Education

Thermal Electronics Corp. supplies complete thermoelectric systems along with various components, hardware, and technical expertise through 2 separate business verticals. The Tecteg Mfr. division supplies Seebeck effect based thermoelectric modules and thermoelectric TEG power generators.The Cooler device division supplies Peltier effect based coolers and heaters, plus Thermoelectric component hardware. We have spent the last 25 years designing and manufacturing Thermoelectric based technologies and have an intimate knowledge base to provide top quality designs.

Our custom designed components are some of the most advanced designs in the world. The TEG components we supply are all custom and have been refined over 25 years to exploit the full potential of thermoelectric technology. Heat transfer (movement) is the key to unlocking the full potential of TEG & TEC Thermoelectric based products reducing the bottleneck that is persistent in many Peltier and Seebeck effect based designs. Most designs are geared towards marginal performing consumer products and are cost driven. Cheap designs from China do not allow for the full potential of thermoelectric TEG Modules. It takes many year to develop the technical ability to determine the best designs that is why our technical services are in such high demand.

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Above is a typical design for a thermoelectric assembly with cold sink. Heat sinks are almost always larger than their cold sink counterparts. Extender blocks are used to separate the hot side from the cold side!

Thermal Electronics Corp. offers manufacturers, distributors and “do-it-yourself” the opportunity to improve an existing design, and build an optimized product that will meet or exceed other products in the market. Whatever your reasons – take a look! If you have a specific requirement and don’t see it on our web site, send us an email! We will be happy to discuss your custom needs!

An Introduction to Thermoelectric Coolers

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Thermoelectric coolers (Peltier coolers) are solid-state heat pumps used in applications where temperature stabilization, temperature cycling, or cooling below ambient are required. There are many products using thermoelectric Peltier coolers, including CCD cameras (charge coupled device), laser diodes, microprocessors, blood analyzers and portable picnic coolers. This article discusses the theory behind the thermoelectric cooler, along with the thermal and electrical parameters involved.

How the Thermoelectric Peltier Coolers Work

Thermoelectrics are based on the Peltier Effect, discovered in 1834, by which DC current applied across two dissimilar materials causes a temperature differential. The Peltier Effect is one of the three thermoelectric effects, the other two are known as the Seebeck Effect and Thomson Effect. Whereas the last two effects act on a single conductor, the Peltier Effect is a typical junction phenomenon. The three effects are connected to each other by a simple relationship.

The typical thermoelectric module is manufactured using two thin ceramic wafers with a series of P and N doped BiTe semiconductor material sandwiched between them. The ceramic material on both sides of the thermoelectric adds rigidity and the necessary electrical insulation. The N type material has an excess of electrons, while the P type material has a deficit of electrons. One P and one N make up a couple, as shown in Figure 1. The thermoelectric couples are electrically in series and thermally in parallel. A thermoelectric module can contain one to several hundred couples.

As the electrons move from the P type material to the N type material through an electrical conductor, the electrons jump to a higher energy state absorbing thermal energy (cold side). Continuing through the lattice of material, the electrons flow from the N type material to the P type material through an electrical conductor, dropping to a lower energy state and releasing energy as heat to the heat sink (hot side).

Thermoelectrics can be used to heat and to cool, depending on the direction of the current. In an application requiring both heating and cooling, the design should focus on the cooling mode. Using a thermoelectric in the heating mode is very efficient because all the internal heating (Joulian heat) and the load from the cold side is pumped to the hot side. This reduces the power needed to achieve the desired heating.