As the demand of computer processing grows, the burden placed on CPUs will increase as well. Computing systems produce heat, which is attracted to a metal heatsink where it is dissipated out of the system by a fan. Liquid cooling can be more effective, but is more expensive and increases the risk of damaging leaks. Peltier chips, electronic components which transfer heat into electricity, can be used in an effort to reclaim and reuse some of this waste heat. This experiment tested twelve heatsinks of various designs to maximize the effect of the Peltier chip. Variations in designs of the heatsinks allowed for inspection of designs which are not commonly seen in computer heatsinks to evaluate previously untested heatsink designs for use with Peltier chips. Coupled with collected data, this allowed for inspection of both quantitative and qualitative factors which govern the magnitude of the output voltage from the Peltier chip. In addition, five configurations of the heatsink, Peltier chip, and fan were tested, searching for arrangements that yield higher voltages at the lowest possible temperatures. Data showed that while voltages can be increased by various methods, the same methods have costs which render their widespread use unrealistic. Heatsinks should be redesigned to accommodate Peltier chips and avoid wasted energy. Improvements in heatsink designs were proposed which may help increase the output voltage.
Choquette, Matthew and Ranstrom, Dillon
"Feasibility of Peltier Chips as Thermoelectric Generators on Heatsinks,"
Augsburg Honors Review: Vol. 11
, Article 7.
Available at: https://idun.augsburg.edu/honors_review/vol11/iss1/7