How to implement localized thermal management of electronics through the use of cold plates

Cold plates are “aluminum or other material plates containing internal tubing through which a liquid coolant is forced, to absorb heat transferred to the plate by transistors and other components mounted on it.”

Lytron is one of the best in the business at producing cold plates and their site is chock full of excellent information on the different types and uses.  Including some basic comparisons. The following cold plate graph, from Lytron, compares the normalized thermal resistances of different cold plate technologies, enabling thermal performances to be compared independently of the cold plate part geometries. The lower the thermal resistance, the better the performance of the cold plate. As many cold plates are customized, a range of typical values is shown for each cold plate technology. All cold plate performances are compared using water as the cooling fluid.

cold plate technology comparison for thermal management

Many thermal management applications in electronics require a cold plate to remove the heat from discrete components laid out on a printed circuit board (PCB). In these circumstances, it is more efficient that the liquid does not completely fill the cold plate, but is only transferred to areas that need to be cooled.  With this kind of cold plate design, the required volumetric flow rate of the coolant will be significantly lower than if the entire cold plate was filled with liquid. ATS’s thermal labs white paper, “Localized Cooling  Using Cold Plates” covers the math and method on how to do this.  Our white paper is free to our readers on the qats.com web site, just click to this link to download your own free copy of our white paper, “Localized Cooling  Using Cold Plates

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