Passive Thermal Mitigation for Electronics

Passive Thermal Mitigation for Electronics

Docket: UAH-P-10008

Technology

One of the most significant obstacles for modern electronics is the inefficient removal of heat generated by its components. Transferring large heat fluxes while maintaining temperature within operating limits is the greatest challenge found in the design of advanced integrated circuits (ICs), supercomputers, and many military and aerospace electronics. Traditional methods include passive cooling using air, which is not sufficient for large power supplies and high duty cycles, and active cooling using water, methanol, or ethanol. Unfortunately, these fluids pose explosive and toxic hazards and can damage the circuit if leaked.

Researchers at UAH have developed a method for Passive Immersion Cooling (PIC) that utilizes dielectric fluids in direct contact with electronic components. By using dielectric fluids with desired boiling points and high heat capacities, this method is able to remove significantly more heat at lower temperatures than previous methods. In one circuit orientation, the fluid flows into a cover housing a hot integrated circuit, removes heat from the circuit as it vaporizes, and flows out to a heat sink, where it re-condenses and cools before flowing over the circuit again.

This technology is useful for reducing power consumption in electronics and sparing material resources used to make traditional cooling devices such as heat sinks and fans. Since dielectric fluids are compatible with sensitive materials like metals and plastics, this method removes significantly more heat than currently used fluids without endangering the circuit components. A video of the prototype demonstration can be seen online at YouTube

Applications

  • Computers
  • Integrated circuits
  • Military and aerospace electronics

Advantages

  • Uses dielectric fluids
  • Non-toxic, non-combustible
  • Will not damage electronic components
  • Requires relatively little space
  • Lowers weight by replacing heavy cooling components like fans
  • Lowers cost by reducing power input

Status

  • State of Development: Prototype
  • Licensing Status: Available for licensing
  • Patent Status: Patented