A team of engineers recently developed a new technology that can cool down hotspots inside high performing electronics by using the very same procedure that is used for cleaning wings of cicadas. When these water droplets fuse into each other, a reduction in surface area leads to releasing of very small quantity of energy. So, as long as, the surface below has enough hydrophobic character so as to repel water, the energy is enough to repel the merged droplet away. Over the cicada’s wings, the very same procedure helps in driving away droplets for catching and removing dirt and debris particles. The new technology that has been created by this team at Duke University in association with Intel Corporation, the droplets simply jump towards the hotspots cooling them right where the heat exceeds tolerable threshold for the device.
An associate professor of mechanical engineering and materials from the same university, Chuan-Hua Chen, explains, “Hotspot cooling is very important for high-performance technologies. Computer processors and power electronics don’t perform as well if waste heat cannot be removed. A better cooling system will enable faster computers, longer-lasting electronics, and more powerful electric vehicles.” This new technology completely depends on a vapor chamber that is constituted by a sponge-like ceiling supported by a superhydrophobic floor. When placed below operational electronics, moisture trapped by the ceiling vaporizes below the emerging hotspots. The vapor rushes towards the floor absorbing heat from the electronics with it.
This new technique has a strong edge over the pre-existing cooling technologies. Thermoelectric coolers mostly behave like small sized refrigerators that can’t aim random hotspot locations, this renders them inefficient for large sized areas. Other concepts can easily target moving hotspots, but needs some extra power inputs that lead directly to inefficiencies. The new jumping droplet cooling technology has an automatic mechanism for helping the vertical heat rush out.
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