Jean Charles Athanase Peltier

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Jean Charles Athanase Peltier
Jean Charles Athanase Peltier.jpg
Born22 February 1785
Died27 October 1845 (1845-10-28) (aged 60)
Known forPeltier effect
Peltier electrometer

Jean Charles Athanase Peltier[1] (/ˈpɛlti/;[2] French: [pɛltje]; 22 February 1785 – 27 October 1845) was a French physicist. He was originally a watch dealer, but at the age of 30 began experiments and observations in physics.

Peltier was the author of numerous papers in different departments of physics. His name is specially associated with the thermal effects at junctions in a voltaic circuit, [3] the Peltier effect. Peltier introduced the concept of electrostatic induction (1840), based on the modification of the distribution of electric charge in a material under the influence of a second object closest to it and its own electrical charge.


Peltier trained as a watchmaker; until his 30s was a watch dealer. Peltier worked with Abraham Louis Breguet in Paris. Later, he worked with various experiments on electrodynamics and noticed that in an electronic element when current flows through, a temperature gradient or temperature difference is generated at a current flow. In 1836 he published his work and in 1838 his findings were confirmed by Emil Lenz. Peltier dealt with topics from the atmospheric electricity and meteorology. In 1840, he published a work on the causes of hurricanes.

Peltier's numerous papers are devoted in great part to atmospheric electricity, waterspouts, cyanometry and polarization of sky-light, the temperature of water in the spheroidal state, and the boiling-point at high elevations. There are also a few devoted to curious points of natural history. His name will always be associated with the thermal effects at junctions in a voltaic circuit, a discovery of importance comparable with those of Seebeck and Cumming.[4]

Peltier discovered the calorific effect of electric current passing through the junction of two different metals. This is now called the Peltier effect[5] (or Peltier–Seebeck effect). By switching the direction of current, either heating or cooling may be achieved. Junctions always come in pairs, as the two different metals are joined at two points. Thus heat will be moved from one junction to the other.

Peltier effect[edit]

The Peltier effect is the presence of heating or cooling at an electrified junction of two different conductors (1834).[6] His great experimental discovery was the heating or cooling of the junctions in a heterogeneous circuit of metals according to the direction in which an electric current is made to pass round the circuit. This reversible effect is proportional directly to the strength of the current, not to its square, as is the irreversible generation of heat due to resistance in all parts of the circuit. It is found that, if a current pass from an external source through a circuit of two metals, it cools one junction and heats the other. It cools the junction if it be in the same direction as the thermoelectric current which would be caused by directly heating that junction. In other words, the passage of a current from an external source produces in the junctions of the circuit a distribution of temperature which leads to the weakening of the current by the superposition of a thermo-electric current running in the opposite direction.[4]

When electromotive current is made to flow through an electronic junction between two conductors (A and B), heat is removed[7] at the junction. To make a typical pump, multiple junctions are created between two plates. One side heats and the other side cools. A dissipation device is attached to the hot side to maintain cooling effect on the cold side.[8] Typically, the use of the Peltier effect as a heat pump device involves multiple junctions in series, through which a current is driven. Some of the junctions lose heat due to the Peltier effect, while others gain heat. Thermoelectric pumps exploit this phenomenon, as do thermoelectric cooling Peltier modules found in refrigerators.[9]

The Peltier effect generated at the junction per unit time, , is equal to


() is the Peltier coefficient[10][11] of conductor A (conductor B), and
is the electric current (from A to B).

Note: Total heat generated at the junction is not determined by the Peltier effect alone, being influenced by Joule heating and thermal gradient effects.

The Peltier coefficients[10][11] represent how much heat is carried per unit charge. With charge current continuous across a junction, the associated heat flow will develop a discontinuity if and are different.

The Peltier effect can be considered as the back-action counterpart to the Seebeck effect (analogous to the back-emf in magnetic induction[12]): if a simple thermoelectric circuit is closed then the Seebeck effect will drive a current, which in turn (via the Peltier effect) will always transfer heat from the hot to the cold junction.

The true importance of this "Peltier effect" in the explanation of thermoelectric currents was first clearly pointed out by James Prescott Joule; and Sir William Thomson[13] further extended the subject by showing, both theoretically and experimentally, that there is something closely analogous to the Peltier effect when the heterogeneity is due, not to difference of quality of matter, but to difference of temperature in contiguous portions of the same material. Shortly after Peltier's discovery was published, Lenz used the effect to freeze small quantities of water by the cold developed in a bismuth-antimony junction when a voltaic current was passed through the metals in the order named.[4]

See also[edit]

