Peltier Devices: Thermoelectric Coolers and Power Generators
Thermoelectric couples are solid-state devices capable of generating electrical power from a temperature gradient, known as the Seebeck effect, or converting electrical energy into a temperature gradient, known as the Peltier effect.
A typical thermoelectric module is composed of two ceramic substrates that serve as a housing and electrical insulation for P-type and N-type (typically Bismuth Telluride) elements between the substrates. Heat is absorbed at the cold junction by electrons as they pass from a low energy level in the p-type element, to a higher energy level in the n-type element. At the hot junction, energy is expelled to a thermal sink as electrons move from a high energy element to a lower energy element. A module contains several P-N couples that are connected electrically in series and thermally in parallel.
To assist the thermal designer in modeling Peltier modules (thermoelectric generators or coolers), CRTech's tool suite provides built in routines for modeling either standard Bismuth Telluride coolers or modules manufactured from alternative semiconductor materials. The family of TEC routines provide the designer the ability to model single stage or multi-stage devices, and calculate valuable sizing information regarding thermoelectric performance.
Thermal Desktop® Model of a Thermoelectric Cooler
- Publication: Modeling and Sizing a Thermoelectric Cooler within a Thermal Analyzer, J. Baumann (Aerospace Thermal Control Workshop 2006)
- Recorded Video: Modeling Thermoelectric Coolers in Thermal Desktop
- AZTEC Thermoelectric Simulation Software from Larid
- For more information on the theory and design of thermoelectric devices, please visit Peltier Device Information Directory