Journal of Heat Transfer

Self-contained, oscillating flow liquid cooling system for thin form factor high performance electronics

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A self-contained, small-volume liquid cooling system for thin form-factor electronic equipment (e.g., blade server modules) is demonstrated experimentally in this paper. A reciprocating water flow loop absorbs heat using mesh-type microchannel cold plates and spreads it periodically to a larger area. From there, the thermal energy is interchanged via large area, low pressure drop cold plates with a secondary heat transfer loop (air or liquid). Four phase-shifted piston pumps create either a linearly or radially oscillating fluid flow in the frequency range of 0.5-3 Hz. The tidal displacement of the pumps covers 42-120% of the fluid volume, and, therefore, an average flow rate range of 100-800 ml/min is tested. Three different absorber mesh designs are tested. Thermal and fluidic characteristics are presented in a time-resolved and a time-averaged manner. For a fluid pump power of 1 W, a waste heat flux of 180 W/cm2 (ΔT=67 K) could be dissipated from a 3.5 cm2 chip. A linear oscillation flow pattern is advantageous over a radial one because of the more efficient heat removal from the chip and lower hydraulic losses. The optimum microchannel mesh density is determined as a combination of low pump losses and high heat transfer rates. © 2010 by ASME.