US20080006037A1 - Computer cooling apparatus - Google Patents

Computer cooling apparatus Download PDF

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Publication number
US20080006037A1
US20080006037A1 US11/673,766 US67376607A US2008006037A1 US 20080006037 A1 US20080006037 A1 US 20080006037A1 US 67376607 A US67376607 A US 67376607A US 2008006037 A1 US2008006037 A1 US 2008006037A1
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Prior art keywords
heat
chiller
defined
face
surface
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Abandoned
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US11/673,766
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Alexander Scott
Geoff Lyon
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Coolit Systems Inc
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Coolit Systems Inc
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Priority to US10/025,846 priority Critical patent/US6725682B2/en
Priority to US10/757,493 priority patent/US7174738B2/en
Application filed by Coolit Systems Inc filed Critical Coolit Systems Inc
Priority to US11/673,766 priority patent/US20080006037A1/en
Assigned to COOLIT SYSTEMS INC. reassignment COOLIT SYSTEMS INC. ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST (SEE DOCUMENT FOR DETAILS). Assignors: LYON, GEOFF SEAN, SCOTT, ALEXANDER ROBIN WALTER
Publication of US20080006037A1 publication Critical patent/US20080006037A1/en
Application status is Abandoned legal-status Critical

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    • HELECTRICITY
    • H01BASIC ELECTRIC ELEMENTS
    • H01LSEMICONDUCTOR DEVICES; ELECTRIC SOLID STATE DEVICES NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • H01L23/00Details of semiconductor or other solid state devices
    • H01L23/34Arrangements for cooling, heating, ventilating or temperature compensation ; Temperature sensing arrangements
    • H01L23/46Arrangements for cooling, heating, ventilating or temperature compensation ; Temperature sensing arrangements involving the transfer of heat by flowing fluids
    • H01L23/473Arrangements for cooling, heating, ventilating or temperature compensation ; Temperature sensing arrangements involving the transfer of heat by flowing fluids by flowing liquids
    • GPHYSICS
    • G06COMPUTING; CALCULATING; COUNTING
    • G06FELECTRIC DIGITAL DATA PROCESSING
    • G06F1/00Details not covered by groups G06F3/00 – G06F13/00 and G06F21/00
    • G06F1/16Constructional details or arrangements
    • G06F1/20Cooling means
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H01BASIC ELECTRIC ELEMENTS
    • H01LSEMICONDUCTOR DEVICES; ELECTRIC SOLID STATE DEVICES NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • H01L2924/00Indexing scheme for arrangements or methods for connecting or disconnecting semiconductor or solid-state bodies as covered by H01L24/00
    • H01L2924/0001Technical content checked by a classifier
    • H01L2924/0002Not covered by any one of groups H01L24/00, H01L24/00 and H01L2224/00

Abstract

A chiller for cooling an electronic device using circulating fluids to cool electronic components which comprises a thermoelectric cooler having a cool face and a warm face when connected to a power source; a heat spreader plate; and a heat exchanging surface, said thermoelectric cooler, said heat spreader plate and said heat exchanging surface all thermally coupled to dissipate heat energy from a heat input surface to said heat exchanging surface.

Description

    CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION
  • This is a continuation-in-part application of U.S. application Ser. No. 10/757,493, filed Jan. 15, 2004, presently pending, which is a divisional application of U.S. application Ser. No. 10/025,846, filed Dec. 26, 2001, issued Apr. 27, 2004 as U.S. Pat. No. 6,725,682. This application is related to a commonly-owned patent, U.S. Pat. No. 6,687,142, entitled “Inverter”, issued Feb. 3, 2004 which is incorporated herein by reference.
  • BACKGROUND
  • The invention relates to the field of cooling electronic devices and, in particular, to using circulating fluids to cool microprocessors, graphics processors, and other computer components.
  • Microprocessor dies typically used in personal computers are packaged in ceramic packages that have a lower surface provided with a large number of electrical contacts (e.g., pins) for connection to a socket mounted to a circuit board of a personal computer and an upper surface for thermal coupling to a heat sink. In the following description, a die and its package are referred to collectively as a microprocessor.
  • Elevation views of typical designs for heat sinks suggested by Intel Corporation for its Pentium® III microprocessor are shown in FIGS. 1A and 1B.
  • In FIG. 1A, a passive heat sink indicated generally by reference numeral 110 is shown. The passive heat sink 110 comprises a thermal plate 112 from the upper surface of which a number of fins, one of which is indicated by reference numeral 114, protrude perpendicularly. The passive heat sink 110 is shown in FIG. 1A installed upon a microprocessor generally indicated by reference numeral 118. The microprocessor 118 is comprised of a die 116 and a package 120. The die 116 protrudes from the upper surface of the package 120. The lower surface of the package 120 is plugged into a socket 122, which is in turn mounted on a circuit board (not shown). The passive heat sink 110 is installed by bringing the lower surface of the thermal plate 112 into contact with the exposed surface of the die 116. When installed and operated as recommended by the manufacturer, ambient airflow passes between the fins in the direction shown by an arrow 124 in FIG. 1A.
  • In FIG. 1B, an active heat sink, indicated generally by reference numeral 126, is shown. The active heat sink 126 comprises a thermal plate 128 from the upper surface of which a number of fins 130 protrude perpendicularly. A fan 132 is mounted above the fins 130. The active heat sink 126 is shown in FIG. 1B installed upon a microprocessor, generally indicated by reference numeral 136, which is comprised of a die 134 and a package 138. The die 134 protrudes from the upper surface of the package 138. The lower surface of the package 138 is plugged into a socket 140, which is in turn mounted on a circuit board (not shown). The active heat sink 126 is installed by bringing the lower surface of the thermal plate 128 into contact with the exposed surface of the die 134. When installed and operated as recommended by the manufacturer, ambient air is forced between the fins 130 in the direction shown by an arrow 142 in FIG. 1B.
  • A difficulty with the cooling provided by the heat sinks shown in FIGS. 1A and 1B is that at best the temperature of the thermal plates 112, 128 can only approach the ambient air temperature. If the microprocessor 118, 136 is operated at a high enough frequency, the die 116, 134 can become so hot that it is difficult to maintain a safe operating temperature at the die 116, 134 using air cooling in the manner shown in FIGS. 1A and 1B.
  • Liquid cooling, which is inherently more efficient due to the greater heat capacity of liquids, has been proposed for situations in which air cooling in the manner illustrated in FIGS. 1A and 1B is inadequate. In a typical liquid cooling system, such as that illustrated in FIG. 1C, a heat conductive block 144 having internal passages or a cavity (not shown) replaces the thermal plate 128 in FIG. 1B. The block 144 has an inlet and an outlet, one of which is visible and indicated by reference numeral 146 in FIG. 1C. Liquid is pumped into the block 144 through the inlet and passes out of the block 144 through the outlet to a radiator or chiller (not shown) located at some distance from the block 144. The block 144 is shown in FIG. 1C installed upon a microprocessor generally indicated by reference numeral 148, which is comprised of a die 150 and a package 152. The die 150 protrudes from the upper surface of the package 152. The lower surface of the package 152 is plugged into a socket 154, which is in turn mounted on a circuit board (not shown). The block 144 is installed by bringing its lower surface into contact with the exposed surface of the die 150.
  • In all liquid cooling systems known to the inventor, only a small portion of the lower surface of the block 144 comes into contact with the die 150. Since the die 150 protrudes above the upper surface of the package 152, a gap 156 remains between the upper surface of the package 152 and the block 144. If the gap 156 is not filled with insulation and sealed, convective and radiative heat transfer from the package 152 to the block 144 may occur. This will have no serious consequences so long as the block 144 is not cooled below the dew point of the air in the gap 156. If the liquid pumped through block 144 is only cooled by a radiator, then that liquid and consequently the block 144, can only approach the ambient air temperature. However, if a chiller is used to cool the liquid, then the temperature of the block 144 can decrease below the ambient air temperature, which may allow condensation to form on the package 152 or the block 144. Such condensation, if not removed, can cause electrical shorts, which may possibly destroy the microprocessor 148.
  • Current solutions to the condensation problem referred to above include (1) controlling the chiller so that the temperature of the block 144 does not decrease below the dew point of the air in the gap 156 or (2) providing sufficient insulation and sealing material to prevent condensation from forming or to at least prevent any condensation that does form from reaching critical portions of the microprocessor 148 or surrounding circuit elements. Placing a lower limit on the temperature of the chiller limits the amount of heat that can effectively be removed from the microprocessor 148 without using bulky components. Further, the operating temperature of the microprocessor 148 can only approach the temperature of the block 144; operation at lower temperatures may be desirable in many circumstances. Alternatively, if insulation and sealing is used, trained technicians must do the installation properly if the installation is to be effective. If the insulation or seals fail, condensation can occur and cause catastrophic failure of the personal computer. A simpler, more reliable solution to the condensation problem is needed.
