College of Engineering
Mechanical Engineering Department
BS in Mechanical Engineering
This project created a versatile thermoelectric refrigerator that can be used via a wall outlet. The product is durable and effective. The refrigerator is functional in any ambient temperature, and uses thermoelectric cooling, and work from a standard 120V power outlet. By understanding existing products’ limitations and strengths, this project produced a product that outperforms what’s currently on the market. Many of the existing products’ operating temperature is dependent on the ambient temperature of the surroundings, which is a large drawback. Additionally, most of them take a long time to reach their lowest temperature, around 3 hours. One team member, Josh DiMaggio, did research with the Cal Poly Physics department over the Summer of 2017 on the effectiveness of Peltier devices in refrigeration. Josh discovered that when Peltiers are thermally in series they can create a much larger temperature difference. A Peltier is a thermoelectric cooling device, therefore satisfying the design requirement. Key design challenges included the following: heat transfer through the insulation, power draw, thermodynamic efficiency, structure strength, intuitive interface, along with other crucial factors. Following design, the refrigerator was built, tested, and the preliminary analysis was validated against the test results. There are plenty of existing patents regarding thermoelectric cooling, but only a few like what this project achieved. The final design is presented in this document.