If you’ve ever worked in an office you know temperature is a big deal. That’s why cooling devices account for nearly 20% of the total electricity consumed in buildings around the world. But what makes you comfortable may leave another person too hot or too cold. That’s where wearable, personal, temperature-controlled devices come in. Small, reliable and efficient; these devices are putting people in control of their own personal comfort.
In recent years, the idea of personal, wearable, temperature-controlling devices has grown from concept to reality to an ever growing and profitable market. This market, born from heated car seats and blankets, uses thermoelectric cooling (TEC) to lower body temperature on demand. These devices are wearable, good for the environment and work on-demand.
Why thermoelectric cooling?
There are a few reasons why thermoelectric cooling is the ideal technology for personal-cooling devices.
- By nature, people are mobile, they move around a lot, so a personal-cooling devices also need to be mobile
- People also have very specific temperature preferences, so cooling devices need to be small enough not to impact others
- Traditional cooling technologies can result in substantial C02 emissions or leak dangerous hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) into the air.
The technology behind TECs makes all these things possible. TECs operate using the Peltier effect. The effect creates a temperature difference by running an electric current through a metal device and transferring heat from one side to another against a temperature gradient. Since solid metal is used to transfer the energy, there are no moving parts or outside sources of energy needed. This enables devices using TECs to be small, mobile and reliable. Other benefits of TECs are:
- No chlorofluorocarbons or refrigerant emissions
- Low maintenance
- Long lifetime
- Compatible with extreme environments or remote locations
- Capable of cooling far below ambient temperatures
- Performance independent of orientation
The future for personal, wearable, cooling-devices is vast. They can be used to warm you up in a cold office, cool you down during a marathon and temper hot flashes. And studies are underway to see how thermoregulation can decrease stress and regulate moods. Want to see if it really works? Here are some products already on the market. A vest that heats or cools you at the press of a button, bracelets that change your personal temperature, and a personal air conditioner that’s worn under a suit.
II-VI Marlows’ team of accomplished engineers works hand-in-hand with OEMs to develop optimized thermal solutions. From concept to completion, II-VI Marlow offers state-of-the-art thermoelectric solutions to meet your requirements.