(This article was featured in an issue of Qpedia Thermal e-Magazine, an online publication dedicated to the thermal management of electronics. To get the current issue or to look through the archives, visit http://www.qats.com/Qpedia-Thermal-eMagazine.)
Qpedia continues its review of technologies developed for electronics cooling applications. We are presenting selected patents that were awarded to developers around the world to address cooling challenges. After reading the series, you will be more aware of both the historic developments and the latest breakthroughs in both product design and applications.
We are specifically focusing on patented technologies to show the breadth of development in thermal management product sectors. Please note that there are many patents within these areas. Limited by article space, we are presenting a small number to offer a representation of the entire field. You are encouraged to do your own patent investigation.
Further, if you have been awarded a patent and would like to have it included in these reviews, please send us your patent number or patent application.
In this issue our spotlight is on liquid-based cooling solutions.
There are many U.S. patents in this area of technology, and those presented here are among the more recent. These patents show some of the salient features that are the focus of different inventors.
Embedded Microchannel Cooling Package for a Central Processing Unit
US 7515415 B2, Monfarad, A. and Yang, J.
An indirect cooling liquid embedded package design for use with a computer central processor unit is suitable for thermal management of high heat dissipation electronic components such as server processors. The indirect contact cooling liquid embedded packaged CPU has mechanical coupling and embedded plumbing that attaches to the board pumped liquid supply and indirect cooling of the heat-generating portion of the CPU with an embedded microchannel heat exchanger. The coolant package system for the CPU removes higher levels of heat indirectly from the core of the processors by convective cooling.
Cooling liquid flows into the microchannel piping in the CPU substrate. Cooling liquid continues to flow out of the microchannel piping into a silicon or metallic microchannel heat exchanger that is directly bonded to a silicon die for cooling of the heat-generating portion of the CPU. As a result, an embedded microchannel indirect contact cooling liquid package for a CPU can be utilized to remove substantially higher levels of heat from the core of the processors by forced convective liquid flow through the microchannel heat exchanger attached to the core of the CPU. Cooling liquid is introduced into the package of the server CPU by mechanically attaching the CPU to the board through a socket interconnect. Pins of the socket serve to provide electrical connection between the board and the CPU, while a few pins are designed for the purpose of providing an inlet and an outlet for cooling liquid into and out of the CPU package.
The cooling system of the present invention also uses the existing package-to-board practice of using sockets and therefore the entire cooling system is embedded into the processor-to-board assembly. From the end user’s point of view, there is a tremendous amount of simplification of board design as the bulky fan and heat sink assemblies are removed. The replacement, according to the present invention, is a central liquid cooling system that can be made redundant to substantially prevent any reliability issues in the field.
Planar Heat Pipe for Cooling
US 8305762 B2, Wits, W., Mannak, J. and Legtenberg, R.
The invention claimed is a circuit board for cooling of heat-dissipating components assembled thereon, including at least two panels at least one of which is populated With heat-dissipating components, both panels being metal clad on a side, at least one of the panels being formed from a printed circuit board laminate and comprising a plurality of grooves on its metal clad side, the panels being bonded together by an adhesive layer With their metal clad sides oriented face to face so as to form a circuit board containing a sealed cavity having a height defined by a thickness of the adhesive layer and the separation of the metal clad sides, the cavity being partly filled with a fluid, the fluid circulating by capillary action along the grooves towards zones exposed to heat where the fluid vaporizes.
Vapor may circulate back by pressure gradient effect through the cavity towards zones not exposed to heat where it condenses. In a mode of implementation, the heat pipe may be embedded in a circuit board formed by the panels for inherent cooling of heat-dissipating components.
Thus, key advantage provided by the present invention in any of its aspects is that it is based on most standard processes of multilayer PCB fabrication such as laminating, selective metal plating and etching. Therefore, it is a highly cost-effective solution. Furthermore, the invention provides a very flexible design solution enabling to adapt the cooling paths to the PCB layout, especially to the higher heat dissipation locations. Not requiring any supplementary materials, it is even considerably lighter than a tubular heat pipe-based solution.
Implemented as enhancement of a computer aided engineering tool, heat pipe cooling cavities could be designed concurrently with the layout of components placement and printing of circuits, ensuring optimized thermal management. This enables multilayer PCB assemblies, which are high density electronic devices, to benefit the most from the integrated heat pipe cooling function.
Cooling System for Electronic Equipment
US 7508666 B1, Henneberg, M. and Johnson, L.
A cooling solution includes a system providing thermal energy dissipation for electronic equipment located in support racks or cabinets of a facility. According to one embodiment, the system is integrated with a facility where the support cabinets are located. The system providing thermal energy dissipation includes a cooling loop, a fan unit for moving air across the cooling loop and one or more ducts forming a confined flow pathway for the moving air between the fan unit and cabinets for delivery to the electronic equipment.
More specifically, the cooling loop contains a supply of circulating heat absorbing fluid such that the heat absorbing fluid removes thermal energy from the air moved by the fan unit. Each cabinet is formed with an exhaust pathway such that the moving air enters the cabinet from the duct, flows across the electronic equipment to remove thermal energy therefrom, and exits the cabinet.
Claims include a cooling system for a facility housing electronic equipment, the facility having a support surface on which a cabinet holding the electronic equipment is located, the system comprising: a cooling loop located beneath the support surface and containing a supply of circulating heat absorbing fluid; a fan unit located beneath the support surface and configured to move air across the cooling loop such that the heat adsorbing fluid removes thermal energy from the moving air; at least one duct forming a confined flow pathway for the moving air between the fan unit and the cabinet, wherein the cabinet is formed with a substantially lateral exhaust pathway such that the moving air enters via a back region of the cabinet, flows across the electronic equipment, housed by the cabinets, to remove thermal energy therefrom, and exits a front region of the cabinet; and a chilling plate positioned downstream of the flow of moving air exiting the cabinet such that the chilling plate is located outside of the front region of the cabinet, the chilling plate is coupled to a secondary cooling loop containing a supply of heat absorbing fluid.
Claims also include a method for providing thermal energy dissipation for network-based electronic equipment housed within a plurality of cabinets located on a support surface of a facility, each of the plurality of cabinets having an interior formed with a through passageway extending from an entrance at a first side of each of the plurality of cabinets to an exit at a second side of each of the plurality of cabinets, the method comprising: providing a cooling loop containing a supply of circulating heat adsorbing fluid; providing a fan unit configured to move air across the cooling loop such that the heat adsorbing fluid removes thermal energy from the moving air; directing the moving air from the fan unit to the through passageway of each of the plurality of cabinets such that the moving air flows across the electronic equipment to remove thermal energy therefrom, and exits the plurality of cabinets; and providing a plurality of chilling plates positioned downstream of the flow of moving air exiting the plurality of cabinets such that one of the plurality of chilling plates is located outside of each of the plurality of cabinets, respectively, each of the plurality of chilling plates is coupled to a secondary cooling loop containing a supply of heat absorbing fluid.
For more information about Advanced Thermal Solutions, Inc. (ATS) thermal management consulting and design services, visit https://www.qats.com/consulting or contact ATS at 781.769.2800 or firstname.lastname@example.org.