Technology borrowed from a kitchen appliance may someday cool military electronics and computer chips that are becoming more powerful and generating more heat, researchers at Purdue University have found.
The breakthrough, a micro-channel heat sink, is a 1-inch2 copper plate that contains numerous channels just 231 microns wide—about three times the width of a human hair—and 713 microns deep. Heat is removed as coolant circulates through these channels—a concept based on the evaporator component that contains a labyrinth of coolant tubing in household refrigerators.
According to the Office of Naval Research, key sponsor of the research, future warships and combat vehicles will have high-power electrical systems that generate waste heat densities approaching 1,000 W/cm2, which is beyond the cooling capacity of existing fan-based systems.
"We're trying to develop a solution before the demand is out there," comments Issam Mudawar, mechanical engineering professor and leader of the research, adding that a big mistake is to develop cooling solutions "after the fact." Mudawar, who co-authored two papers detailing the research methodologies (http://rbi.ims.ca/4391-504; http://rbi.ims.ca/4391-505), says he has received inquiries from chip manufacturers and satellite companies, as well as automakers who are developing hybrid vehicles.
By experimenting with the photovoltaic reaction in solar cells, researchers at MIT have made a breakthrough in energy efficiency that significantly pushes the boundaries of current commercial cells on the market.
In a world that's going green, industrial operations have a problem: Their processes involve materials that are potentially toxic, flammable, corrosive, or reactive. If improperly managed, this can precipitate dangerous health and environmental consequences.
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