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The Heatsink with NO FAN...The Sandia Cooler

specks

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#26
Its kinda hard to see how this layer of air is going to transfer heat when air is better off an insulator than a conductor.
 

NHKS

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#27
Its kinda hard to see how this layer of air is going to transfer heat when air is better off an insulator than a conductor.
I understand skepticism is what one would feel on first seeing this concept.. but here is are some facts behind the concept according to Sandia:

In the Sandia Cooler, the heatsink itself is the fan. It is a cast metal impeller that floats on a hydrodynamic air bearing just a thousandth of an inch (0.03 millimeters) above a metal heat pipe spreader, powered by a brushless motor in the middle.

The prototype (shown in the video) is 10 times smaller than a commercial state-of-the-art cooler, but has the same cooling performance.

The Sandia Cooler’s impeller blades can have a geometry that perfectly splits the air at the impeller entrance (in the middle) and rejoins the air flow at the exit (the edges).
The dust immunity derives from two facets of the Sandia Cooler’s design:
a) Because they’re constantly moving at 2000+ RPM, it’s almost impossible for dust to settle on the heatsink’s blades, and
b) Centrifugal force drives out any dust from the tiny air gap between the heatsink and heat spreader.

This centrifugal force is what gives the Sandia Cooler such massive efficiency, too. In standard heatsinks, the heat exchange surface is covered in “dead air” boundary layer that acts as an insulator; in the Sandia Cooler, the centrifugal force reduces the thickness of this boundary layer by 10 times.
I am not sold on these claims until they bring out the final product, but I want to believe they can.

More references:
Presentation by Sandia
Sandia Cooler page
 

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#28
the only part i disagree with is that 2000 RPM will stop dust. we all know it wont, because that PC will get turned off sooner or later. also, hair.
 
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#29
Its kinda hard to see how this layer of air is going to transfer heat when air is better off an insulator than a conductor.
You are incorrect sir.

For those who don't understand, here's a crash course in physics.


There are three total ways for heat to be transferred; radiation, convection, and conduction. Examples of these are:
Radiation: The sun has a functionally empty void between it and the Earth, yet it transfers energy to us through radiation.
Convection: Think ovens. The heat comes from the element, but the entire fluid (air inside the oven) gets hot. Hotter fluids and cooler fluids mix and flow so that they come to thermal equilibrium.
Conduction: Normal heatsinks. Direct contact transfers thermal energy from one body to another, through the contact surface.

Now, fluids retain heat at different rates. Think about it as such, the air temperature can vary several degrees during the day. In the Midwest of the US it has been recorded to be sunny and warm (~70F) during the day, but drop down to below freezing over night. On the other hand, Lake Superior never changes mean temperature by more than a few degrees over the course of a week. This illustrates that the thermal capacity of water is different than that of air.

Moving on, the temperature of something is determined to be either stable, cooling or heating. This is determined by the flow of heat. Imagine that you have a bucket, which has holes along the side. You begin pouring water into the bucket. The bucket is an object, the water being poured in is heat being generated from operation, and the holes are transfer of heat. You heat up if the rate of water being poured in is higher than the rate it drains from the holes. If you pour water in at the same rate it is being drained you've got a constant temperature. If you pour water in slower than it drains you've got cooling.

Combining these three ideas, we can discern the following:
1) Air needs flow faster over a heatsink (as compared to water or oil), in order to have the same heat transfer rate as those fluids do (combine lesson 2 and 3).
2) Air contact can be just as effective as other fluid contact, given the right conditions. You can increase convective cooling dramatically, and make it as effective as conductive cooling (combine lesson 1 and 2).



So, as far as hydrodynamics goes, I'm going to glaze over most of that, given it would take a semester in college to get anything besides the basic idea. Be forewarned.

All known fluids (yes, we theorize perfect fluids exist, but can't replicate them on Earth) have a viscosity. Viscosity is the tendency for a fluid to resist flowing. Think honey (viscous), versus water (less viscous), for an example.

Viscosity is a property of both the fluid, and the forces applied on the fluids. Think about swimming in water, versus hitting it at 80 Mph. So the faster you move, the greater the viscosity of a fluid. Air is a fluid, so at some speed the viscosity of air will actually be a palpable force.

