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Research Papers

Optimization of a Thermoelectric Cooler for Time-Varying Heat Load and Sink Temperature

[+] 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 Electronic and Photonic Packaging Division of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF ELECTRONIC PACKAGING. Manuscript received January 14, 2016; final manuscript received September 30, 2016; published online October 27, 2016. Assoc. Editor: Ashish Gupta.

J. Electron. Packag 138(4), 041010 (Oct 27, 2016) (10 pages) Paper No: EP-16-1012; doi: 10.1115/1.4034861 History: Received January 14, 2016; Revised September 30, 2016

Thermoelectric coolers (TECs) are solid-state cooling devices that operate on the Seebeck effect. They can be used in electronic cooling applications as well as other refrigeration systems. Among the various factors that affect TEC performance within a system, it has been shown that the thermal conductance is an important parameter, which can also be easily altered during the design of a TEC to deliver optimal TEC performance for a given application. However, these studies have considered only a fixed heat load and heat sink temperature, whereas in many realistic applications these quantities can vary. A procedure has been developed for optimizing the thermal conductance of a TEC based on a typical operating cycle of time-varying heat load and sink temperature, while permitting constraints that ensure that one or more worst-case operating conditions can also be met. This procedure is valid for any arbitrary heat load and sink temperature functions; however, for illustrative purposes, a simple heat load function at fixed sink temperature (and a sink temperature function at fixed heat load) is used. The results show that the optimal conductance can strongly depend on the operating cycle, and the corresponding reduction in electrical input work (and corresponding increase in net coefficient of performance (COP)) can be significant.

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Figures

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Fig. 1

Schematic of simplified thermal network with integrated TEC

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Fig. 2

Effect of fQ0 and ft on the optimal thermal conductance K⋆ of the TEC

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Fig. 3

Varying heat load; four quadrant power supply; optimal operating conditions for ft  = 99.9%. (a) optimal thermal conductance. (b) TEC temperature difference. (c) TEC operating current. (d,e) TEC electrical input work.

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Fig. 4

Power supply quadrants

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Fig. 5

Varying heat load; two quadrant power supply; optimal operating conditions for ft = 99.9%. (a) optimal thermal conductance. (b) TEC temperature difference. (c) TEC operating current. (d, e) TEC electrical input work.

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Fig. 6

Varying heat load; one quadrant power supply; optimal operating conditions for ft = 99.9%. (a) optimal thermal conductance. (b) TEC temperature difference. (c) TEC operating current. (d, e) TEC electrical input work.

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Fig. 7

Varying heat load; four quadrant power supply; no minimization of T0⋆ error; optimal operating conditions for ft = 99.9%. (a) optimal thermal conductance. (b) TEC temperature difference. (c) TEC operating current. (d, e) TEC electrical input work.

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Fig. 8

Comparison of junction temperature during low heat load state (Q0⋆=fQQ0,max⋆) when constraint I⋆≥0 is imposed: with and without minimization of junction temperature error

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Fig. 9

Varying heat sink temperature; four quadrant power supply; optimal operating conditions for ft  = 99.9%. (a) optimal thermal conductance (b) TEC temperature difference. (c) TEC operating current. (d) TEC electrical input work. (e) TEC electrical input work near W⋆=0.

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Fig. 10

The reduction of electrical input work to the TEC by optimizing K⋆ for a typical operating cycle rather than setting it to Kbest⋆ (varying heat load, fixed sink temperature)

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Fig. 11

The reduction of electrical input work to the TEC by optimizing K⋆ for a typical operating cycle rather than setting it to Kbest⋆ (varying sink temperature, fixed heat load)

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