  • SUMMARY
  • In one aspect the invention there is provided a chiller for cooling an electronic device, comprising: a thermoelectric cooler having a cool face and a warm face when connected to a power source, a heat spreader plate; and a heat exchanging surface, said thermoelectric cooler, said heat spreader plate and said heat exchanging surface all thermally coupled to dissipate heat energy from a heat input surface to said heat exchanging surface.
  • In another aspect the invention provides a printed circuit board comprising: a board; a heat generating component on the board; a heat spreader plate, a first face of which is thermally coupled to the heat generating component; a thermoelectric cooler having a cool face and a warm face when connected to a power source, the thermoelectric cooler mounted with its cool face thermally coupled to the heat spreader plate; and a liquid heat exchanger thermally coupled to the warm face of the thermoelectric cooler.
  • In another aspect the invention provides a laptop cooling device comprising: a support plate including a top surface formed to support a laptop thereon, a lower surface, and at least a portion formed to act as a heat sink in a position exposed on top surface and extending to the lower surface; a thermoelectric cooler having a cool face and a warm face when connected to a power source, the thermoelectric cooler mounted with its cool face thermally coupled to the at least a portion formed to act as a heat sink; and a heat exchanging surface thermally coupled to the warm face of the thermoelectric cooler.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • FIG. 1A is a schematic elevation view of a conventional passive heat sink installed on a microprocessor.
  • FIG. 1B is a schematic elevation view of a conventional active heat sink installed on a microprocessor.
  • FIG. 1C is a schematic elevation view of a conventional liquid-cooled heat sink installed on a microprocessor.
  • FIG. 2A is a schematic pictorial view of a partially assembled desktop personal computer with an embodiment of the cooling apparatus described herein installed. Many of the conventional components of the desktop personal computer that are not relevant to the cooling apparatus are omitted.
  • FIG. 2B is a schematic pictorial view of a partially assembled tower-case personal computer with an embodiment of the cooling apparatus described herein installed. Many of the conventional components of the desktop personal computer that are not relevant to the cooling apparatus are omitted.
  • FIG. 3A is a schematic elevation view of a portion of the desktop personal computer of FIG. 2A showing a fluid heat exchanger in accordance with the present invention coupled to the CPU microprocessor of the computer.
  • FIG. 3B is a schematic elevation view of a portion of the tower-case personal computer of FIG. 2B showing a fluid heat exchanger in accordance with the present invention coupled to the CPU microprocessor of the computer.
  • FIGS. 3C-3F are schematic elevation views of a series of variant fluid heat exchangers.
  • FIG. 3G is a schematic elevation view of a variant fluid heat exchanger having an external cooling conduit.
  • FIG. 3H is a schematic cross-sectional view of the fluid heat exchanger shown in FIG. 3G taken along line 3H-3H of FIG. 3G.
  • FIG. 4A is a schematic exploded isometric view of the fluid heat exchanger shown in FIG. 3A.
  • FIGS. 4B, 4C, and 4D are schematic cross-sectional views of the fluid heat exchanger of FIG. 4A taken along lines 4B-4B, 4C-4C, and 4D-4D of FIG. 4A, respectively.
  • FIG. 4E is a schematic pictorial view of the fluid heat exchanger of FIG. 3A showing the internal fluid flow pattern.
  • FIG. 5A is a schematic partially exploded isometric view of the fluid heat exchanger of FIG. 3B.
  • FIG. 5B is a schematic cross-section of the fluid heat exchanger of FIG. 5A taken along line 5B-5B of FIG. 5A.
  • FIG. 6A is a schematic isometric view of a molded or cast one-piece fluid heat exchanger in accordance with the present invention.
  • FIG. 6B is a schematic elevation view of the fluid heat exchanger of FIG. 6A.
  • FIG. 6C is a schematic cross-sectional view of the fluid heat exchanger of FIG. 6A taken along line 6C-6C of FIG. 6B.
  • FIGS. 6D, 6E, 6F, 6G, 6H, 6I, 6J, and 6K are schematic cross-sections of the fluid heat exchanger of FIG. 6A taken along lines 6D-6D, 6E-6E, 6F-6F, 6G-6G, 6H-6H, 6I-6I, 6J-6J, and 6K-6K of FIG. 6C, respectively. The barbs and protrusion are not shown.
  • FIG. 7A is a schematic elevation view of the pump/tank module of the cooling apparatus of FIG. 2A and 2B.
  • FIG. 7B is a schematic side elevation view of a molded pump/tank module that could be included in the cooling apparatus of FIGS. 2A and 2B.
  • FIG. 7C is a schematic end elevation view of the pump/tank module of FIG. 7B.
  • FIG. 7D is a schematic internal side elevation view of the pump/tank module of FIG. 7B.
  • FIG. 8 is a schematic end elevation view of a copper-finned chiller module in accordance with the invention, with the fan removed. The view is taken in the direction of airflow when chiller module is in operation.
  • FIG. 9 is a schematic longitudinal section of the chiller module of FIG. 8 taken along line 9-9 of FIG. 8.
  • FIG. 10 is a schematic end elevation view of an aluminum-finned chiller module having four extruded fin sections, in accordance with the invention. The view is taken with the fan removed and in the direction of airflow when chiller module is in operation.
  • FIG. 11 is a longitudinal cross-section of the chiller module of FIG. 10 taken along line 11-11 of FIG. 10.
  • FIG. 12 is a side elevation view of the chiller module of FIG. 10 with the housing removed.
  • FIG. 13 is a cross-section of one of the four extruded fin sections of the chiller module of FIG. 10.
  • FIG. 14 is a schematic end elevation view of an aluminum-finned chiller module having two extruded fin sections, in accordance with the invention. The view is taken with the fan removed and in the direction of airflow when chiller module is in operation.
  • FIG. 15 is a longitudinal cross-section of the chiller module of FIG. 14 taken along line 15-15 of FIG. 14.
  • FIG. 16 is a cross-section of one of the two extruded fin sections of the chiller module of FIG. 14.
  • FIG. 16A is a schematic side elevation view of a useful chiller module.
  • FIG. 16B is an isometric view of a printed circuit board including a chiller.
  • FIG. 16C is an exploded isometric view of the printed circuit board of FIG. 16B.
  • FIG. 16D is a sectional view along lines 16D-16D of FIG. 16B.
  • FIG. 16E is an isometric view of the underside of a laptop cooler according to the present invention.
  • FIG. 16F is a sectional view along lines 16F-16F of FIG. 16E.
  • FIG. 17 is a partially exploded isometric view of a bored fluid heat exchanger for use in the chiller modules of FIGS. 8, 10, and 14.
  • FIG. 18A is a schematic isometric view of a molded or cast fluid one-piece heat exchanger for use in the chiller modules of FIGS. 8, 10, and 14.
  • FIG. 18B is a schematic elevation view of the fluid heat exchanger of FIG. 18A.
  • FIG. 18C is a schematic cross-sectional view of the fluid heat exchanger of FIG. 18A taken along line 18C-18C of FIG. 18B.
  • FIGS. 18D, 18E, 18F, 18G, 18H, 18I, and 18J are schematic cross-sections of the fluid heat exchanger of FIG. 18A taken along lines 18D-18D, 18E-18E, 18F-18F, 18G-18G, 18H-18H, 181-18I, and 18J-18J of FIG. 18C, respectively. The barbs are not shown.
  • FIG. 19A is a schematic plan view of a molded retainer for retaining a fluid heat exchanger coupled to a CPU microprocessor in accordance with the invention.
  • FIG. 19B is a schematic front elevation view of the retainer of FIG. 19A.
  • FIG. 19C is a schematic side elevation view of the retainer of FIG. 19A.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION
  • Two embodiments of the present invention are shown in FIGS. 2A and 2B as they would appear when installed in two typical forms of desktop personal computer (“PC”), the PCs generally indicated by reference numerals 210 and 250, respectively. In FIG. 2A, the PC 210 is a desktop-type PC, while in FIG. 2B, the PC 250 is a tower-type PC. In FIGS. 2A and 2B, the PC 210, 250 is shown with its case cover and power supply removed so that a cooling apparatus that is an embodiment of the present invention can be seen. Each PC 210, 250 has a motherboard 212, 252 together with a CPU microprocessor 214, 254 mounted in a socket 216, 256 as shown schematically in FIGS. 2A and 2B. In each case, the socket 216, 256 is mounted on the motherboard 212, 252. Other conventional components are omitted.
  • As illustrated in FIGS. 2A and 2B, each cooling apparatus is comprised of three modules: a heat exchanger 218, 258 mounted in contact with the CPU microprocessor 214, 254; a chiller module 220, 260; and a pump module 222, 262. Each heat exchanger 218, 258 is mounted so as to be thermally coupled to a CPU microprocessor 214, 254 and replaces a conventional heat sink such as those shown in FIGS. 1A and 1B. The details of the manner in which the heat exchangers 218, 258 are mounted are described below. The chiller module 220, 260 and the pump module 222, 262 are mounted to the case of the PC 210, 250 and connected together by a first section of tubing 224, 264. The chiller module 220, 260 is connected to the heat exchanger 218, 258 by a second section of tubing 226, 266. The heat exchanger 218, 258 is connected to the pump module 222, 262 by a third section of tubing 228, 268. In operation, fluid is pumped from the pump module 222, 262 through the chiller module 220, 260, then through the heat exchanger 218, 258, and finally returns to the pump module 222, 262. When the cooling apparatus is operating, chilled fluid passes through the heat exchanger 218, 258 so as to extract heat produced by the microprocessor 214, 254.
