Engineers often must remove heat from electronic or mechanical components. Passive heat sinks or even liquid cooling come to mind, but thermoelectric modules also can play a role in heat transfer. These types of modules rely on the Peltier effect, also called the Peltier-Seebeck effect, or the Seebeck-Peltier effect. (The order might depend on whether you write from France or Germany.)
Even if you’re only mildly interested in cooling technologies, I recommend you take a look at the revised “Thermoelectric Handbook” published by Laird Technologies, which–surprise–manufacturer these modules. But, the handbook is not a sales document and it provides helpful design and technology information in its 20 pages. (Yes, one page described the company’s modules.) You will find the free handbook at: www.lairdtech.com/temhandbook. The handbook is available only online, but you can download it in only a few seconds. As of February 2010, it exists only in the English language.
According to Laird, “The handbook focuses on TEMs [thermoelectric modules] and provides in-depth insight into understanding the basic structure and function of TEMs, parameters required for device selection, assembly tips for mounting TEMs onto heat exchangers, and available temperature control options.”
The book also discusses TEM construction, function, operation limit, correct mounting procedures and hardware selection and provides information about protection against condensation and temperature controller. You’ll also find heat transfer formulas and a table of thermal properties of materials. It looks like a good reference. –Jon Titus