July 13th, 2011

Heatsink Fan Tech Moving Forward

A new technology in heat sinks and fans has been developed by US government lab Sandia National Laboratories in Livermore, California. The idea? To make the fan into a heatsink and vice versa. These could be utilised in CPU and GPU coolers soon enough; so perhaps we’ll actually get a different looking graphics card HSF soon.

“We describe breakthrough results obtained in a feasibility study of a fundamentally new architecture for air-cooled heat exchangers,” wrote Jeffrey Koplow; making things as wordy as possible.

The main problem with traditional coolers is that traditional coolers have a layer of air that covers the heatsink. Combine this with dust build up and you have a lot of insualtion between the highly heat conducting heatsink fins and the cool air blown over it by the fan. This new design eliminates the former and massively reduces the latter.

“The tension in the market place between the need for energy efficiency and logistical considerations such as equipment size, cost and operating noise has resulted in a compromise that is far from ideal,” Koplow wrote.

What Sandia created was originally known as the “Air Bearing Heat Exchanger”, though they quickly rebranded it as the “Sandia Cooler” before releasing it for licensing.

This new cooler is built with a an aluminum base plate, a finned heatsink impeller and a brushless motor that rotates the impeller. Interesting that he didnt’ use copper with its improved heat conductivity.

The heat sink spins, pulling in cool air from the surrounding area, then using centrifugal force is flung away from the centre point. One interesting thing with this design beyond its low energy usage is also the low profile of the cooler.

I’m certainly looking  forward to seeing this show up on my GPU. Looks like it could be heavy too.


Read the full article at: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/07/12/air_bearing_heat_exchanger/

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