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Extending the Life of Air Cooling Through Architecture
Keywords: Air Cooling , Packaging , Air Power Efficiency
Thermal engineers are challenged to improve cooling system performance in response to higher heat rejection requirements from microprocessors, DIMMs, FETs, resistors and other devices. Higher air flow rates are needed in an environment where no increase in package space is allowed. Worse, the circuitry is being populated by more and larger components raising airflow restrictions. The combination greatly accelerates the power density metrics for equipment. Historically, fan suppliers have responded by increasing aerodynamic performance while limiting noise and power increases. But, designers are now being constrained by the physical laws of aerodynamics. It is quickly becoming a diminishing return and we ask, “Are the days of traditional air cooling systems numbered?” Entrepreneurial efforts are focused on alternative cooling technologies. Aside from the better known developments in thermal interface materials, heat sinks, heat pipe and vapor chambers, there are many new and unusual concepts to attack the cooling problem. However, they are more costly, far less familiar than traditional fans and blowers and a huge change for OEMs. It is our belief that somewhere between incrementally better fans and these new methods is another approach. That is a re-engineering of the cooling system to optimize cooling performance using traditional style fans and blowers. This approach requires fitting system architectures to appropriate fan or blower design to meet high level performance metrics in demand today. A series of case studies will highlight this point.
Roger Dickinson, Sr. VP
Bergquist Torrington Company
Torrington, CT

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