Voltaic Electricity
Magnetic alterations, magnetic saturation, southern magnetic axis, tensions, coercion, contact, induce (induced current), magnetic event, metal changes, neighboring electric current, electrical polarity, electrical phenomenon, biasing (grid bias, AC bias), positive charge and electrical polarity (polarity (mutual inductance)), repulsion
Electrical conductor, electrical conduction, fast ion conductor, conduction (heat)
Condensation (condensation cloud, condensation reaction), tion through vapor (action through vapor), evaporation, fog
Antoine César Becquerel
Leyden jar, Influence machine (electrostatic influence),
Atoms and atomic spheres (kissing number problem), state of matter (chemical state), particles (neutral particle), glazed zinc (Zinc oxide), maghemite, awaruite, oxygen, liquids, ponderable matter, pole figure, chemical polarity, molecular substance, copper-antimony (copper, antimony, alloys list), germanium
Power (physics), electric power, power in an alternating current electrics, transmitter output, effective radiated power, power spectral density signal
Reaction, chemical heat, cohesion, combination, complete, concordance (concordance correlation coefficient), vitreous body, crystal electricity, electric charge, field of view, zone (crystallography), affinity laws (electron affinity, chemical affinity), equilibrium and dynamics (diffusiophoresis), St. Elmo's fire, waves, luminescence (luminance, luminosity), aethereal movements, phys and portion of the aether (quantity of aether rays/aethereal spheres), aethereal glut, nervous system (sense), order of phenomena (critical phenomena, strongly correlated material), will, statistical bias (biased sample, estimator bias), projection spread, quantity of electricity, sphere to another sphere (celestial spheres, esoteric plane), meridian arc (meridian (astronomy), meridian (geography)), resulting segments (gnomonic projection)


Listed by date


References and notes[edit]

  1. ^ Catalogue of the Wheeler gift of books, Volume 2. By American Institute of Electrical Engineers. Library, Latimer Clark, Schuyler Skaats Wheeler, Andrew Carnegie, William Dixon Weaver, Engineering Societies Library, Joseph Plass
  2. ^ "Peltier effect". Random House Webster's Unabridged Dictionary.
  3. ^ A Handy Book of Reference on All Subjects and for All Readers, Volume 6. Edited by Ainsworth Rand Spofford, Charles Annandale. Gebbie publishing Company, limited, 1900. p341 (ed., also Gebbie, 1902 version, p341
  4. ^ a b c The New Werner Twentieth Century Edition of the Encyclopædia Britannica: A Standard Work of Reference in Art, Literature, Science, History, Geography, Commerce, Biography, Discovery and Invention, Volume 18. Werner Company, 1907. p491
  5. ^ Contemporarily, known as the thermoelectric effect.
  6. ^ Peltier (1834) "Nouvelles expériences sur la caloricité des courants électrique" (New experiments on the heat effects of electric currents), Annales de Chimie et de Physique, 56 : 371-386.
  7. ^ or generated
  8. ^ This is usually a heatsink and fan assembly.
  9. ^ The Peltier effect, where current is forced through a junction of two different metals, also forms the basis of the small 12/24 volt vehicular HVAC systems. It forms the basis of the relatively costly, but stable, junction heated soldering irons. It is used for spot cooling of certain integrated circuits.
  10. ^ a b Yu. A. Skripnik, A. I. Khimicheva. Methods and devices for measuring the Peltier coefficient of an inhomogeneous electric circuit. Measurement Techniques July 1997, Volume 40, Issue 7, pp 673-677
  11. ^ a b See also: Constant current source with thermal compensation
  12. ^ The magnetic field B is sometimes called magnetic induction.
  13. ^ Mathematical and physical papers, by Sir William Thomson. Collected from different scientific periodicals from May, 1841, to the present time. Kelvin, William Thomson, Baron, 1824-1907., Larmor, Joseph, 1857-, Joule, James Prescott, 1818-1889. vol. viii. p. 90
  14. ^ Also contains the papers of: Achille Barbier, Edouard Ernest Blavier, Hippolyte Marié-Davy, comte Th Du Moncel, François Victor Périn, Karl Albert Holmgren, B. Galletti, A. Jounin, Achille Cazin, Emil Kopp, Breton frères
  15. ^ Tr. Observations on a new species of floscularia
  16. ^ Tr. Notice of the main facts and new instruments (laboratory equipment) added to the science of electricity.
  17. ^ Tr. Notice key facts added to the science of Electricity
  18. ^ Tr. Observations on multipliers and on thermo-electric batteries
  19. ^ Tr. Memory training tables reports that between the strength of an electric current and the deflection of needles multipliciateurs: follow-up research on the causes of disruption of thermocouples and how to ensure in their job measuring average temperatures
  20. ^ Tr. Memory on the various species of mist
  21. ^ Tr. Meteorology: Observations and experimental research on the causes that contribute to the formation of tornadoes.
  22. ^ Tr. General considerations on the ether, followed by instructions on shooting stars
  23. ^ Tr. Essay on the coordination of the above causes, produce and accompany electrical phenomena
  24. ^ Tr. Observations in the Alps on the boiling temperature of water.
  25. ^ Tr. Letter to the cause of differences between the results of the experiments of MM. Bravais and Peltier on the temperature of boiling water and the results of experiments cabinet.
  26. ^ institut. 22 avril 1844. (Comptes-rendus, vol. 18, p. 768.)
  27. ^ Tr. Research on the cause of variations in atmospheric pressure.
  28. ^ Tr. The cyanométrie and air polarimetry: or user of the additions and changes made to the cyano-polariscope of M. Arago, to make cyano-polarimeter in the observation of all points of the sky.
  29. ^ Tr. Notice of galvanism
  30. ^ Tr. Notice on the fluid forces (hydrometeorology), and lightning
  31. ^ Tr. Notice on the life and scientific work
  32. ^ Tr. Notice of the main facts and new instruments added to the science of Electricity by Mr. Peltier
  33. ^ Tr. Memoirs of electricity vapor on atmospheric electricity and waterspouts
  34. ^ Power Meteorology: Part One