Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Strange Coolant Device

  1. Apr 3, 2004 #1
    I've heard about some small chip of some kind that has termendous cooling power when a current is run through it. Apparently it is a high efficiency alternative to a large refrigerator when it is kept in a small, enclosed area. It's equivalent to something like 10 bags of ice or something, I don't remember, it was a while ago.
    Does anybody know anything about this?
    I'm not sure where I could really find anything on it.
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 3, 2004 #2


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus

    Try doing a google search for peltier cooler
  4. Apr 3, 2004 #3
    Thank you, I'll do that! ^_^
  5. Apr 3, 2004 #4


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Peltier are neat devices, they can significantly reduce the temperature of a processor. But there is a catch. They only move the heat a short distance, in addition they add the heat of operation of the peltier device. So while you have cooled the CPU you have INCREASED your case temp. If this is not controlled the CPU will soon follow suit. So you still need fans to remove the hot air from your case. Since the Peltier is more expensive then a conventional Heat sink fan combo and it does not really do that much better job, they have not exactly taken the computer world by storm.

    I had a Peliter device in a 12V car cooler in the early 1980s so they are not exactly new technology. The amount of cooling is dependent on the size and current draw of the device. One such as you describe will draw a lot of current.
  6. Apr 3, 2004 #5
    yeah, I noticed that this doesn't seem exactly what I was talking about...exactly how much cooling does this get, like negative degrees? They specs look so cryptic to me, I really can't tell.

    Does anybody know of anything similar to this but more like the device I mention, with enough cooling power to use it for that application? A heatsink isn't exactly what I had in mind...
  7. Apr 3, 2004 #6


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    They come in all different shapes and sizes and ratings, GreyBeaver.

    If you're asking about trying to use a peltier to refrigerate the contents of a cooler instead of using ice, you'll have to consider the pain of carrying around a battery capable of storing enough energy to run your peltier.

    I'm willing to bet (though I don't feel like doing the calculation right now, it's time for lunch) that a lead-acid battery and a peltier provides less cooling per unit weight than does ice.

    - Warren
  8. Apr 3, 2004 #7
    I expect so! hehehe...
    Which is why I say it's not exactly what I was looking for.
    I have no idea what the name of the device I'm looking for is, but I heard about it a long time ago on HGTV, I think it was, on a show called Extreme Homes. A man was demonstrating his extremely energy efficient home, and he made a brief mention of his refrigeration device.
    I've looked up the show on the HGTV website, but came to a dead end, and since I doubt that the man has any interest in putting up any kind of information about it, I don't see what I can do...
  9. Apr 4, 2004 #8


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Greybeaver, if you are thinking about a refrigerator on a boat, think about a gas fridge. You would be much better off. Most gas refrigerators can run either gas or electric and have no moving parts. They will run a darn long time on a 20 lb cylinder of propane. The disadvantage is that they need to be fairly level. Continuous rocking motion won't hurt them, but a constant off-center stationary position is bad.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook