Table of Contents
Thermo-Electric Module Test Stand
The creation of this project was motivated by Dr. Robert Stevens' interest in microscale heat transfer, and Mechanical Engineering Department's desire to develop and cultivate internal talent with regards to thermoelectric technology. Thermoelectric technology is not new; however, the field has received relatively less research exposure compared to related concentrations in Mechanical Engineering. Most existing research in this area is related to rating the performance of materials used in thermoelectric modules, engineering new thermoelectric materials, or testing individual modules. This project is interested in creating a thermoelectric test stand to reliably and fully characterize the performance of 10 commercially available thermoelectric modules. This means the performance of each module will be measured and compared over their operating range. Additionally, the construction of the test stand will be fully documented and will be used as reference material by future senior design teams, for forthcoming projects in this family.
|Team Member||Discipline||Role / Skills||Email Address|
|Dr. Robert Stevens||ME||Faculty Guidefirstname.lastname@example.org|
|Crisson Jno-Charles||ME||Project Manageremail@example.com|
|Clement Henry||ME||Structural analysis, Engineering drafting firstname.lastname@example.org|
|Erik Herrman||EE||Data Acquisition, LabVIEWemail@example.com|
|Kevin Smith||ME||Thermofluids modeling and firstname.lastname@example.org|
A Project Readiness Package has been prepared prior to the launch of this project. This PRP is intended to help get the team started with a first draft needs assessment and work breakdown structure.
This outline for the posting of team created documents follows the general product development process presented in the textbook Product Design and Development by Ulrich and Eppinger.Senior Design II
These links provide a basic starting point for your team to prepare a comprehensive web site about your project.
System Level Design
The system's design was slightly modified after the Design Review to incorporate suggestions from the panel and correct mistakes. The team entered the Design Review with a cooling system requiring a connection to the RIT water system. An electrically controlled valve metered the amount of water flowing through the cooling system. The flow rate of the water was deemed to be high enough to provide adequate cooling for the anticipated heat load; however, the panel indicated that relying upon an electrically controlled valve would not provide sufficient control over the cooling system's temperature.
With this being the case, the team reverted to an older, more complicated idea of including a tank-fed pump controlling water circulating through the cooling system. Heat would be dissipated through a radiator attached to the cooling system. While this solution increases the cost of this part of the project, it also significantly increases controllability and repeatability.
Manufacturing & Assembly
The test stand will be manufactured over the following 8 weeks of Senior Design II. The test stand assembly is separated into three related sections: structural and mechanical assembly, electrical components and system controls, and LabVIEW data acquisition and software control. Each stage will progress concurrently with different team members sharing responsibility within each section.
Return to this section over the coming weeks for manufacturing logs and pictures of team progress.
Pictures of the final test stand are displayed below:
Testing and Refinement
The test stand and the software controlling its operation underwent significant refinement throughout the previous two months.
The DAQ system experienced significant development throughout the previous two months. The GUI for the DAQ was changed to separate different types of information, incorporating separate configuration, graphical display, and parameter output tabs. The result is a much more intuitive organization. The DAQ provides information about the temperature at various points within the heating block, the temperature of the cold plate, and current and voltage output produced from the thermoelectric generators. Additionally, safety parameters such as a maximum safety temperature are visually represented.
- The current Firerod heaters installed in the heater may be replaced with higher quality heaters capable of withstanding higher temperatures.
- A more robust mounting system for thermoelectric devices must be developed. The current system does not eliminate variation in placement of the TEG for each test.
- The cooling system is not fully developed. The flow rate of the cooling fluid is currently controlled by a manually actuated valve.
- Thermocouples should be mounted at the inlet and outlet of the cold plate to exactly determine the amount of energy carried away by the cooling fluid.
- Acquire rheostats or potentiometers whose resistance matches the internal resistance of the TEGs on hand.