Scientist from Duke University and Intel have come up with a brand new way of keeping high performance electronics cool. The plan to fill their insides with bouncing water droplets. I know that conventional wisdom tells you that water and electronics do not get along well. But this system could keep high performance electronics cool, by targeting their hot spots with drops of water.
The technology was inspired by the super-hydrophobic wings of cicadas ( a flying insect) that naturally repel water. When two small water droplets land on the cicada’s wings, they become one big droplet. It has enough energy to lift of the wings and take the dirt with it. The scientist thought to apply this principle to electronics.
The way this would work, is that the researchers create a sealed vapor chamber that can be installed within electronic systems. One side of the chamber is the super-hydrophobic floor and the other side is a sponge like ceiling. When the electronics surrounding the chamber get hot, the chamber gets heated, and the vapor turns to water droplets. The droplets fall to the floor and become bigger droplets, and then lift off taking the heat with them. The sponge like ceiling absorbs the water, and the process repeats.
This has some advantages over the existing cooling mechanisms. This works on two planes simultaneously as it targets heat both vertically and horizontally. This makes the cooling more effective, also it only targets hot spots and leaves other component untouched.
The vapor chamber is still being developed, but it looks very interesting. You won’t find this in your next laptop, but it could be in the next data center or major technology hubs. Keep an eye to see if the gets developed and produced.
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