Numerical modelling and experimental validation of a regenerative electrocaloric cooler
The article was publishe in the International Journal of Refrigeration (link)
This paper reports on the research and development of a cooling device with an active electrocaloric regenerator (AER) based on the bulk ceramic material (1-x)Pb(Mg1/3Nb2/3)O3–xPbTiO3 (PMN-100xPT). For the purposes of the study a 2D transient numerical model of the AER was developed. This model makes it possible to investigate the cooling characteristics of a device with an AER while considering the effect of the hysteresis of the electrocaloric material and the effect of the electric-energy recovery related to the polarization/depolarization process. The results of the numerical analyses show that the degree of electric energy recovery has a major impact on the efficiency of the device. By considering an idealised system for electric-energy recovery the energy efficiency (expressed by the coefficient of performance) of the device could be increased by up to ten times. A validation of the numerical model was performed through the design, construction and experiments on an improved AER cooling device. The results revealed a maximum specific cooling power of 16 W kg−1 and a maximum temperature span of 3.1 K for the new device.