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The Sandia Cooler

A Fundamental Breakthrough in Heat Transfer Technology for Microelectronics

Sandia National Laboratories

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	<em>Timeline of CPU clock speeds<br />
	Pentium and Core are trademarks of Intel Corp.</em></p>

Timeline of CPU clock speeds
Pentium and Core are trademarks of Intel Corp.

Technology Marketing Summary

In a conventional CPU cooler, the heat transfer bottleneck is the boundary layer of "dead air" that clings to the cooling fins.  This insulating layer is largely unaffected by the impinging airflow generated by the fan.  The radically different approach described herein overcomes this thermal bottleneck, generating a several-fold improvement in cooling performance in a device that is smaller, quieter, and immune to clogging by dust. 


In this new device architecture, heat is efficiently transferred from a stationary base plate to a rotating (ccw) structure that combines the functionality of cooling fins with a centrifugal impeller.  Dead air enveloping the cooling fins is subjected to a powerful centrifugal pumping effect, providing a 10x reduction in boundary layer thickness at a speed of a few thousand rpm.  Additionally, high-speed rotation completely eliminates the problem of heat exchanger fouling.  The "direct drive advantage", in which relative motion between the cooling fins and ambient air is created by rotating the heat exchanger, provides a drastic improvement in aerodynamic efficiency.  This translates to an extremely quiet operation.  The benefits listed below have been quantified on a proof-of-concept prototype. 


Dramatic increase in cooling performance without resorting to exotic methods
10x smaller than current state-of-the-art CPU coolers
Exceptionally quiet operation
Immune to dust fouling
Simple, rugged, and cost-competitive design
Provides increased energy efficiency

Applications and Industries

High performance "gaming" PCs
Home video game boxes
Various other electronic devices
LED Lighting
Large Appliances
Any device comprising one or more forced-air exchangers

More Information

Several U.S. Patents Pending

Technology Status
Technology IDDevelopment StageAvailabilityPublishedLast Updated
SD# 10948Prototype - Sandia estimates this technology at a TRL 4. The key elements of the device have been integrated and demonstrated to work in a laboratory environmentLicensed06/14/201104/10/2014

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