Performance Prediction and Irreversibility Analysis of a Thermoelectric Refrigerator with Finned Heat Exchanger
F. Meng, L. Chen and F. Sun
College of Naval Architecture and Power, Naval University of Engineering, Wuhan 430033, P.R. China
Received: December 18, 2010; In final form: April 1, 2011
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A developed model of commercial thermoelectric refrigerators with finned heat exchanger is established by introducing finite time thermodynamics. A significant novelty is that physical properties, dimension parameters, temperature parameters and flow parameters are all taken into account in the model. Numerical studies and comparative investigation on the performance of a typical commercial water-cooling thermoelectric refrigerator which consists of 127 thermoelectric elements, are performed for cooling load and coefficient of performance. The results show that the maximum cooling load is 2.33 W and the maximum coefficient of performance is 0.54 when the cooling temperature difference is 10 K. Comparing the simulation results of several models, it is found that the heat convection of the heat exchanger and the heat leakage through the air gap are the main factors, which cause irreversibility and decrease the performance. Moreover, the performance can be improved by optimizing the length and cross-section area of thermoelectric elements. The model and calculation method may be applied to not only the analysis and performance prediction of practical thermoelectric refrigerators, but also the design and optimization of heat exchangers.
DOI: 10.12693/APhysPolA.120.397
PACS numbers: 05.70.-a, 05.60.Cd, 05.70.Ln