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New Sandia CPU Cooler Design Offers Fundamental Breakthrough in Heat Transfer

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Good idea, but is the thing going to work in the field?

0.001" is a heck of a tolerance to maintain, and given the fact that the air bearing is what functions as a heat transfer media you're dealing with a surface that needs uniquely precise (for consumer grade motors anyway) manufacturing tolerances.

Is it interesting, yes. Is it practical, that remains to be seen. Are we going to see it soon, not likely. White papers are interesting, but of little use until someone licenses the technology for production.
 
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Well, a prototype has been made, so it's not impossible :)
 

btarunr

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For now it's just a design concept that's proven to work, not a product. It will be a while before a company mans up to acquire a license to manufacture something as potentially dangerous as this.
 
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Pulled from the PDF...


One important point about the air bearing is that the ~0.03 mm air gap is not maintained by using extremely tight mechanical tolerances. Much like an air hockey puck on an air hockey table, or a hard disk read/write head, the air gap distance is self-regulating. If the air gap distance increases, the air pressure in the gap region drops, which causes the air gap distance to decrease. This built in negative feedback provides excellent mechanical stability and an extremely stiff effective spring constant (important for ruggedness). Unlike an air hockey table, which relies on gravity to counter-balance the pressure force acting on the puck, the air-bearing cooler can be mounted in an arbitrary orientation (e.g., up-side-down, sideways etc.). And unlike a computer disk drive, incidental mechanical contact between the two air bearing surfaces does not damage either surface.​

Pretty much what I imagined in my head. That tight tolerance is held via air pressure, not extremely tight machining specifications. Also, about losing fingers and the like, covering the outward facing blades of the fan wouldn't harm the efficiency of the fan. One would expect a production model to be covered in a fancy plastic shroud akin to the blower style GPU coolers of today.
 
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there is effectively an air gap between the base and the fins, even tho its just a few microns wide... could be made more efficient tho i guess, by using some kind of water or very liquid TIM between Base and Fins (air is not very good at transferring heat)....
will be Rev.2 of the Sandia Coolers i guess!:laugh:
Well that was my thought. Air is more of an insulator than heat conductor. And where we are trying to get ri of any kind of gaps and imperfections on regular coolers bases, we are gettinga "gap by design" on this one. Hm...
 

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Hooray for New Mexico and watermelon CPU coolers!
 
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I just hope this cooler will be QUIET! :p
Yeah what about noise... And how many RPMs does that thing do? Small radius, lots of RPM = we're back to the 90s in terms of noise.

But it is an interesting concept. But I think its somewhat limited in physical size.
 

WarraWarra

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It works for HPP Hydro Power Plants and water movement / reverse of this so it should work perfect for air and heat movement.

Congrats Sandia finally intelligent life out there.

Will this be squashed by the corporates like so many others or will they actually use this and make money off of it.
 

WarraWarra

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Good idea, but is the thing going to work in the field?

0.001" is a heck of a tolerance to maintain, and given the fact that the air bearing is what functions as a heat transfer media you're dealing with a surface that needs uniquely precise (for consumer grade motors anyway) manufacturing tolerances.

Is it interesting, yes. Is it practical, that remains to be seen. Are we going to see it soon, not likely. White papers are interesting, but of little use until someone licenses the technology for production.
The idea of a fast spinning rotor in my pc and catching some loose cable is a high concern as well.
They can make the heatsink and fins one solid block and then have a old school rotational fan on top and this fan+fins area needs a cover with center hole to suck and force the air into the fins and out the side in between the fins and the cover.

This way a small part of the fan is recessed and exposed but works more like a vacuum cleaner and vented in the same side fins as is current. The there is no need for a sharp dangerous rotor / spinning piece of metal or small air gaps that possibly reduces the cooling effect.

Also mounting it and putting pressure on the fin area might effect the spacing and cause a wobble / vibrations.
 
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Interesting wonder if this will do away with heatpipes, also raises the question of noise.
 
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Nice idea, hope it holds up. As long as they supply it with some chicken wire for a shroud, I'll give it a try...
 
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I think you would get more heat transfered threw the shaft on the motor and bearing then the 1 thousand of an inch gap. BTW I don't think a .001 " gap is realistic. Not to prevent rubbing with expansion and contraction due to heat. That that would be more precise than a German performance car

If you downloaded the PDF and read it you'd find out it works in the same principal as an Hydrodynamic bearing an the gap is self regulating

the closer the gap gets the higher the air pressure becomes between the 2 surfaces forcing them back into an centred alignment no mater how hot the the base plate or spinning finned surface becomes, the principal is the same as used in HDD's to maintain the gap between R/W head and spinning platter
 
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Interesting wonder if this will do away with heatpipes, also raises the question of noise.
apparently even at several thousand RPM it's still quieter than slow speed fans
 
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apparently even at several thousand RPM it's still quieter than slow speed fans
Would have to be one hell of a bearing to make that happen, time will tell.
 
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The idea of a fast spinning rotor in my pc and catching some loose cable is a high concern as well.
They can make the heatsink and fins one solid block and then have a old school rotational fan on top and this fan+fins area needs a cover with center hole to suck and force the air into the fins and out the side in between the fins and the cover.

This way a small part of the fan is recessed and exposed but works more like a vacuum cleaner and vented in the same side fins as is current. The there is no need for a sharp dangerous rotor / spinning piece of metal or small air gaps that possibly reduces the cooling effect.

Also mounting it and putting pressure on the fin area might effect the spacing and cause a wobble / vibrations.
they tried it with a cowling on top of the fins it reduced cooling and made more noise

there objective is to reduce the power required to cool aswell as to keep it as quiet as possible whilst maintaining the high efficiency of a large FFHS ( fin fan heat sink) with high speed noisy fan and keep it small as required in the DARPA specifications
 
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Would have to be one hell of a bearing to make that happen, time will tell.
Have you read the PDF they put out for it it's very informative and it shows the motor they use it's an 9 pole 3 phase design that uses 2 ball bearings

Capture.jpg
 

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very interesting. I have to give Intel Kudos for at least always trying to make their integrated coolers better.
 
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