Key to liquid-cooled computer chips: Tiny Bubbles

Purdue University researchers have made a discovery that may lead to the development of an innovative liquid-cooling system for future computer chips, which are expected to generate four times more heat than today's chips.

Researchers had thought that bubbles might block the circulation of liquid forced to flow through "microchannels" only three times the width of a human hair. Engineers also thought that small electric pumps might be needed to push liquid through the narrow channels, increasing the cost and complexity while decreasing the reliability of new cooling systems for computers.

Purdue researchers, however, have solved both of these potential engineering hurdles, developing a "pumpless" liquid-cooling system that removes nearly six times more heat than existing miniature pumpless liquid-cooling systems, said Issam Mudawar, a professor of mechanical engineering.

"Any time you squeeze more circuitry into the same space, you are producing more heat per unit area and per unit volume," he said.

Today's computers use fans and heat sinks containing fins to help cool circuitry. But this technology will not be efficient enough to remove the increasing heat generated by future chips, Mudawar said.

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News source: Slashdot.org

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