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The Peltier Effect

This entry was posted in peltier effect , Energy Harvesting , renewable energy and tech that matters on April 20, 2020 by II-VI Marlow Industries


The Peltier Effect saves energy and controls temperatures in technology.

The Peltier Effect is a common method used in the science community for the last century.  It’s been used in solid state devices to electrically heat or cool materials.

This effect integrated with thermoelectrics, allows products to be cost efficient, noise cancelling, and under temperature control.

History of Peltier

The Peltier Effect is named after Jean Charles Athanase Peltier, a French watchmaker and part time physicist. In 1834, he created an electrical current with heating and cooling properties by combining two different metals. In 1838, he proved that you can remove heat from a device to freeze ice or insert heat to melt it using this method.  

This effect is the opposite of the Seebeck Effect. Thomas Johann Seebeck invented a similar method combining two different metals and distributing heat at opposite ends to create an electrical current. 

Long story short, the Seebeck Effect changes temperatures to make a current, while the Peltier Effect uses the current to create temperature changes.

The Peltier Effect in Thermoelectrics

The Peltier Effect has played a big part in thermoelectrics. It’s been used as a method to create thermoelectric coolers, cooling units, cameras, and more.

Thermoelectric Coolers

Thermoelectric coolers are used in products like beverage coolers, humidifiers, and refrigerators. By using the Peltier Effect, a gradient is created between the two plates, keeping the coolers and fridges at a cool temperature. 

Since these devices are already thermoelectric, adding the Peltier is like taking out an insurance party on your cold goods.

Cooling Units

When adding peltier elements to cooling units, the semiconductor pellets are added electronically and arranged thermally. Cooling units can absorb or release heat between the two different conductors after a current passes, improving temperature control, noise and total power consumption.

Digital Cameras

CMOS, Complementary Metal Oxide Semiconductor, sensors have integrated Peltier coolers to use active spot cooling on their cameras. It’s proven to be a great, price effective alternative to CCD, Charge-Coupled Device.

CMOS are not as sensitive to temperature as CCD’s, but the image quality of CMOS starts to worsen when the temperature goes above 50 degrees celsius. By combining CMOS with Peltier coolers, the camera will always stay at a cool temperature. This reduces dark noise, cancels noise, and keeps the resolution high. 

Implementing the Peltier Effect into all kinds of technology is a great way to save energy and control temperatures at a low cost point.

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