General Description

The Computer Controlled Thermo-Electric Heat Pump, "TBTC", allows the study of different phenomena in which heat and electricity take place (Thermoelectricity).

Some of them are the Peltier effect, the Thomson or Lenz effect and the Seebeck effect. The application of the Peltier effect as a refrigeration method can also be studied.

We will be able to carry out with this unit the study and use of a Peltier element as a heat pump and for the refrigeration.

This thermoelectric heat pump consists of a thermoelectric cell or module mounted over two sides.

There is a heating element, computer controlled, covered by a thermally insulated conductor made of stainless steel, over the cold side of the module. A heatsink is located in the hot side of the module,it is composed of a heat exchanger and a fan placed inside an insulated box.

Different experimental configurations of the unit can be easily established through the activation of different switches.

The thermoelectric module is composed of two small semiconductor pieces, A and B, one of them of the n-type and the other one of the p-type. They are joined by one of their ends through a metallic joint or weld. If this joint is subjected to a heat source, keeping it at a high temperature meanwhile the rest is kept at a lower temperature, a small electromotive force is generated that produces an electric current in the circuit.

In a similar way, due to Peltier’s effect, if a current passes through the semiconductor joints circuit p-n and n-p, some of them heat up and other cool down, generating a temperature gradient among the plates.

The thermoelectric element consists of a variable number of joints placed electrically in series, but thermally in parallel.

The unit includes two temperature control sensors, situated in the heating element and in one side of the module.

This Computer Controlled Unit is supplied with the EDIBON Computer Control System (SCADA), and includes: The unit itself + a Control Interface Box + a Data Acquisition Board + Computer Control, Data Acquisition and Data Management Software Packages, for controlling the process and all parameters involved in the process.

Exercises and guided practices


  1. Investigation of the effects upon the surface temperature of either face of the module with increasing power supply (Peltier Effect).
  2. Investigation of the effect upon heat transfer of reversing the polarity of the power supply (Thomson or Lenz Effect).
  3. Investigation of the variation in open circuit voltage across the module due to the variation in surface temperature difference (Seebeck Effect).
  4. Estimation of the module's efficiency coefficient acting as refrigerator (COP).
  5. Sensors calibration


  1. Energy balance.

Other possibilities to be done with this Unit:

  1. Many students view results simultaneously. To view all results in real time in the classroom by means of a projector or an electronic whiteboard.
  2. Open Control, Multicontrol and Real Time Control. This unit allows intrinsically and/or extrinsically to change the span, gains, proportional, integral, derivative parameters, etc, in real time.
  3. The Computer Control System with SCADA and PID Control allow a real industrial simulation.
  4. This unit is totally safe as uses mechanical, electrical and electronic, and software safety devices.
  5. This unit can be used for doing applied research.
  6. This unit can be used for giving training courses to Industries even to other Technical Education Institutions.
  7. Control of the TBTC unit process through the control interface box without the computer.
  8. Visualization of all the sensors values used in the TBTC unit process.
  9. By using PLC-PI additional 19 more exercises can be done.
  10. Several other exercises can be done and designed by the user.