Date of Award


Document Type

Thesis - SCU Access Only


Santa Clara: Santa Clara University, 2015.


Mechanical Engineering

First Advisor

Hohyun Lee


The goal of this project was to design and build a portable Backpack Cooler for developing areas using thermoelectric modules as the cooling mechanism and solar panels as the home charging mechanism. When in use outside the home, the Backpack Cooler will run on a 12V battery. This cooler will allow off-grid consumers to preserve perishable food items, decreasing the likelihood of consuming spoiled food. This design project involved the analysis of the thermal resistance of the insulation, the testing of the thermoelectric modules with a heat pipe and heat sink, the creation of a temperature controller to ensure that the cooler remains at the proper cooling temperature range of 1.5-4°C, and the analysis of the power system in order to effectively power the thermoelectric modules. Three different prototypes were created and tested, and we were able to achieve the desired temperature range with as little as 34W of power. Through testing, the number and location of the internal heat sinks greatly affected the power consumption and cooling performance of the Backpack Cooler. In the future, custom heat sinks and insulation materials with a lower thermal conductivity could better improve the performance.