The Peltier Effect
Thermoelectric refrigerators get their power from the Peltier Effect. When electricity flows between two different metals, it generates a temperature difference, cooling one and heating the other. Thermoelectric refrigerators take advantage of this effect with a thermopile--essentially a stack of different pieces of metal attached together. One end of the thermopile gets very hot and the other end gets quite cold.
Cooling the Refrigerator
The cold end of the thermopile is inside the refrigerator, while the hot end is outside. Each end is attached to a heat sink, which helps to distribute the cooling and get rid of waste heat. The heat on the outside radiates into the air, while the cool inside end chills the heat sink, sucking heat out of the refrigerator and chilling the food inside. The entire thermo refrigerator is very well insulated, which prevents heat from leaking in from the outside.
Uses of Thermoelectric Refrigerators
Thermoelectric refrigerators are less energy efficient than normal fridges. The big advantage they have is portability and convenience. Thermo refrigerators have no heavy, bulky pumps, which makes them more durable and easier to move around. As a result, thermoelectric cooling is often used for small coolers , which need to be easy to carry.
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