  • FIGS. 3A and 3B provide more detailed views of the heat exchangers 218, 258 as mounted on the microprocessors 214, 254 in FIGS. 2A and 2B. The upright heat exchanger 218 of FIG. 2A differs in several details from the horizontal heat exchanger 258 of FIG. 2B. Hence, each is described separately.
  • In FIG. 3A, the microprocessor 214 can be seen to be of the conventional flip-chip type comprising a die 310 mounted in a mounting package 312. The die 310 extends above the surrounding surface 313 of the mounting package 312 and provides a non-active surface 311 that is generally parallel to the surrounding surface 313. In this type of mounting, no thermal plate is provided as part of the microprocessor 214, it being intended that a heat sink will be installed directly in contact with the non-active surface 311. “Non-active surface” as used herein refers to the face of a die that does not have electrical contacts and that is normally exposed to cooling air flow or placed in contact with a heat sink or other means from removing heat from the die 310.
  • As illustrated in FIG. 3A, the upright heat exchanger 218 is comprised of a cuboid body 314 of a heat-conducting material such as copper, aluminum, or plastic that has a cuboid protrusion 316 extending from its bottom face 318. Optionally, the bottom face of the protrusion 316 may be a thin silver cap 319. As will be discussed in relation to FIGS. 4A-4E, the body 314 contains internal passages and chambers (not shown in FIG. 3A) through which a fluid may be circulated. The protrusion 316 ends in a face 320 (sometimes referred to as a surface herein), which should preferably be dimensionally substantially congruent with the non-active surface 311 of the die 310. Some of the advantages of the invention are reduced if the face 320 is not substantially congruent with the non-active surface 311. If the face 320 does not contact the entire non-active surface 311, then the rate at which heat can be transferred is reduced, although if for some reason the die is not uniformly hot, this may be desirable or at least tolerable. On the other hand, if the face 320 is larger than the non-active surface 311, the disadvantages of conventional liquid heat exchangers such as that shown in FIG. 1C begin to appear as the difference in size increases. An empirical approach should be used to applying the present invention to a particular microprocessor installation.
  • While the body 314 and the protrusion 316 are shown as cuboid in the drawings, they may be any convenient shape so long as the body 314, through which fluid is circulated, is separated from the microprocessor 214 by a sufficient distance and a face 320 is provided that is approximately dimensionally congruent with and conforms to the non-active surface 311 of the die 310. Further, in some circumstances the protrusion 316 may be eliminated or reduced to the silver cap 319. For example, in FIGS. 3C-3F a sample of some possible body shapes are shown. In those drawings, reference numerals correspond to those in FIG. 3A where there are corresponding elements. For example, in FIG. 3C, a spherical body 380 having no protrusion is shown; the face 320 is simply a flattened portion of the surface of the body 380. In FIG. 3D, an inverted truncated pyramidal body 382 is shown; the face 320 is provided by an optional silver cap 319 that is in effect a small protrusion. In FIG. 3E, a columnar body 384 is shown and in FIG. 3F, a truncated pyramidal body 386 is shown. In each case, appropriate internal passages (not shown) must be provided to circulate cooling fluid; a fluid inlet fitting 328 and a fluid outlet fitting 330 are shown in each drawing. Further, in FIG. 3A, the protrusion 316 could be cylindrical rather than rectangular in cross-section preferably ending in a face 320 that is approximately dimensionally congruent with and conforms to the non-active surface of the die 310.
  • One goal in designing the upright heat exchanger 218 is to provide means to conduct heat away from the die 310 and then transfer that heat to a fluid circulating through the body 314 of the upright heat exchanger 218. If a protrusion 316 is provided, it should preferably have a cross-sectional area that does not increase rapidly with distance from the die 310 and should be designed to transfer heat as efficiently as possible to the body 314, rather than to dissipate heat itself. Ideally the temperature should drop as little as possible from the non-active surface 311 to the body 314 so as to minimize the possibility of condensation forming on the protrusion 316 if the fluid circulating through the body 314 is chilled below the dew point of the ambient air. In other words, a heat-conducting path must be provided from the protrusion 316 to the circulating fluid. This path may be provided by the material out of which the upright heat exchanger 218 is formed, or by a heat pipe integrated into the upright heat exchanger 218, or by a thermoelectric heat pump placed between the die 310 and the body 314, possibly as a protrusion 316 from the body 314.
  • Preferably, the protrusion 316 should extend far enough from the microprocessor 214 so that the lower surface 318 of the body 314 is sufficiently distant from the surface 313 of the microprocessor 214 such that sufficient ambient air may circulate in the gap between them so as to substantially prevent condensation from forming on the surface 313 of the microprocessor 214 and from forming on and dripping from the body 314 when fluid is cooled below the dew point of the ambient air and circulated through the body 314. Just how far the fluid should be cooled depends upon how much heat needs to be conducted away from the die 310. The further the fluid is cooled, the more heat can be conducted away using the same sizes for components such as the pump module 222, 262 and the heat exchanger 218, 258. There is therefore an economic advantage in using colder fluid, but at some point the gap between the surface of the body 314 and the surface of the microprocessor 214 will no longer allow sufficient air circulation. Hence the distance that the protrusion 316 extends from the body 314 must be determined empirically based upon the amount of heat needed to be conducted away and the sizes of the components. As noted above, a discrete protrusion may not be needed if the body 314 has a shape that provides a sufficient gap between the body 314 and the surface of the microprocessor 214. Several examples of this are shown in FIGS. 3C-3G.
  • The inventor has found that even a small distance between the lower surface 318 of the body 314 and the surface 313 of the microprocessor 214 will allow the fluid to be cooled further than is possible using conventional heat exchangers without sealing and insulation. For example, a distance of approximately 6 mm has been found to be sufficient to allow for cooling current CPU microprocessors using circulating fluid cooled to below the dew point of the ambient air.
  • It is critical that (1) condensation not be allowed to form on the microprocessor 214 or other components and, (2) if condensation does form on the upright heat exchanger 218, then it does not drip or otherwise run onto the microprocessor 214 or other components. In general, heat transfer from the socket 216, the motherboard 212, or the microprocessor 214 to the body 314 should not be allowed to lower the temperature of any portion of the socket 216, the motherboard 212, or the microprocessor 214 so as to allow condensation to form on them. One way to accomplish this is to keep the gap between the body 314 and the microprocessor 214 sufficiently large that convection cells will not establish themselves in that gap under normal operating conditions so as to cause convective heat transfer. Further, the body 314 should be sufficiently exposed to ambient air flow that if condensation does form on the body 314, it will evaporate without dripping onto the microprocessor 214 or other components.
  • The upright heat exchanger 218 is held in place so that the face 320 of the protrusion 316 is thermally coupled to the die 310 by a clamping arrangement formed from a plastic bar 322, two stainless steel spring clips 324, and a bolt 326. The spring clips 324 hook under opposite sides of the socket 216 and extend upward to attach to opposite ends of the plastic bar 322. The plastic bar 322 is provided with an opening aligned with the center of the die 310 that is threaded to accept the bolt 326. The upright heat exchanger 218 is installed by placing the face 320 of the protrusion 316, preferably coated with thermal grease, against the non-active surface of the die 310 and then tightening the bolt 326 until the bolt 326 contacts the upright heat exchanger 218. The use of a plastic bar 322 minimizes the possibility that excessive pressure will be applied to the die 310 by tightening the bolt 326, because the plastic bar 322 will break if too much pressure is applied.
  • As illustrated in FIG. 3A, the upright heat exchanger 218 is also provided with a fluid inlet fitting 328 and a fluid outlet fitting 330. When installed in the PC 210 shown in FIG. 2A, the tubing indicated by reference numeral 226 is connected to the fluid inlet fitting 328 and the tubing indicated by reference numeral 228 is connected to the fluid outlet fitting 330.
  • Also illustrated in FIG. 3A is a screw-in plug 332 and a nylon washer 334. The top of the body 314 is provided with a threaded filler opening (not shown in FIG. 3A), which is threaded to accept the screw-in plug 332. The purpose of the threaded filler opening is discussed below, but when assembled, the nylon washer 334 is placed over the opening and the screw-in plug 332 screwed into the opening to cause the nylon washer 334 to seal the opening. The head of the screw-in plug 332 is indented so as to accept the end of the bolt 326 and align the upright heat exchanger 218 while the bolt 326 is being tightened.
  • In FIG. 3B, the microprocessor 254 can be seen to be of the conventional flip-chip type having a die 350 mounted in a mounting package 352. The die 350 extends above the surrounding surface 353 of the mounting package 352 and provides a non-active surface 351 that is generally parallel to the surrounding surface 353. In this type of mounting, no thermal plate is provided as part of the microprocessor 254, it being intended that a heat sink will be installed directly in contact with the non-active surface 351.
