For applications such as cooling of electronic devices, it is a common practice to sandwich the thermoelectric module between an integrated chip and a heat exchanger, with the cold side of the module attached to the chip. This configuration results thermal contact resistances in series between the chip, module, and heat exchanger. In this paper, an appraisal of thermal augmentation of thermoelectric module using nanofluid-based heat exchanger is presented. The system under consideration uses commercially available thermoelectric module, 27nm Al2O3 - H2O nanofluid, and a heat source to replicate the chip. The volume fraction of nanofluid is varied between 0 to 2%. At optimum input current conditions, experimental simulations were performed to measure the transient and steady-state thermal response of the module to imposed isoflux conditions. Data collected from the nanofluid-based exchanger is compared with that of deionized water. Results show that there exist a lag-time in thermal response between the module and the heat exchanger. This is attributed to thermal contact resistance between the two components. A comparison of nanofluid and deionized water data reveals that the temperature difference between the hot- and cold-side, ΔT = ThTc ≈ 0, is almost zero for nanofluid whereas ΔT > 0 for water. When ΔT ≈ 0, the contribution of Fourier effect to the overall heating is approximately zero hence enhancing the module cooling capacity. Experimental evidence further shows that temperature gradient across the thermal paste that bonds the chip and heat exchanger is much lower for the nanofluid than for deionized water. Low temperature gradient results in low resistance to the flow of heat across the thermal paste. The average thermal contact resistance, R = ΔT/Q, is 0.18 and 0.12 °C/W, respectively for the deionized-water and nanofluid. For the range of optimum current, 1.2 ≤ current ≤ 4.1Amp, considered in this study, the COP ranges between 1.96 and 0.68.

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