Getting to Know Thermoelectric Cooling Technology – Part 1

Computers and other sensitive electronic devices are being used increasingly in harsh, inhospitable environments. High temperatures, contaminant laden air, humid and corrosive atmospheres can wreak havoc on electronic equipment. The inherent vulnerability of these components is a major consideration in such applications. Few companies today can afford the costs and inconvenience associated with repairs, downtime, and lost data due to inadequate protection of their investment in technology. As a leader in Thermoelectric cooling, EIC Solutions provides industry-leading electronic protection solutions that are reliable, low maintenance and specifically focused on thermal management.

What is Thermoelectric Cooling Technology?

In 1834, Jean Peltier discovered that by passing a current through two dissimilar conductors, the junction of those materials will either absorb or release heat, depending on the direction of the current flow. Thirteen years earlier, Thomas Seebeck had discovered current would flow when you placed a temperature gradient across the junction of two dissimilar metals. These two discoveries were the basis of thermoelectrics. With the advent of modern semiconductors, thermoelectric devices became practical for real world applications and are now found in everything from consumer goods to spacecraft.

The underlying technology that permits construction of these thermoelectric coolers is now referred to as “The Peltier Effect”.  EIC’s Peltier air conditioners use Thermoelectric “modules” with one or more high CFM axial fans and a patented electronic design to “pump” the heat from the inside of your enclosure to the outside, without exposing your delicate electronics to any outside air or contaminates. Through proper packaging, EIC has harnessed the cooling properties of these devices into modular air conditioners that can dissipate typical loads of 200, 400, 800, 1500 or 2500 BTU/HR.

The use of solid-state technology allows thermoelectric air conditioners to operate in any orientation – vertically, horizontally, or on an angle. In addition, thermoelectric air conditioners can be used in high temperature applications up to 140°F (60°C), and custom  thermoelectric coolers can be designed to operate in conditions well beyond this limit. For electronic/electrical enclosures located in desert regions or in hot industrial plant operations, the high operating temperature  of thermoelectric systems can provide a significant benefit.


Advantages of Thermoelectric Cooling Technology

The utilization of a thermoelectric cooling system to cool electronic/electrical enclosures provides a number of significant advantages for certain applications when compared to other cooling methods such as compressor based air conditioners, vortex coolers, and air-to-air heat exchangers (heat pipes). These include:

Reliability: Thermoelectric air conditioners exhibit very high reliability due to their solid-state construction.

Maintenance: A thermoelectric cooling system has few moving parts and no filters or oil so it is virtually maintenance free, with the only moving parts being the fans used to circulate the air across the heat sinks.

Portability: Thermoelectric air conditioners are ideal for portable cooling applications such as mounting in transit cases.

Operating & Maintenance Cost: The long term reliability of thermoelectric cooling systems drives down the total cost of ownership when compared to other technologies.

Click here to read more about all the Advantages of a Thermoelectric Cooling System.


Thermoelectric Cooling Technology in Use Today

The use of thermoelectric air conditioners provides solutions to many complex cooling problems where heat must be handled in a harsh environment. Today, thermoelectric air conditioners are protecting our troops by cooling deployable mobile firewalls to prevent cell-phone triggered IED’s from detonating near military convoys.  EIC thermoelectric air conditioners are being used by a major oil and gas exploration companies to cool the electrical control panels in their offshore drilling rigs and refining plants in the Gulf of Mexico. You can also find EIC Solutions Thermoelectric air conditioners providing both cooling and heating for the enclosures housing camera systems used for license plate recognition at select US border crossings.

With the increasing use of technology in hostile environments the demand for a cooling solution is needed.  EIC provides patented thermoelectric air conditioning solution that combats these environments. Our vision is to provide defense and industrial market customers with the world’s best high-performance solutions to house, protect and cool mission-critical electronics.

In part 2 of our series Getting to Know Thermoelectric Cooling Technology we will discuss computers, sensitive electronics and other mission-critical devices.