  • As illustrated in FIG. 3B, the horizontal heat exchanger 258 is comprised of a cuboid body 354 of copper that has a cuboid protrusion 356 extending from a face 358 adjacent and parallel to the non-active surface 351 of the die 350. As will be discussed in relation to FIGS. 5A and 5B, the body 354 contains internal passages and chambers through which a fluid may be circulated. The protrusion 356 ends in a face 360 (sometimes referred to as a surface herein), which should preferably be dimensionally substantially congruent with and conform to the non-active surface 351 of the die 350. Some of the advantages of the invention are reduced if the face 360 is not substantially congruent with the surface of the die 350. If the face 360 does not contact the entire surface of the die 350, then the rate at which heat can be transferred is reduced, although if for some reason the die 350 is not uniformly hot, this may be desirable or at least tolerable. On the other hand, if the face 360 is larger than the surface of the die 350, the disadvantages of current liquid heat exchangers such as that shown in FIG. 1C begin to appear as the difference in size increases. An empirical approach should be used to applying the present invention to a particular microprocessor installation.
  • The discussion above regarding variant body shapes and design goals for the upright heat exchanger 218 applies as well to the horizontal heat exchanger 258.
  • The horizontal heat exchanger 258 is held in place so that the face 360 of the protrusion 356 is thermally coupled to the die 350 by a clamping arrangement formed from a plastic bar 362, two stainless steel spring clips 364, and a bolt 366. The spring clips 364 hook under opposite sides of the socket 256 and extend outward to attach to opposite ends of the plastic bar 362. The plastic bar 362 is provided with an opening aligned with the center of the die 350 and threaded to accept the bolt 366. The horizontal heat exchanger 258 is installed by placing the face 360 of the protrusion 356, preferably coated with thermal grease, against the non-active surface of the die 350 and then tightening the bolt 366 until the bolt 366 contacts the horizontal heat exchanger 258. The face of the body 354 may be indented so as to accept the end of the bolt 366 and align the horizontal heat exchanger 258 while the bolt 366 is being tightened. The use of plastic minimizes the possibility that excessive pressure will be applied to the die 350 by tightening the bolt 366, as the plastic bar 362 will break if too much pressure is applied.
  • The horizontal heat exchanger 258 is also provided with a fluid outlet fitting 370 and a fluid inlet fitting 368, which is not visible in FIG. 3B as it is behind fluid outlet fitting 370 in the view provided in FIG. 3B (see FIG. 5A). When the horizontal heat exchanger 258 is installed in a PC 250, the tubing indicated by reference numeral 266 is connected to the fluid inlet fitting 368 and the tubing indicated by reference numeral 228 is connected to fluid outlet fitting 370.
  • An alternative heat exchanger is shown in FIGS. 3G and 3H and indicated generally by reference numeral 390. The heat exchanger 390 has a columnar body 392 similar in shape to the columnar body 384 shown in FIG. 3E, but with cooling provided by an exterior winding of tubing 394 rather than an internal passage for circulating cooling fluid. The exterior winding of tubing 394 has an inlet 396 and an outlet 398 corresponding to the fluid inlet fitting 328 and the fluid outlet 330 fitting of the upright heat exchanger 218 of FIG. 3A, respectively. The same design criteria apply to the combination of the body 392 and the exterior winding of tubing 394 shown in FIGS. 3G and 3H as apply to the body 314 and the protrusion 316 shown in FIG. 3A. Specifically, if that combination 392/394 were used in place of the upright heat exchanger 218 of FIGS. 2A and 3A, the exterior winding of tubing 394 should preferably be located so as to reduce heat transfer from the socket 216, the motherboard 212, or the microprocessor 214 to the exterior winding of tubing 394 so that the temperature of any portion of the socket 216, motherboard 212, or the microprocessor 214 would not drop to the point at which condensation would form on them. Further, the exterior winding of tubing 394 should be sufficiently exposed to ambient air flow that if condensation does form on the tubing 394, the condensation will evaporate without dripping onto the microprocessor 214 or other components. Design dimensions are best determined empirically.
  • The body 392 may be either solid, preferably copper, or may be constructed as a heat pipe as shown in FIG. 3H. If so, the body 392 may be bored axially through from its bottom 381 to close to its top surface 383 forming a bored out chamber 385. A silver cap 387 may be joined to the bottom 381 as shown in FIG. 3G. A filler opening 389 passes from the chamber through the top surface 383. The filler opening 389 is threaded to receive a screw-in plug 391. The body 392 may be used as a heat pipe if the chamber 385 is evacuated, partially filled with a mixture of approximately 50% acetone, 35% isopropyl alcohol, and 15% water, and the screw-in plug 391, fitted with a nylon washer 393, is tightened to compress the nylon washer 393, thereby sealing the chamber 385. It should be noted that the heat pipe configuration illustrated in FIGS. 3G and 3H is optional; a solid body 392 may also be used.
  • As illustrated in FIG. 4A, the upright heat exchanger 218 is formed from three sections, a central section 410 from which protrudes a protruding portion 412 which together with the silver cap 319 form the protrusion 316 of FIG. 3A, an inlet side section 414, and an outlet side section 416. The three sections are bored through in the pattern shown in FIG. 4A and FIGS. 4B, 4C, and 4D. An inlet end cap 418 covers the inlet side section 414 and an outlet end cap 420 covers the outlet side section 416. When in operation, fluid entering the inlet side section 414 through the fluid inlet fitting 328 flows in a generally spiral pattern 610 as shown in FIG. 4E and leaves the upright heat exchanger 218 through the fluid outlet fitting 330.
  • As illustrated in FIG. 4C, the central section 410 has an axial bore or chamber 510 that extends from the face 511 of the protruding portion 412 through the central section 410 nearly to the top surface 513 of the central section 410. A threaded filler opening 422 passes from the chamber 510 through the top surface of the central section 410. The threaded filler opening 422 is threaded to receive the screw-in plug 332. When the silver cap 319 is joined to the lower face 511 of the protruding portion 412 and the screw-in plug 332 tightened to compress the nylon washer 334, the chamber 510 is sealed and may be used as a heat pipe if evacuated and partially filled with a mixture of approximately 50% acetone, 35% isopropyl alcohol, and 15% water.
  • FIG. 5A and FIG. 5B illustrate the structure of the horizontal heat exchanger 258 in more detail. The horizontal heat exchanger 258 does not include a heat pipe such as that provided by the chamber 510 in the upright heat exchanger 218, nor does it include a silver cap 319. It comprises a central block 450 bored through by nine parallel bores that are laterally connected in the manner shown in FIG. 5B to form a passage from the fluid inlet fitting 368 to the fluid outlet fitting 370. End caps 452, 454 cover the faces of the central block 450 through which the central block 450 is bored. The end cap indicated by reference numeral 454 covers the face of the central block 450 closest to the die 350. A protrusion 356 is attached to the outer face of end cap 454. The end cap indicated by reference numeral 452 covers the other face of the central block 450 and may have a small indentation on its outer face to assist in aligning horizontal heat exchanger 258 during installation.
  • While the upright heat exchanger 218 and the horizontal heat exchanger 258 have been shown in the drawings and described as intended for installation in an upright and a horizontal orientation, respectively, those skilled in the art will understand that the horizontal heat exchanger 258 could be installed in an upright orientation and the upright heat exchanger 218 could be installed in a horizontal orientation. However, in the case of the upright heat exchanger 218, suitable wicking (not shown) would then have to be provided in the heat pipe chamber 510, as gravity would not cause condensed liquid to flow back toward the protrusion 412. The heat pipe chamber 510 and more elaborate construction of the upright heat exchanger 218 may not be warranted in all cases. Hence the designer may wish to use the horizontal heat exchanger 258 wherever a simple, less expensive heat exchanger is desired, in both horizontal and upright orientations.
  • In both the upright heat exchanger 218 and the horizontal heat exchanger 258, a passage provided for the circulation of a fluid is comprised of a series of cylindrical chambers connected by constrictions. For example, in FIG. 5B fluid entering the horizontal heat exchanger 258 through fluid inlet fitting 368 passes through nine chambers 451, 453, 456, 458, 460, 462, 464, 466, 468 before leaving through fluid outlet fitting 370. Each pair of successive chambers is connected by a constriction. The constrictions in FIG. 5B are indicated by reference numerals 470, 472, 474, 476, 478, 480, 482, and 484. For example, in FIG. 5B constriction 470 connects the first pair of chambers 451, 453. The chambers 451, 453, 456, 458, 460, 462, 464, 466, 468 pass completely through section 450 and may be formed by boring through solid copper blocks, although casting or other methods may be used depending upon the material used. The constrictions also pass completely through the section 450, so that each of the chambers connected by the constriction has an opening in its interior wall passing into the constriction having a boundary defined by two lines along the interior wall of the chamber that run parallel to the axis of the chamber that are connected by segments of the edges of the circular ends of the chamber. The area of the opening should preferably by approximately equal to the cross-section area of the fluid inlet fitting 368 and the fluid outlet fitting 370.