Combining this, a flow of air moving at great speeds could act like a solid, and provide enough force to separate two other solids.

This is the idea behind an air bearing. A device moves so fast that the airflow it generates creates a "cushion" for the component to ride on. As the friction from fluid shear is significantly lower than that of kinetic friction (solid moving across another solid), you get a low friction bearing that has an ideally limitless lifespan due to not being worn away.




Now combine hydrodynamics and thermodynamics, and you get this fan. Fast airflow creates a cushion for the fan blades to ride on (functionally 0 noise, due to 0 physical contact). Fast airflow allows both efficient convective and conductive cooling to occur. The only problem that remains is the motor driving the fans. A brushless DC motor could generate a long lifespan, low noise, extremely efficient cooler. If you were to use a noisy motor, you can account for the noise in the video. Everything else is legitimate, but there are two remaining concerns. Construction to the tolerances required may be an interesting proposition, and the quickly spinning fan blades are a major concern. If Sandia can finally overcome that (i.e. why these aren't already in production) then they've got a winner.


Edit:
Thanks Kreij, I did screw up the name. It has been changed to read conduction properly. Whoops.

Edit:
Arrgh, another error because typing being faster than my brain (yes, intentional screw-up there). Thanks to Completely Bonkers for finding my capacity/conductivity screw-up.
 
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specks

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#30
:wtf: you an engineer or somethin?
 
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#31
I learned that in High School... LOL
 

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#32
Ok i guess im a dumbass
 
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#34
I'd buy one of these things. The concept seems sound, and I do hate fan noise.

With regards to the 2000RPM will not stop dust because it'll get switched off, I imagine it'll all get blown out as soon as you turn it on.
 

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#35
@lilhassel : In your very good physics lesson you listed convection twice in the three type of heat transfer. The last one should be conduction. ;)
(Not an mech. eng., but I'm not a bad proofreader. lol)

So put a water block on the CPU and use this baby to cool the rad and it's win-win !! :D
 

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#36
I remember this on tpu a while back. I just watched he video to it. Pretty neat seeing it in action.

Got a question about it though. While its on and it hovers with that slight air blanket between it, How does the heat transfer from the base metal through the air blanket to the impeller or is it being cooled another way. I see the the air funneling into the middle opening where the motor is but I don't get how it cools.

*Scratch that lol. I just read that 2nd quote in NHKS's post. Sounds like the air coming into the middle replaces the air blanket and the air blanket is pushed out drawing the heat with it. Sis I get that right?

If that's a smaller version of it, then it'll look beastly when its full size and better have a cage over it lol
 
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#37
First saw this last year some time and was very intrigued. Glad to see they're not only still working on it, but they seem to have a design that may be ready for production.

wow nice
but you need to watch the fin and i cant stand the ziiiing sound
I would imagine the finished product would have some sort of cage around it to prevent injury.
Also, that sound you hear from the motor will be damn near inaudible when they put a shroud over the motor.
 

NHKS

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#38
THANKS for the effort put in explaining Heat transfer, lilhasselhoffer...

basically another difference(or advantage?) this cooler has with conventional fin-based cooler is that the heatsink itself is made to move thru the cooling medium (in this case 'air') rather than air(from fan) moving over fins... air from a cooling fan is always turbulent... so, that means boundary layer is more stable (less turbulence) at high speeds and hence better transfer takes place..

let me know if I am wrong..
 
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#39
Nice idea. But it needs to be mounted PERFECTLY horizontally for it to work (and lift) on the bed of air. The design has to be 100% perfect, just like your car wheels need to be balanced, this will need very accurate balancing. Expensive. There will be uses for this... but not in consumer PC's. It just isnt practical or cost effective in this situation.

lilhasselhoffer +1. nice laymans explanation, except this:
Now, fluids retain heat at different rates. Think about it as such, the air temperature can vary several degrees during the day. In the Midwest of the US it has been recorded to be sunny and warm (~70F) during the day, but drop down to below freezing over night. On the other hand, Lake Superior never changes mean temperature by more than a few degrees over the course of a week. This illustrates that the thermal conductivity of water is different than that of air.
which would get you a college -1. This is the thermal capacity, mass and volume that determines that ability of the late to retain the heat (or indeed the air to cool), and not just conductivity! ;) hehe
 
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#40
Nice idea. But it needs to be mounted PERFECTLY horizontally for it to work (and lift) on the bed of air. The design has to be 100% perfect, just like your car wheels need to be balanced, this will need very accurate balancing. Expensive. There will be uses for this... but not in consumer PC's. It just isnt practical or cost effective in this situation.
They say the opposite. Any direction for mounting, and not that expensive, and tolerances don't need to be that tight.


