Steampipe keeps electronics cool

December 4, 2008,
Diagram of cooling system with air injected directly from below.

(PhysOrg.com) -- The cooling of electronic components is playing an increasing role in the design process of electronic equipment such as mobile telephones, games computers and laptops. Wessel Wits, PhD student at the University of Twente, has developed two innovative concepts for cooling such devices. Patents for both concepts are pending. Wits will be awarded his doctorate on 4 December at the faculty of Engineering Technology.

Electronic components on the printed circuit boards used in electrical devices are becoming smaller and smaller, whilst their performances (must) improve. This means that more heat is released on a continually shrinking surface area.

Diagram of the integrated two-phase heat transport mechanism.

Industry is currently facing two problems in the cooling of electronics: the components on a printed circuit board are so close to one another that there is hardly any room left to cool them individually and the components themselves release so much concentrated heat that the cooling capacity is not strong enough to cool them. Wits looked for solutions to these two problems. In cooperation with Thales Nederland, a company that specializes in developing radar systems, he has developed two new concepts. The first concept cools using air, the second is a closed evaporation system.

Air cooling

The first concept – directly injected cooling – is based on air cooling. Small openings are made on the bottom of the printed circuit board under the electronic components. These ‘inflow openings’ cool the components directly from below. The big advantage of this concept is that it can cool various components independently of one another or simultaneously.

Closed evaporation system

The second concept – integrated heat pipe cooling – is based on the evaporation of liquid in a closed system. This liquid is located in the so-called ‘heat pipe’, a principle that is well-known but that had never been fully integrated in a printed circuit board until now. The liquid evaporates from a capillary structure at the spot where the heat is released. The evaporation withdraws heat locally from the environment. The vapour subsequently flows through the ‘heat pipe’ and condenses at some distance from the electrical component to be cooled. The latent heat is once again converted to perceptible heat at this site. This concept stands out because it is able to transport heat highly efficiently, without a pump or other external energy source.

Compared with current cooling systems, both concepts show promising results in terms of good thermal performance and great flexibility. They also lead to a lighter, compacter electronic product. No new production techniques will have to be developed in order to incorporate these concepts in current printed circuit boards. As a result, time can be gained during production and considerable cost savings will be possible.

Provided by University of Twente

Explore further: Could holey silicon be the holy grail of electronics?

Related Stories

Could holey silicon be the holy grail of electronics?

April 13, 2018

Electronics miniaturization has put high-powered computing capability into the hands of ordinary people, but the ongoing downsizing of integrated circuits is challenging engineers to come up with new ways to thwart component ...

Aiming at a target: the science of particle production

April 11, 2018

For some, a target is part of a game of darts. For others, it's a retail chain. In particle physics, it's the site of an intense, complex environment that plays a crucial role in generating the universe's smallest components ...

The fight for clean emissions continues

April 10, 2018

It is exactly 20 years since experts from Empa and VERT published the first test results on diesel particle filters. Today, more than 300 million vehicles worldwide are fitted with such filters. However, a VERT conference ...

How to cool a smartphone

April 4, 2018

NUST MISIS scientists have developed composites that conduct heat many times better than their counterparts and are even subject to simple and cheap processing. By using the newly obtained technology in modern electronics, ...

Robot-mounted vacuum grippers flex their artificial muscles

March 26, 2018

A short electric pulse is all it takes to generate and release a powerful vacuum in the blink of an eye. The novel vacuum gripper developed by the research team led by Professor Stefan Seelecke at Saarland University enables ...

Recommended for you

Virtually modelling the human brain in a computer

April 19, 2018

Neurons that remain active even after the triggering stimulus has been silenced form the basis of short-term memory. The brain uses rhythmically active neurons to combine larger groups of neurons into functional units. Until ...

'Poker face' stripped away by new-age tech

April 14, 2018

Dolby Laboratories chief scientist Poppy Crum tells of a fast-coming time when technology will see right through people no matter how hard they try to hide their feelings.

6 comments

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

earls
not rated yet Dec 04, 2008
If only the could be designed to not generate heat in the first place. :(
Arikin
not rated yet Dec 04, 2008
No heat from components that push electricity through them... :-)

You would have to try something like fiber-optics for all components. Can't remember how far light based logic gates have come recently (especially in size).
earls
not rated yet Dec 05, 2008
Yes, optics, although there may be a heat cap on those, especially as they shrink, or superconduction. Neither of which has progressed far enough to be the silver bullet. :(

However, there is promise in spintronics, which is a rapidly developing field. Forgoes electricity for magnetics!
superhuman
not rated yet Dec 05, 2008
No new production techniques will have to be developed in order to incorporate these concepts in current printed circuit boards.


Embedding hot liquid channels in printed boards certainly calls for a new technology and will add to the costs.
h1ghj3sus
1 / 5 (1) Dec 05, 2008
Tesla's wireless electrical transmission of energy doesn't produce heat and there is much less resistance (no wires).
earls
not rated yet Dec 05, 2008
"New Scientist reports that the first working superconducting transistor has been created, by researchers at the University of Geneva. Field effect transistors with zero electrical resistance would allow much faster operations. Only drawback is they need to be supercooled, something that may be addressed by improving the materials used."

Hah!

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.