the heat sink are considered. The entire problem is treated using dimensionless parameters, which reduces the number of independent parameters and enables generalized performance maps which clearly show the maximum benefit (in terms of a reduced device temperature or increased device heat dissipation) that a prescribed TEC can deliver to a particular application. The use of these dimensionless parameters also allows for optimization of TEC parameters without considering the cooler detailed design geometry.

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Fig. 1

Schematic of a simplified thermal network with integrated TEC

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Fig. 2

Temperature benefit maps for K⋆  = 0.01, 0.1, and 1

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Fig. 3

Heat benefit maps for G0⋆=1 and K⋆  = 0.01, 0.1, and 1

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Fig. 4

Temperature benefit map for optimal K⋆

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Fig. 5

Optimal K⋆ value needed to achieve the temperature benefit shown in Fig. 4. (Contours show the reciprocal, 1/Kopt⋆, for clarity).

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Fig. 6

Heat benefit maps for optimal K⋆ and G0⋆  = 0.1, 1, and 10

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Fig. 7

Optimal K⋆ value needed to achieve the heat benefit shown in Fig. 6 for G0⋆  = 0.1, 1, and 10. (The central bold line represents 3Kopt⋆=1/(3Kopt⋆)=1. To the right of this line, contours of 1/(3Kopt⋆) are drawn, and to the left of this line, contours of 3Kopt⋆ are drawn. This allows the full range of 0≤Kopt⋆<∞ to be clearly shown in a single plot).

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Fig. 8

Optimal K⋆ value (expressed as Q0,opt⋆/Kopt⋆) needed to achieve the heat benefit shown in Fig. 6 for G0⋆  = 0.1, 1, and 10

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Fig. 9

COP map (normalized by maximum COP) for the temperature benefit study with K⋆  = 0.01, 0.1, and 1

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Fig. 10

COP map (normalized by maximum COP) for the temperature benefit study and optimal K⋆

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Fig. 11

Variation of ZTref and K⋆ with H

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Fig. 12

Heat flux and current flux as function of H



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