Types of thermal management technologies relate to the Integrated Microchannel Cooling (IMC), and the Dual Piezoelectric Cooling Jet (DCJ):
IMC improves on previous uses of microchannels for cooling of electronics by integrating the microchannels directly into the cooling architecture. Competitor microchannel devices embed the microchannels into a heat exchanger which then indirectly cools the device. IMC brings the microchannels into direct contact with the ceramic bottom of the device. This allows for a 95% improvement over competitors using indirect cooling. The IMC can cool modules with heat flux up to 750 W/cm2 . Further embodiments of the system use an impinging central jet of coolant and diamond lined microchannels to achieve base heat flux of 1 kW/cm2 and 30kW/cm2 hot spot mitigation. This is a much more efficient way of cooling compared to heat pipes and can be leveraged to improve the performance of power electronics and reduce the number of devices needed for an application since higher currents can be run. The technology works across a broad range of heat power levels. The devices can also be smaller (down to 2mmx2mm), due to the higher efficiency, which can be useful for space critical applications. This technology is particularly well suited to manage heat surges or flashes since heat transfer is very fast. Furthermore, the technology can be used to refrigerate as well as cool, by passing a refrigerant through the microchannels.
DCJ provides an optimized geometry for using piezoelectric motion to create a “synthetic air jet” and can be used as replacement for a fan. The device is small and thin form factor, with one example measuring 40 mm x 40 mm and 1 mm thick. The device directs a focused jet of air at the thermal mass, achieving superior heat transfer directly on the thermal boundary layer. In addition to the improved performance of the DCJ over a fan, the device is also quieter and consumes less power. In certain applications, the improved durability of the DCJ due to its lack of moving parts is also an attractive benefit. The relatively simple construction of the DCJ also results in a lower cost. (read more)
The system works by actuating two metal shims with piezoelectric elements with AC current, typically in the 100-200Hz range, to pulse the shims like a “miniature bellow”. This effectively produces a very localized jet of air that can be localized to the thermal boundary layer of the electronics board for more efficient cooling. This can translate into a 3-15x grater heat removal than natural convection. (read more)
These devices are suitable for applications where defined pulses of air are needed to disrupt a surface boundary to maintain target temperatures above ambient temperatures. The technology is particularly good for low profile applications, or thin air gaps such as small electronic devices. While there are several form factors available (see image below), with the ”miniature bellows” typically around 1m thick and the complete cooling package together with a heat sink is 3mm. Not only does the form factor fit into the thinner profile, but the DCJ assembly can be up to 6x lighter than traditional axial fan assemblies. The technology lends itself well to customization for specific application, particularly with respect to the form factor. (read more)
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