Modeling Study and Performance Investigation of a Thermoelectric Refrigerator

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Thermoelectric refrigerators are widely used in electronics, medical, and food industry application areas. A refrigeration effect can also be achieved without using any moving parts by merely passing a small current through a closed circuit made up of two dissimilar materials. This effect is called the Peltier effect, and a refrigerator that works on this principle is called a thermoelectric refrigerator. They consist of several thermoelectric legs sandwiched between two thermally conductive plates, one cold and one hot. Thermoelectric refrigerators presently cannot compete with the vapor-compression refrigeration system because of their low- coefficient of performance (COP). However, some applications have been preferred because of their small size, simplicity, quietness, and reliability. In this study, a thermoelectric cooler having a maximum cooling power of 50 W, having a dimension of 40mmx40mmx3.6 mm, is modeled in multi-physics software. Also, the performance of a thermoelectric refrigerator is investigated. It is computed the temperature difference between ceramics plates versus electric current and COP for a temperature difference between ceramics plates. The simulation results are compared with experimental data. The data obtained from the analyses have been compared with the experimental results and found to agree with each other. For the surface temperatures of 25 oC and 50 oC, the maximum coefficients of performance have been computed to be 1.091 and 1.445, respectively. In general, as the temperature of hot surfaces has increased for the same temperature differences, the COP of the thermoelectric cooler has increased.


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