Sandia is a division of Lockheed Martin, IIRC, so I have no doubt they have the brainpower and technology available to make this a reality.

Anyway, I jsut say that the video was newly uploaded, thought some might find it interesting. Perhaps we'l lsee a heatsink with it, perhaps not. Apparantly it's very likely to end up as a cooler for LED lighting...?
 
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#41
They can have all the brain power and all but this thing is still a finger cutter. 2000 RPM and a metal rotating piece of blunt blades. Stick a finger in it and bang, the finger is gone.
Also god forbid that you'd accidentally get a wire in it. Bang and the wire is gone. Just make sure it's not a 230V one...
 

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#42
They can have all the brain power and all but this thing is still a finger cutter. 2000 RPM and a metal rotating piece of blunt blades. Stick a finger in it and bang, the finger is gone.
Also god forbid that you'd accidentally get a wire in it. Bang and the wire is gone. Just make sure it's not a 230V one...
As with all dangerous items, common sense is a must. You wouldn't put your hand under a running lawn mower, would you?
 
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#43
you can put a plate on the rotor blades and there's less concern about tools loosing fingers.
 
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#44
As with all dangerous items, common sense is a must. You wouldn't put your hand under a running lawn mower, would you?
It's not the same. I can easily stick a finger in any plastic fan (maybe not in 7k RPM Delta but still). I wouldn't touch this monstrosity...
 

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#45
It's not the same. I can easily stick a finger in any plastic fan (maybe not in 7k RPM Delta but still). I wouldn't touch this monstrosity...
Again, common sense. Just because you can stick your finger in a plastic fan without it hurting you(depending on type. obviously Delta, San-Ace, Scythe will draw blood or worse) doesn't mean you should. It can throw the fan off balance, damage the motor, break a fin, etc.

Besides, you shouldn't have your hands inside your computer while it's running anyway. There's more to worry about than getting injured from a fan.;)
 
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#47
Again, common sense. Just because you can stick your finger in a plastic fan without it hurting you(depending on type. obviously Delta, San-Ace, Scythe will draw blood or worse) doesn't mean you should. It can throw the fan off balance, damage the motor, break a fin, etc.

Besides, you shouldn't have your hands inside your computer while it's running anyway. There's more to worry about than getting injured from a fan.;)
Who says anyone is intentionally sticking fingers into fans? Such things happen during maintenance or testing when systems are running, either for debugging or finding out other sorts of issues.

Most blenders also have security switches to prevent cutting of fingers if bowl is opened.
Common sense says you shouldn't do that but apparently ppl still do it if they have to add such security mechanisms. So you also can't just assume ppl won't stick fingers in this thing.
Common sense or without it.
 

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#48
That coolers fan frequency would drive me up the wall... Big Time!!!!! :wtf:

I'm going by that video!

that cooler in a tank full of mineral oil would be something to be desired! :respect:

*EDIT* Dave was that you @ 5:24 in the video? The guy in the middle of the screen? hehhehe
 
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#49
lets see if it works... it seems unpractical, which in the end will limit the total amount of heat it can dissipate in that design... the theory is sound and all but with that little disk to work with... meh. Just because something is "more efficient" doesn't mean better.

I could put a frozen yogurt on a chip and it will be the most efficient sink on the market for about 13 seconds.
 

cadaveca

My name is Dave
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#50
I could put a frozen yogurt on a chip and it will be the most efficient sink on the market for about 13 seconds.
:laugh:

Good thought. Yet still, I cannot help but hope that this sees some sort of success. Because it's Lockheed-Martin, they aren't actually ever going to release anything with this technology themselves, and instead, will liscence it to other companys to produce. The idea we might see a heatsink based on this tech might just not even last that 13 seconds. :laugh: