Material Thermoelectric materials
Thermoelectric materials are special types of semiconductors that, when coupled, function as a "heat pump". By applying a low voltage DC power source, heat is moved in the direction of the current (+ to -). (See glossary, Peltier effect).

Usually, they are used for thermoelectric modules where a single couple or many couples (to obtain larger cooling capacity) are combined. One face of the module cools down while the other heats up, and the effect is reversible.

Thermoelectric cooling allows for small size and light devices, high reliability and precise temperature control, and quiet operation. Disadvantages include high prices and high operating costs, due to low energy efficiency.
Category Responsive (smart) materials, Temperature changing materials
Products Can cooler
Food plate
Lorry refrigerator
Hotel minibar
Processes Powder technology
Similar materials Bismuth telluride
References SupercoolTM
International Thermoelectric Inc.
Modern Refrigeration Practice
Environmen- tal notes Creation: Thermoelectric cooling systems, unlike conventional refrigeration systems, are not fabricated using chlorofluorocarbons that may be harmful to the environment.

Use: Energy efficiency of thermoelectric refrigeration devices is generally lower than that of conventional cooling units.
Additional Info New materials with better thermoelectric performances are being investigated and will improve the efficiency of thermoelectric devices, decrease their operation costs, and widen the range of their applications.
Photo Thomas Nissen (Computer graphics)
Copyright © 1996-2003 Torben Lenau
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