Arduino Controlled Peltier Element

Filed Under: Arctic, Blog, Sketchbook
Arduino controlled Peltier Element

Following my foray into embroidery with ice I’ve been examing ways to prolong, or even halt, the lifespan of these works.

Maintaining a frozen work of art for the duration of an exhibition is something of a challenge. Many of the possibities that I’ve come across are extremely costly or require an inordinate amount of reources that are currently beyond my reach.

One avenue I’ve been exploring however, is the use of a Peltier Element (sometimes called a thermoelectric cooler). This is a solid-state active heat pump which transfers heat from one side of the device to the other.

Thermoelectric coolers operate by the Peltier effect (which also goes by the more general name thermoelectric effect). The device has two sides, and when DC electricity flows through the device, it brings heat from one side to the other, so that one side gets cooler while the other gets hotter. The “hot” side is attached to a heat sink so that it remains at ambient temperature, while the cool side goes below room temperature. In some applications, multiple coolers can be cascaded together for lower temperature.*

As you can see from the image above I’m using an Arduino Uno to control my Peltier Element. I’ve managed to get the element working by following this tutorial from GarageLab.

My next challenge will be to try and find an appropriate heat sink that will enable me to reduce the temperature of the peltier element enough to use it for cooling. The element that I’m using (pictured above) is very cheap and cheerful so I may need to invest in something a little more robust that will enable me to reach lower temperatures more effectively.

I’m very keen to crack this challenge as it will enable me to have full control over the exhibition of my ice embroideries.