Thermoelectric semiconductors and the mass production of thermoelectric modules have experienced a big development in the last years, making thermoelectricity attractive for industrial and commercial applications. The design of industrial applications requires deep knowledge about how thermoelectric modules behave. Even in the case of an application designed to work at a certain operating point of the module, it is interesting to evaluate how would it behave at different working conditions. The thermal and electrical characteristics of the commercial thermoelectric modules, provided by the manufacturers, usually represent the optimal working condition or a few points in a narrow area around that point. But the characteristics can not be considered constant, the modules are specially sensitive to the temperature, which is very changeable in real applications and in fact depends on the heat transferred. This paper shows the results of testing two commercial thermoelectric modules, one is the typical 12V, Tmax=80°C and the other, designed for high temperature, is a 50W, Tmax=200°C. All the results have been obtained experimentally using a test bench designed and built for this purpose. Special procedures were applied in order to be able to control the temperature in both sides of the thermoelectric module during the experiments. A description of the test bench (which is very easy to build for any laboratory) and the procedures for testing modules in a convenient way are also included. The results obtained correspond to a wide range of working conditions: a temperature from 15°C to 190°C, a range of heat power from 10W to 50W, and electric power from 0.1W to 80W. see http://www.iit.upco.es/~palacios/thermo/thermo.html
ICT'97, XVI International Conference on Thermoelectrics. Dresden, Germany, 26-29 August 1997
Published: August 1997.