  • While the chambers 451, 453, 456, 458, 460, 462, 464, 466, 468 shown in FIG. 5B and the chambers shown in FIGS. 4B and 4D are drawn so that the axes of successive pairs of chambers are spaced apart by a distance that is somewhat greater than the diameter of one chamber, it is also within the scope of the invention to space the axes of successive chambers closer to each other or farther apart. For example, in FIGS. 4A and 5A, the axes of successive chambers are close enough to each other that the constrictions between successive chambers are formed by the overlapping of the chambers. One method for forming such chambers and constrictions is to bore a block of material so that the center of each bore is closer to the next successive bore than the diameter of the bore.
  • The inventor has found that the one-piece fluid heater exchanger indicated generally by reference numeral 610 in FIGS. 6A-6C is less costly to manufacture than the fluid heat exchangers 218, 258 shown in FIGS. 3A and 3B and described above and may be used in place of fluid heat exchangers 218, 258 in many applications. However, the same design principles apply. The heat exchanger 610 shown in FIGS. 6A-6C is die cast in one piece from an aluminum alloy such as 1106 alloy or 6101 alloy using processes that are known to those skilled in the art. That process is not within the scope of the invention, although the arrangement and shapes of the internal passages are within the scope of the invention. The heat exchanger 610 shown in FIGS. 6A-6C might also be formed by molding heat-conducting plastic material.
  • The heat exchanger 610 shown in FIGS. 6A, 6B, and 6C comprises a cuboid body 612, a protrusion 614, an inlet barb 616, and an outlet barb 618, all of which are die cast as a unitary structure. The protrusion 614 provided complies with the design guidelines discussed above, extending from the lower face 617 of the body 612 and having a face or surface 619 for coupling thermally to the non-active surface of a die. The perpendicular distance between the plane of the surface 619 and the lower face 617 is approximately 6.25 mm. The four sidewalls of the protrusion 614, the face of one of which is indicated by reference numeral 621, are concave with a radius of curvature of approximately 6.25 mm, resulting in the sidewalls 621 being perpendicular to the plane of the surface 619 at their line of contact with it. The inventor has found that for currently available microprocessors, this perpendicular distance and sidewall design works. However, an empirical approach is recommended if the circulating fluid is chilled to lower temperatures. For example, steeper sidewalls, greater perpendicular distance, or both, may be needed.
  • As illustrated in FIG. 6C, inside the body 612 a passage 620 through which chilled fluid may be circulated is provided. The passage 620 connects the opening in the inlet barb 616 to the opening in the outlet barb 618. The passage 620 comprises a series of nine generally spherical chambers connected by eight cylindrical constrictions. FIGS. 6D-6K provide a set of cross-sections showing the shapes and relative diameters of the spherical chambers and cylindrical constrictions. The transitions between the spherical chambers and constrictions are smooth. Because the body 612 and the protrusion 614 are formed as a unitary structure from heat-conducting material, a heat-conducting path is provided from the surface 619 to the material of the body 612 adjacent the passage 620 so that heat may flow from the die to fluid circulated through the passage 620.
  • A pump module 222, 262 that may be constructed from commercially available components is shown in detail in FIG. 7A. The pump module 222, 262 generally comprises a conventional submersible 12-volt AC pump 710 installed inside a conventional tank 712. The tank 712 has a screw-on lid 714, an inlet fitting 716, an outlet fitting 718, and a compression fitting 720. The outlet 722 of the pump 712 is connected to the outlet fitting 718 by tubing 724. The inlet 726 of the pump 712 is open to the interior of the tank 712 as is the inlet fitting 716. The power cord 721 of the pump 710 is lead through the compression fitting 720 to a suitable power supply outside the case of the PC 210, 250, or alternatively an inverter (not shown) may be provided inside the case of the PC 210, 250 to provide 12 volt AC from the DC power supply of the PC 210, 250. The tank 712 may be initially filled with fluid by removing the screw-on lid 714. The preferred fluid is 50% propylene glycol and 50% water. The tank 712 should be grounded to reduce the risk of a static electrical charge building up and causing sparking. Preferably this should be accomplished by the use of a tank 712 composed of metalized plastic, although a metal plate connected to the case of the PC 210, 250 may be used.
  • In FIGS. 7B, 7C, and 7D, a variant pump module indicated generally by reference numeral 750 is shown that includes a pump having a center-tapped motor winding and an inverter. The inverter is disclosed in a copending, commonly-owned application entitled “Inverter” having application Ser. No. 10/016,678, which is incorporated herein by reference. It generally comprises a submersible 20-volt AC pump 752 installed inside a tank 754. The tank 754 has a lid 756, an inlet fitting 757, and an outlet fitting 759. The outlet 758 of the pump 752 is connected to the outlet fitting 759 by heater pipe 760. The inlet 762 of the pump 752 is open to the interior of the tank 750 as is the inlet fitting 757. A power cord from the DC power supply of the PC 210, 250 may be lead through an access opening 764 to connect to an inverter 766. The tank 754 may be initially filled with fluid by removing the lid 756. The preferred fluid is 50% propylene glycol and 50% water. The tank 754 should be grounded to reduce the risk of a static electrical charge building up and causing sparking. Preferably this should be accomplished by the use of a tank 754 composed of metalized plastic.
  • Two basic designs for the chiller module 220, 260 are shown in the drawings. FIGS. 8 and 9 illustrate a copper-finned chiller 810, while FIGS. 10-13 illustrate a cylindrical aluminum-finned chiller 1010. FIGS. 14-16 illustrate a variant of the cylindrical aluminum-finned chiller 1010. Both chiller designs include a chiller heat exchanger 814 shown in FIG. 17 or may use the chiller heat exchanger 1810 shown in FIGS. 18A-18J in place of the chiller heat exchanger 814 shown in FIG. 17.
  • As shown in FIGS. 8 and 9, the copper-finned chiller 810 generally comprises a housing 812 for mounting in alignment with an opening 912 in a wall 910 of the case of the PC 210, 250, a conventional 12 volt DC fan 914, a chiller heat exchanger 814 having a chiller inlet fitting 816 and a chiller outlet fitting 818, two conventional thermoelectric heat pumps 820, 822, which are connected to the power supply of the PC 210, 250 (connection not shown), two copper base plates 824, 826, and a plurality of fins 828. An arrow 916 in FIG. 9 shows the direction of airflow. When installed in the case of the PC 210, 250, the chiller inlet fitting 816 is connected to the tubing indicated by reference numerals 224, 264 and the chiller outlet fitting 818 is connected to the tubing indicated by reference numerals 226, 266.
  • The chiller heat exchanger 814, essentially a block through which a chilled fluid may be circulated, is discussed in the detail below in reference to FIG. 17. In the copper-finned chiller 810, the chiller heat exchanger 814 is sandwiched between the cold sides of the two thermoelectric heat pumps 820, 822 so that a large proportion of the surface area of the chiller heat exchanger 814 is thermally coupled to the cold sides of the thermoelectric heat pumps 820, 822. The assembly of the chiller heat exchanger 814 and the thermoelectric heat pumps 820, 822 is in turn sandwiched between the two copper base plates 824, 826 so that the hot sides of the thermoelectric heat pumps 820, 822 are thermally coupled to the copper base plates 824, 826, respectively. The sides of the copper base plates 824, 826 that are not thermally coupled to the hot sides of the thermoelectric heat pumps 820, 822 are joined by soldering or brazing to a plurality of parallel spaced apart fins 828 that are generally perpendicular to the sides of the copper base plates 824, 826.
  • As illustrated in FIG. 9, a buffer zone 918 is provided between the fan 914 and the finned assembly, indicated generally by reference numeral 920, that includes the chiller heat exchanger 814, the thermoelectric heat pumps 820, 822, the base plates 824, 826, and the fins 828. The purpose of the buffer zone 918 is to allow air flow from the circular outlet of the fan 914 to reach the corners of the finned assembly 920, which has a square cross-section as shown in FIG. 8,.
  • Optionally, as shown in FIG. 8, a plurality of parallel spaced apart fins 830 may be joined to a portion of the side of a copper base plate 824 that is thermally coupled to the hot side of the thermoelectric heat pump 820, but that is not in contact with the hot side of the thermoelectric heat pump 820. Also optionally, a plurality of parallel spaced apart fins 832 may be joined to a portion of the side of the copper base plate 826 that is thermally coupled to the hot side of the thermoelectric heat pump 822, but that is not in contact with the hot side of the thermoelectric heat pump 822. If the fins 830 and 832 are omitted, then the space that they would otherwise occupy should be blocked so as to force airflow to pass between the fins 828.
