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Use of Flow Network Modeling (FNM) for System-Level Design of Air- and Liquid-Cooled Electronics
Keywords: System-Level Thermal Design, Flow Network Modeling, Air or Liquid Cooling
Due to ever-increasing complexity and power density of electronics, each part of the cooling system can no longer be designed independently. As a result, there is a strong need for methods and tools that perform analysis of the entire system for improving the quality of the product and productivity of the designer. The Flow Network Modeling (FNM) technique achieves this by focusing on the analysis of interactions among the cooling components to determine system-level performance in a rapid and accurate manner. It allows the design engineer to efficiently evaluate competing designs, size components (such as fans/pumps, heat sinks, heat exchangers, and orifices), and investigate what-if scenarios. In addition, use of the FNM technique for system-level design is complementary with detailed Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) analysis. The presentation will first describe the role of the FNM-based analysis in the overall design process. This will be followed by a discussion of the theoretical formulation of the FNM technique involving the flow and thermal characteristics of cooling components and the overall solution method. Finally, application of the FNM technique for the design of practical air and liquid-cooled electronics systems in computer, communications, and data canter applications will be illustrated.
Kanchan M. Kelkar, Principal
Innovative Research, LLC
Plymouth, Minnesota
United States


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