Simcenter STAR-CCM+ Example- Modelling of Peltier-Cooling effect and Thermoelectric Generation using Simcenter STAR-CCM+

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A demo example of thermoelectric physics setup to capture the Peltier-Cooling effect using Simcenter STAR-CCM+


Thermoelectricity is a two-way process.
  • It can refer either to the way a temperature difference between one side of a material and the other can produce electricity, or to the reverse: the way applying an electric current through a material can create a temperature difference between its two sides, which can be used to heat or cool things without combustion or moving parts.
  • Thermoelectric materials have a high Seebeck-coefficient α, a good electric conductivity σ, and a poor thermal conductivity λ.
  • Thermoelectric systems are used for
    • Measurement techniques (thermocouples, thermopiles...),
    • for Peltier-cooling (Peltier-elements for CPU-Cooling, refrigeration, temperature stabilization and
    • direct energy conversion of heat (thermoelectric generators, driven by waste heat, radioactive decay, combustion...)
Electro-thermal interaction is commonly considered only as a matter of Joule heating. In addition, the Seebeck, Peltier and Thompson Effects are significant in materials with high thermoelectric properties.
Thermoelectricity refers to the combination of three effects—
  • The Seebeck effect,
  • The Peltier effect, and
  • The Thomson effect. 
These effects describe the relationship between temperature gradients and electric voltage in solid conductors. Unlike Joule heating, thermoelectricity is a thermodynamically reversible process.

Problem Definition: 
In this demo example, we verify the response of Thermoelectric Cooler through Peltier effect when a current is supplied to a junction between two conductors, heat may be added or removed at the junction.

For simplicity, we will consider only one leg of the thermoelectric device
  • Thermoelectric leg geometry of 1-by-1-by-6 mm
  • The thermoelectric part, is made of bismuth telluride (Bi2Te3)
  • It is capped by two thin copper electrodes, 0.1 mm thick.
  • Seebeck coefficient for copper is 6.5e-6 V/K
Three Dimensional
- Multi-Component Solid
- Multi-Part Solid
- Steady
- Electromagnetism
- Electrodynamic Potential
- Segregated Solid Energy
- Constant Density
- Thermoelectricity
- Ohmic Heating
Defining Solid Components
Multi-Part Solid models require you to add the Solids component materials. Select three materials and
its Material properties as per the table given below. Rename material as Bismuth telluride (Bi2Te3) ,Copper
+ve and Copper -ve respectively.
PropertiesBi2Te3Copper +veCopper -ve
Density (kg/m^3)774089208920
Electrical Conductivity (S/m)1.1e55.96E85.96E8
Thermal Conductivity (W/m-K)1.6350350
Specific Heat (J/kg-K)154.4385.0385.0
Seebeck Coefficient (V/K)2.0E-46.5E-6-6.5E-6
Boundary Conditions:
•The bottom electrode surface is held at 0°C while the top electrode and the lateral surfaces are thermally insulated.
•The bottom electrode is electrically grounded at 0 V.
•The total inward electric current through the top electrode is 0.7 A.
•The lateral surfaces are electrically insulated.
The current circulating in the thermoelectric device is responsible for the cooling effect as sheen below in temperature field. A temperature difference of nearly ~61°C is achieved. 
• Electric Potential in the thermoelectric device. The voltage at the upper electrode is ~50 mV.                
• Electric field
• Temperature and Electric potential along the length of thermoelectric cooler (Line probe)
- A demo example of thermoelectric applications physics setup in Simcenter STAR-CCM+
- Simulation results compare well with published data.

To further improve the accuracy of prediction the same calculations can be made with temperature
dependent material properties. Or
If there is interest to explore further, simulation can be performed for different heat load at the cold side
to study the thermoelectric Peltier Effect.
- Fast convergence is greatly aided by using a very high value (>0.99999) of the under relaxation factor for energy.
- You are advised to use the HYPRE solver for Electric Potential, with an under relaxation factor of 1.
- Use of the built-in linear ramp for under relaxation factors is recommended.

KB Article ID# KB000073505_EN_US



Associated Components

Design Manager Electronics Cooling In-Cylinder (STAR-ICE) Job Manager Simcenter STAR-CCM+