There is a need to remove heat from compact spaces (on the order of inches on a side) in a variety of cooling applications.Ã‚Â Some examples include power electronics, transformers, base stations in cellular communications, automotive electronics, portable and wearable electronics, electric vehicle batteries, power distribution systems in computers, military electronics and avionics, and food processing.Ã‚Â In most cases, the use of sophisticated cooling techniques (externally simple, yet highly engineered internally) is a must in view of the space and performance constraints imposed. Even when compactness is not the primary concern, use of these techniques can lead to large gains in efficiency and performance improvements.
In many ways, Moore's Law -- the famous prediction by Gordon Moore, co-founder of chip manufacturer Intel that microprocessor complexity will grow exponentially without an increase in price -- has held for four decades. But that complexity has come with a hidden "cost": heat.
Ã‚Â Packing more and more components and circuits onto a chip requires more electrical power to run it. And most of that power turns into heat, so that the latest chips can quickly exceed 100 degrees Centigrade, if not properly cooled. Overheated chips don't work reliably, possibly leading to computer crashes, mangled files, graphical glitches, and even permanent damage. There is a great demand for compact, cost-effective cooling solutions. One potential solution to this growing problem is more commonly associated with nuclear reactors: liquid metal cooling. Spearheaded by NanoCoolers, a startup in Austin, TX, the technology takes advantage of an unusual compound of metals that remains liquid at room temperature. This technology is one among a number of new and promising cooling solutions that are being proposed and pursued lately.
One potential solution to this growing problem is more commonly associated with nuclear reactors: liquid metal cooling.
Thermal challenges are now widely recognized as being key barriers to industryâ„¢s ability to provide continued improvements in device and system performance. No doubt, current performance capabilities have advanced to previously unimaginable levels. The increased performance, however, has clearly come at a priceâ€the urgent need for smaller, more capable and more efficient ways to transport and remove the heat. At a time when thermal issues are actually disrupting product development plans, a number of innovative technologies are emerging at research labs and new business start-ups around the world that have potential to solve the vexing problem of device and package-level cooling and thermal management. Whether for cell phones, laptops, servers, high-brightness LEDs, laser diodes, RF components, MEMS, power semiconductors, or other similar applications, these new materials and technologies for active and passive cooling promise integrable and cost-effective thermal management solutions. Attend this conference to learn from leading technologists and executives who will provide insights into todayâ„¢s most significant advances in thermal management materials and systems for both active and passive cooling. Understanding these technologies, especially in the context of competing solutions and end-user needs, will provide key insight for R&D planning, product development, and commercialization effortsâ€for those who are driven to provide the next generation of electronic, photonic, and other integrated multifunctional products.
HOT GETS HOTTER
As transistor sizes continue to decrease, chip manufacturers pack even more on to the processor. In 1992, a 486/DX2 66 MHz CPU consumed about 7W of power (with 1.2 million transistors). It didn't even require a cooling fan. In 2003, the Itanium II debuting at 1GHz, used up to 130WÃ‚Â (with 220 million transistors). By 2006, processors could be in the 6GHz range. The problem is getting so serious that last year Intel canceled a high-speed-CPU project, in part because it found no practical way to cool down the energy-consuming chips.
Major processor and video card manufacturers have been devising water-based concepts for years, anticipating the point when air cooling would simply reach its limit.
Heat is one of those conditions that makes it difficult for anything to operate at peak efficiency. If you've ever parked your car by the side of the road while steam rolled out of the radiator, you know what we're saying. It's also one of those rare conditions that can make you sluggish and tired on a stifling summer day, yet it also can make you uncomfortable and restless while trying to sleep during the evening.
Your computer's components don't function in excessive heat any better than you do. Many components in your computer generate heat. With millions or billions of electrical pulses running through it per second, the microprocessor generates an incredible amount of heat, and manufacturers long have included a heat sink and a fan as part of the CPU's cooling package. If the cooling technologies fail and the CPU's temperature exceeds its safe operational range, you can expect to see random system error messages, system lockups, program error messages, and unexpected reboots. Extended use under high temperatures can lead to CPU failure or destruction.
In addition, if you're engaging in CPU over clocking, you'll probably experience additional heating problems inside the CPU. Regardless of where the heat comes from, the system needs to move it away from the CPU and outside the computer case. That's where the latest and greatest cooling technologies come in: They can battle the evils of excessive heat and keep your computer running at tip-top performance (that's the good part of the battle).
All CPUs require a heat sink and fan assembly for proper operation, and to avoid premature failure from overheating. Boxed products usually include this assembly.