1992-08-03

Design and Testing of a Thermoelectric Heat Pump for Temperature Control of a Bubble Dosimeter 929205

The U.S. Navy is currently seeking an accurate and convenient method of measuring neutron radiation. One such method currently being investigated at the U.S. Naval Academy is the bubble dosimeter. In a bubble dosimeter, radiation induces small droplets of a superheated liquid suspended in a gel to grow into a visible bubble. Radiation dose is then determined by counting the number of bubbles formed. Unfortunately, the sensitivity of the bubble dosimeter increases with temperature. Thus in order to obtain accurate readings, the bubble dosimeter must be maintained at a constant temperature.
A feasibility study has shown that a small battery powered thermoelectric heat pump could be used to maintain the dosimeter at a near constant temperature for environment temperatures ranging from 0°C to 50°C. The current study deals with the design and optimization of the thermoelectric heat pump system. A small prototype heat pump has been constructed for proof of concept and to validate a computer spreadsheet model that was developed for system optimization. This paper describes the design of the prototype heat pump and presents the results of performance tests conducted with the prototype.

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