Can nanotubes keep PCs cool?

Intel is conducting research with nanotechnology provider Zyvex to see if carbon nanotubes can help dissipate the pent-up heat inside PCs.

The research revolves around incorporating carbon nanotubes into thermal grease, which makes up the thin layer of goo that sits between a microprocessor and a heat sink. Heat sinks are aluminum components that absorb heat through wings and tendrils. Modern microprocessors generate inordinate amounts of heat, which can ultimately harm internal computer parts and interfere with signals. Although PC makers have managed to channel that heat away, the task is becoming more difficult as chips get faster and PCs get smaller. Thermal grease "takes heat off the CPU and delivers it to the heat sink more efficiently," an Intel representative said Thursday. Carbon nanotubes are a futuristic but logical choice for this task. The tubes conduct heat extremely well, are very small, and can be suspended in polymers or coatings. Experts have suggested that the first commercial uses of nanotubes will come in electrically or thermally conductive coatings.

News source: C|Net News.com

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