  • In operation, the copper-finned chiller 810 chills fluid that has picked up heat from the microprocessor 214, 254 and is pumped through the chiller heat exchanger 814. The cold sides of the two thermoelectric heat pumps 820, 822 absorb heat from the chiller heat exchanger 814 and pump it to their respective hot sides. The copper base plates 824, 826 in turn transfer that heat to the fins 828, 830, 832. Air, forced between the fins 828, 830, 832 by the fan 914 picks up heat from the fins 828, 830, 832 and carries that heat out of the case of the PC 210, 250.
  • The cylindrical aluminum-finned chiller 1010 shown in FIGS. 10, 11, and 12 may be used in place of the copper-finned chiller 810. The basic difference between the two designs is in the use of four aluminum extrusions 1012, 1014, 1016, 1018 to replace the fins 828, 830, 832 of the copper-finned chiller 810. The chiller heat exchanger 814 and the two thermoelectric heat pumps 820, 822 used in the copper-finned chiller 810 may be used in the cylindrical aluminum-finned chiller 1010 and are indicated by the same reference numerals. Two copper heat spreader plates 1020, 1022 correspond generally to the copper base plates 824, 826 of the copper-finned chiller 810.
  • As shown in FIGS. 10-13, the aluminum-finned chiller 1010 generally comprises a cylindrical housing 1030 that may be attached to a wall 1110 of the case of the PC 210, 250 in alignment with an opening 1112 in the wall 1110, a conventional 12 volt DC fan 1114, the chiller heat exchanger 814 having a chiller inlet fitting 816 (visible only in FIG. 10) and a chiller outlet fitting 818, the two thermoelectric heat pumps 820, 822, which are connected to the power supply of the PC 210, 250 (connection not shown), two copper heat spreader plates 1020, 1022, and the four aluminum extrusions 1012, 1014, 1016, 1018. An arrow 1116 in FIG. 11 shows the direction of airflow. When installed in the case of the PC 210, 250, the chiller inlet fitting 816 is connected to the tubing indicated by reference numerals 224, 264 and the chiller outlet fitting 818 is connected to tubing indicated by reference numerals 226, 266.
  • As illustrated in FIG. 11, a buffer zone 1118 is provided between the fan 1114 and the finned assembly, indicated generally by reference numeral 1120, that includes the chiller heat exchanger 814, the thermoelectric heat pumps 820, 822, the heat spreader plates 1020, 1022, and the aluminum extrusions 1012, 1014, 1016, 1018. The buffer zone 1118 shown in FIG. 11 is much smaller than the buffer zone 918 shown in FIG. 9 as both the fan 1114 and the finned assembly 1120 has approximately the same circular cross-sectional area so that little or no buffer zone 1118 is needed to provide airflow to the finned assembly 1120. However, the buffer zone 1118 provides space for the tubing indicated by reference numerals 224, 264 and tubing indicated by reference numerals 226, 266 to connect to the chiller heat exchanger 1024. Reduction in the size of the buffer zone provides a more compact chiller.
  • The chiller heat exchanger 814, essentially a block through which a fluid to be chilled can be circulated, is discussed in the detail below in reference to FIG. 17. In the aluminum-finned chiller 1010, the chiller heat exchanger 814 is sandwiched between the two thermoelectric heat pumps 820, 822 so that a large proportion of its surface area is thermally coupled to the cold side of one or the other of the thermoelectric heat pumps 820, 822. The assembly of the chiller heat exchanger 814 and the thermoelectric heat pumps 820, 822 is in turn sandwiched between the two copper heat spreader plates 1020, 1022 so that the hot sides of the thermoelectric heat pumps 820, 822 are thermally coupled to one or the other of the copper heat spreader plates 1020, 1022. The four aluminum extrusions 1012, 1014, 1016, 1018 take the place of the fins 828, 830, 832 of the copper-finned chiller 810, and are preferred because they may be extruded as units rather than joined by soldering or brazing to the copper base plates 824, 826 as in the case of the fins 828, 830, 832 of the copper-finned chiller 810 and are formed from less expensive material (aluminum, rather than copper).
  • Aluminum extrusions 1012, 1014, 1016, 1018 are actually all identical, being merely rotated about a horizontal or vertical plane. Therefore, FIG. 13, which is a cross-section through the aluminum extrusion 1012, illustrates all of them. As illustrated in FIG. 13, the aluminum extrusion 1012 comprises a base 1310 from which a plurality of fins 1312 protrude.
  • In operation, the aluminum-finned chiller 1010 chills fluid that has picked up heat from the microprocessor 214, 254 and is pumped through the chiller heat exchanger 814. The cold sides of the two thermoelectric heat pumps 820, 822 absorb heat from the chiller heat exchanger 814 and pump it to their respective hot sides. The copper heat spreader plates 1020, 1022 in turn transfer that heat to the four aluminum extrusions 1012, 1014, 1016, 1018. Air, forced between the fins 1312 by the fan 1114 picks up heat from the fins 1312 and carries that heat out of the case of the PC 210, 250.
  • FIGS. 14, 15, and 16 illustrate a variant, indicated generally by reference numeral 1011 of the aluminum-finned chiller 1010 of FIGS. 10-13 in which the copper heat spreader plates 1020, 1022 are omitted and the four aluminum extrusions 1012, 1014, 1016, 1018 are replaced by two identical aluminum extrusions 1015 and 1017. FIG. 14 corresponds to FIG. 10, FIG. 15 to FIG. 11, and FIG. 16 to FIG. 13. The elevation view of the aluminum-finned chiller 1010 provided in FIG. 12 is identical for the variant 1011. Aluminum extrusion 1017 is shown in cross-section in FIG. 16. As illustrated in FIG. 16, the aluminum extrusion 1017 comprises a base 1610 from which a plurality of fins 1612 protrude. The base 1610 is thicker than base 1310; the extra thickness replacing the copper heat spreader plate 1020.
  • In operation, the variant aluminum-finned chiller 1011 chills fluid that has picked up heat from the microprocessor 214, 254 and is pumped through the chiller heat exchanger 814. The cold sides of the two thermoelectric heat pumps 820, 822 absorb heat from the chiller heat exchanger 814 and pump it to their respective hot sides. The hot sides of the two thermoelectric heat pumps 820, 822 in turn transfer that heat to the two aluminum extrusions 1015, 1017. Air, forced between the fins 1612 by the fan 1114 picks up heat from the fins 1612 and carries that heat out of the case of the PC 210, 250.
  • If desired, a chiller such as for example any of those described with reference to any of FIGS. 8 to 16 may be used to accept heat input to the thermoelectric heat pumps from sources other than a liquid heat exchanger, if desired. For example, rather than providing a liquid heat exchanger as the heat input surface, the cold side of a thermoelectric cooler may be in direct thermal communication with a heat generating component such as a microprocessor, transistor, phet, etc. or a conductive material such as a heat spreader plate positioned between heat generating component and the thermoelectric cooler or through other fluid heat exchange components such as a heat pipe, wherein the condenser portion thereof may be thermally coupled to the cold side of the thermoelectric cooler.
  • Likewise, if desired, a chiller such as for example any of those described with reference to any of FIGS. 8 to 16 may employ heat exchanging surfaces other than finned structures for use with air as the heat exchanging coolant. For example, heat exchanging surfaces, such as finned structures or other forms, cooled by liquid coolants may be used, such as may be more commonly termed a fluid heat exchanger formed to accept a flow of liquid. Examples of various fluid heat exchangers are described throughout this application.
  • The chiller may be positioned inside the housing of a computer or other electronic or electric device as disclosed previously or may be positioned externally as an alternative. For example, the chiller may operate internally or on an exposed surface of a computer or electric or electronic device, as desired.
  • With reference to FIG. 16A, for example, a chiller 1711 may include a heat exchanging surface in the form of a finned structure 1712 thermally coupled to a thermoelectric cooler 1722, which has a cold side 1722 a that is in turn is thermally coupled to a condenser portion 1714 a of a heat pipe 1714. The heat pipe may be in thermal communication with an electronics heat source 1754 such as a microprocessor, a phet, a transistor, etc. of a computer or other electronic or electric device. As will be appreciated, a heat pipe operates by phase change of a heat transfer, working medium, arrows F, between the heat pipe's evaporator portion 1714 b and condenser portion 1714 a. Heat pipes generally include a closed envelope in which heat transfer working medium is contained. The heat transfer is achieved by vaporization of the working medium at the evaporator portion by action of heat energy input and condensation of the gaseous working medium at condenser portion 1714 a, which is cooler in this case due to its thermally conductive contact with the cold side of thermoelectric cooler 1722 that permits dissipation of the heat energy. A circuit is set up within a heat pipe wherein condensed working medium moves from the condenser portion to the evaporator portion by gravity flow or wicking action.
  • As described herein, a chiller may be used to cool heat generating components on a electronic printed circuit board, which for example may include a video card, a mother board, a sound card, a physics card or other purpose built cards. In another embodiment shown in FIGS. 16B to 16D, a video card 2052 is shown for example which may be installed in an expansion slot of a computer and a chiller 2011 is mounted thereon for cooling hot spots on the card. In the illustrated embodiment for example, chiller 2011 is mounted to cool a microprocessor 2054, for example a GPU, on the card's board 2056.
