E3 Final Report Thermoelectric Energy Conversion

Roberto Dimaliwat, Galena Park High School, Galena Park ISD, PreAP Physics, Grades 11-12, 3
instructional days in January
E3 Final Report
Thermoelectric Energy Conversion
The classroom project is about Thermoelectric Energy Conversion, which involved some
lectures thru a power point presentation of the concept of thermoelectric conversion, what the
present applications are and how nanotechnology is being applied to improve the existing
devices (Peltier modules). It involves a laboratory exercises, post lab discussion and the pretest
and post test.
(First Day) - The pre test was conducted on the first day. It was rather difficult to follow the
suggestion that the pretest be given in September 2010, because I was not sure if I will have the
same roster of students for the second semester. The topic of energy is scheduled late
December and early January. I decided to give the pretest right before the project started.
After the pre test, I presented the concept using the power point presentation I used during the
summer session, skipping the more mathematical part of the presentation. I also introduced
the concept of nanotechnology and its present applications, the research efforts being done
now and how it will impact the future. I likewise discussed the roles of engineers in the
research and implementation process. Since a lot of my students are new to the fields of
engineering, I introduced briefly what engineers do and what types of engineering are now in
the industry. A brief discussion followed where the students verbalized their knowledge of
engineering and nanotechnology.
(Second Day) - On the second day, I had the equipment set up for 10 groups for the laboratory
exercise. In my smaller classes, I limited the groupings by pairs and in my bigger class; they
were grouped in three’s. The set up for each group involved a peltier module, 2 thermometers,
2 medium to large beaker (600ml), two aluminum plates, wires, a large clip to hold the plates
and module and a voltmeter (multitester). The laboratory handout was condensed to a page
and the students were to make their own tables and do their graphs. This is good for them to
find out how to be resourceful.
The lab took about 30 minutes to complete and the rest of the period was spent in answering
the post lab questions.
Roberto Dimaliwat, Galena Park High School, Galena Park ISD, PreAP Physics, Grades 11-12, 3
instructional days in January
(Third Day) - Some groups finished the lab and post lab but some were not so we had to
continue the exercises on the third day. After the lab and post lab were done, I gave them the
post test. It took the rest of the period to finish everything including a short summary
discussion of the activity.
The project went well except for some changes I had to do on the laboratory exercise. Part A
was deleted completely and Part C was done as a class demonstration.
Part A of the lab is where the module assembly is to be connected to a motor with a small fan
and the aluminum plates dipped in ice water and hot water. It was expected that the fan will
rotate. During the summer, I tried the lab myself but I think the module that I got was not
powerful enough to get the motor turn. I was thinking that maybe I can get some additional
funds from my school to buy better peltier modules but it did not happen. We have a new
administration and it’s just difficult to get funding for this activity. I decided to scrap Part A and
just start with Part B. The voltage readings the students got in all the groups in all my classes for
different temperature differences were really good. They were consistent that some students
didn’t have to graph them to see the trend. The time allotted for the lab was also just right. I
had them get 4 sets of data; one with both beakers having tap water and it was very clear that
there is very minimal voltage produced across the module. Then they had tap water, and the
other beaker was filled with ice water; then ice water and warm water; the very hot water and
ice water. What I did was to have a hot plate shared by two groups and have hot water being
heated continuously so as to save time; that is instead of waiting for the water to boil. Having
pairs as groups is perfect. Next time I do this, I will try to get another 5 sets (about $300) so as I
can have my bigger classes do it in pairs also.
The students enjoyed the laboratory exercise. They were all engaged and learning. I will include
some pictures I took with this report.
Part C turned out to be a demonstration to show that process is reversible instead of them
designing the experiment themselves since we didn’t have time to do that part. During post lab
discussion the students came up with the set up on how to do the reverse process and we did a
class demonstration. The results were also really good. One side of the module turned really
hot and the other side was very cold when we applied a voltage on the leads of the module.
Applications of the module was discussed during the post lab discussion so with the possible
future applications of the technology and other nanotech applications.
The only sad part is since we run out of time; I had to do all cleaning and keeping the
equipment back to their shelves.
Roberto Dimaliwat, Galena Park High School, Galena Park ISD, PreAP Physics, Grades 11-12, 3
instructional days in January
The Class Project went well. The pre lab power point presentation was understood well by the
students. The laboratory exercise was okay, having been able to finish only Part B of the lab.
It would have been great if we had some better peltier modules but as far as the students
getting great data/results, it was a successful experiment.
What improvements would I make?
Try to get better peltier modules so I can include Part A of the laboratory exercise.
Plan to have at least 4 days to do the whole activity. I was only allowed three days this
time since we have some topics I need to cover to make sure the students pass their
district tests.
Do Part C as part of the laboratory exercise instead of having it as a class demonstration
Try to get additional 5 sets of equipment so I can have the students work I pairs instead
of the bigger groups.
Extend the lesson to more discussions on nanotechnology applications and researches
that are being done in the industry now and how these will affect the future.