Next-generation heatsink has no fan at all

Researchers from Sandia National Laboratories have created what they describe as “a radically new architecture for air-cooled heat exchangers”, incredibly efficient compared to the traditional fan+heatsink setup, quiet and even immune to dust.

Sandia Cooler achieved such a feat with a quite simple design where the metal heatsink itself is the fan: “heat is efficiently transferred from a stationary base plate to a rotating (counterclockwise) structure that combines the functionality of cooling fins with a centrifugal impeller”, Sandia Labs official site explains, while the cooler is powered by a “brushless” motor in the middle of the device.

The new cooler is 30 times more efficient than a traditional setup, Sandia Labs researchers state, 10 times smaller compared to a high-end commercial unit available nowadays but with the same cooling performance. Furthermore Sandia Cooler is immune to dust layering because it spin at a constant 2000 RPM speed, while the centrifugal forces constantly push the dust particles out of the device.

Among the potential applications for its cooler, Sandia Labs – a wholly owned subsidiary of Lockheed Martin Corporation and two major research and development laboratories belonging to the United States Department of Energy – list laptop and “high performance ‘gaming’ PCs”, gaming consoles, LED lightning, automotive, “other” electronic devices and “any device comprising one or more forced-air exchangers”.

The market debut of Sandia Cooler should happen soon, too: the researchers say that two yet-to-be-named companies – one working in the computer cooling business and the other one in the LED lighting business – have already licensed their promising technology.

Source: Sandia Labs press release

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