  • Card 2052 includes a spreader plate 2014 thermally coupled on a top surface of, to accept heat energy from, the microprocessor 2054. Heat spreader plate 2014 includes a first surface 2014 a thermally coupled to an exposed surface 2054 a of the microprocessor and a second surface 2014 b exposed for thermal communication to the chiller. The heat spreader plate may be formed of a conductive material such as copper or aluminum in order to conduct thermal energy from first surface 2014 a to second surface 2014 b. First surface 2014 a may be raised, as shown, or recessed from the surrounding surface of the heat plate or may be coplanar therewith, as desired.
  • At least second surface 2014 b of the heat spreader plate has a surface area greater than the exposed surface of the microprocessor such that heat from the microprocessor is distributed over a greater surface area.
  • Card 2052 also carries a plurality of thermoelectric coolers 2022 with their cold sides 2022 a each thermally coupled to heat spreader plate 2014. When powered, the thermoelectric coolers conduct heat energy from their cold sides 2022 a to their warm sides 2022 b to conduct heat away from the heat spreader plate.
  • In the illustrated embodiment, three thermoelectric coolers are shown, but other numbers may be used as desired. The numbers of thermoelectric coolers may be selected with consideration as to the heat energy which is desired to be handled.
  • By combining unique design features, thermoelectric heat transfer may be used to efficiently cool electronic components. In one embodiment, it is desired to spread the total heat transfer (Q) across one or more TECs to achieve a coefficient of performance (COP) of 2 or more. COP is the ratio of power used to the heat moved: COP=Q1/W. This may be achieved by limiting the input power for the thermoelectric coolers to below 40% of the rated Qmax.
  • Although a single thermoelectric cooler may be considered for installation on a card, a single thermoelectric cooler may not operate in a desireably efficient manner with respect to issues of thermal density and the ratio of power consumption against thermal transfer. A single thermoelectric cooler may have to be driven at such a high thermal transfer that it may induce condensation. Using a plurality of thermoelectric coolers operated at input power below 40% of the rated Qmax, such as at 25 to 125 watts, for example of 40 to 100 watts or possibly 40 to 60 watts, permits reasonably efficient heat dissipation from components with very high thermal density with reasonable power input and few concerns regarding condensation.
  • Additional advantages of this technology combined with multiple TECs is the increased surface area to dissipate the heat from the hot side of the TEC. The total heat dissipation can be done more easily with a heat exchanger.
  • The warm sides of the thermoelectric coolers 2022 are then thermally coupled to a heat exchange surface, which may include air-cooled fins, a heat pipe, etc., but in this embodiment includes a fluid heat exchanger 2023 formed to include a heat spreader bottom surface in thermal communication with heat exchanging ribs 2023 a, which extend into a liquid tight inner chamber 2023 b. Heat exchanging liquid passes through barbs 2016, 2018 and passes through chamber 2023 b to accept heat energy from the ribs.
  • The heat spreader plate fluid 2014, thermoelectric coolers 2022 and heat exchanger 2023 may be secured to card 2054 by clamps 2056 and fasteners 2058 or other means as desired.
  • In some embodiments, further heat dissipating devices may be used with card 2052 such as a finned heat exchanger 2059 that operates to dissipate heat from other components on the card via air flow through fins 2059 a.
  • Another embodiment of a chiller 2111 is shown in FIGS. 16E and 16F. In that illustrated embodiment, chiller 2111 is included as part of a laptop cooling device 2157 operable to assist with the cooling of a laptop 2159 if one is placed thereon. Laptop cooling device 2157 may include a support plate 2161 including a top surface 2161 a and a lower surface 2161 b. The top surface is formed to support a laptop thereon and at least a portion thereof is selected to act as a heat sink. Thus, for example at least a portion of the top surface may include a heat conductive material 2163 capable of absorbing heat energy from a laptop and from air passing over the surface, as will be appreciated by the further description hereinbelow. Top surface 2161 a may include a plurality of small surface undulations 2165 for example in the form of ribs, protrusions, bumps, etc. The surface undulations increase the surface area of the heat conductive material on the top surface and may also create turbulence in, and thereby increase residence time of, air flowing between the lap top and the top surface.
  • Heat conductive material 2163 of the top surface extends to the lower surface and is thermally coupled to the cold side of at least one, and in the illustrated embodiment two, thermoelectric coolers 2122 mounted on lower surface 2161 b. The heat conductive material 2163 on lower surface creates a form of heat spreader plate to conduct heat energy into contact with the thermoelectric coolers.
  • A heat exchanging surface, such as a finned structure 2112, a fluid heat exchanger or heat pipe is thermally coupled to the warm side of the thermoelectric coolers to accept and dissipate the heat conducted away from the top surface. In the illustrated embodiment, the heat exchanging surface includes a finned structure through which cooling air may flow. In one embodiment, a fan 2114 is mounted to move (push or draw) air through the finned structure.
  • In operation, the laptop cooling device may support a laptop, with the underside of the laptop overlying top surface 2161 a of the support plate. Many laptops include cooling systems that draw air in through air vents opened on or adjacent the underside of the laptop. The underside of the laptop also tends to be an area of the laptop that becomes warm during operation. As such, the laptop cooling device may operate in two ways. First, heat conductive material 2163 may act as a heat sink for heat emitted from the laptop underside and also, heat conductive material, which remains in a cooled state from operation of the thermoelectric cooler may also act to cool air passing between the laptop and top surface 2161 a toward the laptop vents.
  • Heat energy drawn from the top surface by thermoelectric cooler may be dissipated through chiller 2111 and fan 2114.
  • Although not shown, the lap top cooling device may include a housing extending about various components thereof. For example, a housing may extend about chiller and fan, which may include vents for passage therethrough of air. A housing may also or alternately extend about the edges of top surface 2161 a.
  • As illustrated in FIG. 17, the structure of the chiller heat exchanger 814 is, in general, similar to that of the horizontal heat exchanger 258 described above in relation to FIGS. 5A and 5B; the primary differences being that no protrusion 356 is provided and there are 20 chambers. Chiller heat exchanger 814 comprises a central block 1410 bored through by 20 bores that are laterally connected in the manner shown in FIG. 17 to form a passage from the chiller inlet fitting 816 to the chiller outlet fitting 818. An end cap 1412, 1414 covers each face of the central block 1410. A passage is provided for the circulation of a fluid that is comprised of a series of cylindrical chambers, two representative ones of which are referred to by reference numerals 1416 and 1418, connected by constrictions, a representative one of which is referred to by reference numeral 1420.
  • In FIG. 17 fluid entering the chiller heat exchanger 814 through the chiller inlet fitting 816 passes through the 20 chambers before leaving through the chiller outlet fitting 818. Each pair of successive chambers is connected by a constriction. For example, in FIG. 17 the constriction 1420 connects the pair of chambers 1416 and 1418. The chambers pass completely through the central block 1410 and may be formed by boring through a solid copper block, although casting or other methods may be used depending upon the material used. The constrictions, such as constriction 1420 also pass completely through the central block 1410, so that each of the chambers connected by the constriction has an opening in its interior wall passing into the constriction having a boundary defined by two lines along the interior wall of the chamber that run parallel to the axis of the chamber that are connected by segments of the edges of the circular ends of the chamber. The area of the opening should preferably by approximately equal to the cross-section area of the chiller inlet fitting 816 and the chiller outlet fitting 818.
  • While the chambers shown in FIG. 17 are shown so that the axes of most of the successive pairs of chambers are spaced apart by slightly less than the diameter of one chamber so that most of the constrictions between successive chambers are formed by the overlapping of the chambers, it is also within the scope of the invention to space the axes of successive chambers farther apart, as shown in FIG. 5B. One method for forming such chambers and constrictions is to bore a block of material so that the center of each bore is closer to the next successive bore than the diameter of the bore.
  • While twenty chambers are shown in FIG. 17, more or fewer chambers could be used and are within the scope of this invention.
  • As in the case of the one-piece fluid heater exchanger 610 shown in FIGS. 6A-6C, the inventor has found that the one-piece chiller heat exchanger indicated generally by reference numeral 1810 in FIGS. 18A-18C is less costly to manufacture than the chiller heat exchanger 814 shown in FIG. 17 and described above and may be used in place of heat exchanger 814 in many applications. However, the same design principles apply. The heat exchanger 1810 shown in FIGS. 6A-6C is die cast in one piece from an aluminum alloy such as 1106 alloy or 6101 alloy using processes that are known to those skilled in the art. That process is not within the scope of the invention, although the arrangement and shapes of the internal passages are within the scope of the invention. The heat exchanger 1810 shown in FIGS. 18A-18C might also be formed by molding heat conducting plastic material.
  • The heat exchanger 1810 shown in FIGS. 18A, 18B, and 18C comprises a body 1812, an inlet barb 1816, and an outlet barb 1818, all of which are die cast as a single unitary structure. Inside the body 1812 a passage 1820 shown in FIG. 18C connects the opening in the inlet barb 1816 to the opening in the outlet barb 1818. The passage 1820 comprises a series of sixteen spherical chambers connected by fifteen cylindrical constrictions. More or fewer chambers could be used and are within the scope of this invention. FIGS. 18D-18J provide a set of cross-sections showing the shapes and relative diameters of the spherical chambers and cylindrical constrictions. The transitions between the spherical chambers and constrictions are smooth.
