Wednesday April 05, 2017

Dancing Droplets Coming Soon to a CPU Near You

My clickbait title may not be exactly correct, but I know when it comes to cooling electronics, the majority of HardOCP readers' ears perk up a least a little bit. The braintrust at Duke University's Pratt School of Engineering have a whole new twist on water cooling. First, I am sure that you are familiar with how a cicada keeps its wings clean, right? Well of course if you are familiar with that, you are going to be kicking yourself in the ass for not patenting this years ago.

On the wings of cicadas, this phenomenon drives droplets to catch and remove particles of dirt and debris. In the new cooling technology created by engineers at Duke University and Intel Corporation, droplets jump toward hotspots to bring cooling where the electronics need it most.

"It has taken us a few years to work the system to a point where it’s at least comparable to a copper heat spreader, the most popular cooling solution," said Chen. "But now, for the first time, I see a pathway to beating the industry standards."

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After watching the video, this looks like a pretty cool technology and it will be interesting to see what becomes of it. And if you think that this is pie-in-the-sky nerd research going nowhere, Chen's work is supported by Intel as well as the National Science Foundation. If you want more of a deep dive on the science behind the technology, you can head over to Applied Physcis Letters and give that a read as well. And if you want more information on the hardware itself, there is a PDF here, so you should be well on your way to building your own at home in no time.

Of course if you are really hard up for cooling this instant, you could go the simplistic way of building your very own Geothermal Ground Loop PC Cooling System.