Optimization of a new thermoelectric cooling assembly using cfd analyses and local modeling of Peltier effect

M. P. Codecasa1, E. Colombo2, F. Inzoli2, G. Pastorino1, C. Rizzo2

1PELTECH S.r.l., via Carlo Cattaneo 54, LECCO

2Politecnico di Milano, Dipartimento di Energetica, piazza Leonardo da Vinci 32, MILANO

A numerical model was defined to simulate the operation of a thermoelectric (TE) cooling assembly, comprising TE material, cold side heat-exchanger, hot side heat-sink and thermal impedances at each interface. A commercial code for computational-fluid-dynamics (CFD) was used to solve the thermo-fluid-dynamic fields and was coupled with one-dimensional equation model representing the TE interactions at the level of the single TE couples.

The results of CFD simulations on TE assemblies were validated with comparison to experimental data measured on a prototype working under the same operating conditions. The comparison was performed on single TE-blocks, designed for modular TE cooling systems. Each block includes one commercial TE cooling module combined with different heat-exchangers for cold and hot side. The range of studied operating conditions covers the main applications of interest in the domestic cooling sector.

The model was then applied to represent a similar TE-block based on a new TE cooling module with polymeric-film supports. Starting from previously defined configurations and using consistent amount of TE material, an optimization of the new design was performed (in terms of COP vs. cooling power) varying the geometrical distribution of TE material between the cold side heat exchanger and the hot side heat sink.