  • The inventor has found it advantageous to use the molded retainer shown in FIGS. 19A, 19B, and 19C for coupling the fluid heat exchanger 218, 258, 612 to a microprocessor. The molded retainer, generally indicated by reference numeral 1910, may be used instead of the plastic bar 322 and spring clips 324 in FIG. 3A and the plastic bar 362 and spring clips 364 shown in FIG. 3B. The molded retainer 1910 comprises a plate 1912 of plastic material having a front hook 1914 and a rear hook 1916 that extend perpendicularly from the plate 1912 and perform the same function as the spring clips 324, 364. Portions of the hooks 1914, 1916 near the ends that do not hook to the socket 216, 256 are embedded in the plate 1912 rather than fastened to the edges of the plate 1912 by screws as is the case in the plastic bar 322, 362 and spring clips 324, 364 shown in FIGS. 3A and 3B. Further, the ends of the hooks 1914 and 1916 that do not hook to the socket 216, 256 are bent back after they emerge from the plate 1912 and extend perpendicularly from the plate 1912 to form side brackets 1918. The side brackets 1918 extend far enough to restrain the body of the fluid heat exchanger from twisting. Two further side brackets 1920 each having a end molded into the plate 1912 are provided so that the body of the fluid heat exchanger is surrounded on all four sides by brackets 1918, 1920. The hooks 1914, 1918 and brackets 1918, 1920 are preferably made from 26 gauge sheet steel. As in the case of the plastic bar 322, 362, the plate 1912 is provided with an opening 1922 that is threaded to accept a bolt (not shown) that may be the same as the bolt shown in FIGS. 3A and 3B. The opening 1922 is located so that the bolt is aligned with the center of the die 210, 250 when the retainer is installed in place of the plastic bar 322, 362 shown in FIGS. 3A and 3B. The plastic used to form the plate 1912 may be acrylic, although other plastics or other material may be used. The material used and its thickness should be selected so that the plate 1912 will break if the bolt is over-tightened.
  • Those skilled in the art will understand that the invention may be used to cool electronic components such as graphics processors as well as microprocessors by adding additional fluid heat exchanger modules either in series or in parallel with the fluid heat exchanger used to cool the microprocessor. Similarly, multiprocessor computers can be cooled using multiple fluid heat exchangers.
  • Other embodiments will be apparent to those skilled in the art and, therefore, the invention is defined in the claims.

Claims (38)

1. A chiller for cooling an electronic device, comprising:
a thermoelectric cooler having a cool face and a warm face when connected to a power source;
a heat spreader plate; and
a heat exchanging surface,
said thermoelectric cooler, said heat spreader plate and said heat exchanging surface all thermally coupled to dissipate heat energy from a heat input surface to said heat exchanging surface.
2. The chiller as defined in claim 1, wherein the cool face of the thermoelectric cooler is thermally coupled to the heat input surface.
3. The chiller as defined in claim 1 wherein the heat spreader plate includes a first face and the first face is thermally coupled to said warm face of the thermoelectric cooler.
4. The chiller as defined in claim 1 wherein the heat spreader plate is thermally coupled between the heat input surface and the thermoelectric cooler.
5. The chiller as defined in claim 1, wherein the heat exchanging surface is thermally coupled to the heat spreader plate and the heat exchanging surface includes a plurality of spaced-apart heat conductive fins, each of which extends away from the heat spreader plate opposite to said heat spreader plate.
6. The chiller as defined in claim 1, wherein the heat exchanging surface is a portion of a fluid heat exchanger.
7. The chiller as defined in claim 6, wherein the fluid heat exchanger is capable of containing a flow of liquid coolant.
8. The chiller as defined in claim 1, further comprising a system for passing cooling fluid past the heat exchanging surface.
9. The chiller as defined in claim 1, wherein the system for passing cooling fluid includes a pump.
10. The chiller as defined in claim 1, wherein the heat input surface is part of a fluid heat exchanger through which a fluid may be circulated.
11. The chiller as defined in claim 1, wherein the heat input surface is a portion of a heat pipe.
12. The chiller as defined in claim 1, wherein the heat input surface is a portion of the electronic device.
13. The chiller as defined in claim 1, wherein said electronic device is a microprocessor comprising a die mounted in a package and the said hot portion is an exposed surface of the die.
14. The chiller as defined in claim 13, wherein a first face of the heat spreader plate defines a primary plane and the plurality of spaced-apart heat-conductive fins are positioned such that air can move through the plurality of spaced-apart heat-conductive fins and in a direction substantially parallel to said primary plane.
15. The chiller as defined in claim 14 wherein the fluid heat exchanger is formed as a thick plate and is positioned in a plane parallel to the primary plane.
16. The chiller as defined in claim 1, wherein the thermoelectric cooler is positioned in the chiller such that air can pass thereover when the air moves through the chiller.
17. The chiller as defined in claim 5, further comprising a fan oriented to move air between said fins.
18. The chiller as defined in claim 1 positioned in a case for the electronic device, the case including an opening therethrough for access between its inner and outer surfaces and the chiller is positioned within the case open to the opening.
19. The chiller as defined in claim 5, wherein the plurality of spaced-apart fins are together formed as a unitary structure.
20. The chiller as defined in claim 5, wherein the heat spreader plate and the plurality of spaced-apart fins are joined together as a unitary structure.
21. The chiller as defined in claim 1, further comprising a second thermoelectric cooler having a cool face and a warm face when connected to a power source, the second thermoelectric cooler also sandwiched between the heat input surface and the heat spreader plate so that the cool face of the second thermoelectric cooler is thermally coupled to the heat input surface and its warm face is thermally coupled to the heat spreader plate.
22. The chiller as defined in claim 1 positioned in a case for the electronic device, the case including an opening therethrough for access between its inner and outer surface and the chiller is positioned adjacent the opening within the case.
23. The chiller as defined in claim 1 mounted on a printed circuit board.
24. The chiller as defined in claim 23 wherein the heat exchanging surface includes a portion of a liquid heat exchanger.
25. The chiller as defined in claim 1 mounted on a laptop cooling device.
26. A printed circuit board comprising:
a board;
a heat generating component on the board;
a heat spreader plate, a first face of which is thermally coupled to the heat generating component;
a thermoelectric cooler having a cool face and a warm face when connected to a power source, the thermoelectric cooler mounted with its cool face thermally coupled to the heat spreader plate; and
a liquid heat exchanger thermally coupled to the warm face of the thermoelectric cooler.
27. The printed circuit board of claim 26 further comprising at least one additional thermoelectric cooler mounted with its cool face thermally coupled to the heat spreader plate and its warm face thermally coupled to the liquid heat exchanger.
28. The printed circuit board of claim 26 further comprising a second heat spreader plate mounted on the board to dissipate heat from a second heat generated component on the board.
29. The printed circuit board of claim 26 wherein the thermoelectric cooler has a power rating of between 25 and 125 watts.
30. The printed circuit board of claim 26 including pins for mounting in an expansion slot of a computer.
31. The printed circuit board of claim 26 wherein the heat generating device is the CPU of a video card.
32. A laptop cooling device comprising:
a support plate including a top surface formed to support a laptop thereon, a lower surface, and at least a portion formed to act as a heat sink in a position exposed on top surface and extending to the lower surface;
a thermoelectric cooler having a cool face and a warm face when connected to a power source, the thermoelectric cooler mounted with its cool face thermally coupled to the at least a portion formed to act as a heat sink; and
a heat exchanging surface thermally coupled to the warm face of the thermoelectric cooler.
33. The laptop cooling device of claim 32 wherein the at least a portion formed to act as a heat sink includes a heat conductive material.
34. The laptop cooling device of claim 32 wherein the top surface includes a plurality of surface undulations.
35. The laptop cooling device of claim 32 wherein the support plate acts is formed of a heat conductive material.
36. The laptop cooling device of claim 32 wherein heat exchanging surface includes a finned structure.
37. The laptop cooling device of claim 32 wherein the heat exchanging surface includes an open finned structure through which air may flow.
38. The laptop cooling device of claim 32 further comprising a fan to move air past the heat exchanging surface.
US11/673,766 2001-07-13 2007-02-12 Computer cooling apparatus Abandoned US20080006037A1 (en)

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US10/025,846 US6725682B2 (en) 2001-07-13 2001-12-26 Computer cooling apparatus
US10/757,493 US7174738B2 (en) 2001-07-13 2004-01-15 Computer cooling apparatus
US11/673,766 US20080006037A1 (en) 2001-12-26 2007-02-12 Computer cooling apparatus

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US20100103619A1 (en) * 2008-10-23 2010-04-29 Gamal Refai-Ahmed Interchangeable Heat Exchanger for a Circuit Board
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