Advanced Cooling Technologies
The technologies for cooling modern electronics has advanced significantly over the past several decades. Driven by a combination of increased power output and shrinking die size, heat sink fin design, fan options, and TIM material have made giant leaps in improving thermal performance. However, this article only covers two of these advanced cooling technologies: heat pipes and vapor chambers.
Advanced Cooling Technology #1 – Heat Pipes
Unlike most heat sink manufacturers, Celsia regularly alters heat pipe wall and wick properties to fully optimize the heat sink for specific electronics cooling applications. Additionally, we are accustomed to modifying the physical characteristics of the heat pipes beyond bending and flattening.
Custom wick design and unique shape can be seen in the UHB LED application for theatrical lighting (below). Because the device has to operate efficiently in any orientation – heat pipe wick material properties like thickness and porosity/permeability are designed to provide adequate capillary pumping while assuring sufficient vapor cross-sectional area. In addition, a traditional round heat pipe needed to be square at one end to accommodate 4 high-brightness LED modules.
Advanced Cooling Technology #2 – Vapor Chambers
Over a decade ago, Celsia advanced vapor chamber cooling technology by perfecting a new manufacturing technique that resulted in cost savings and new application options. Unlike traditional vapor chambers that are manufactured using two-stamped plates and copper column standoffs (two-piece design), Celsia’s one-piece design begins life as a very large tube of up to 70mm. These pipes are sintered and flattened after which a corrugated copper spacer and water are added and the device vacuum sealed. This manufacturing process not only reduces tooling cost but also allows the vapor chamber to be bent into L and U shapes – something unavailable with a traditional vapor chamber manufacturing process.
Like our heat pipes, all vapor chamber devices are custom built for each application. Pictured below is a unique Celsia vapor chamber design that’s really a hybrid of a low cost one-piece which are always rectangular in shape, and a two-piece design that allows for design flexibility along the X and Y axes.
See these vapor chamber heat sink links for more information: Vapor Chamber Design Guide and our online Heat Sink Calculator. The calculator show the performance difference between two heat sinks – one with a solid metal base and the other with a vapor chamber base.
Incorporating advanced cooling technologies such as heat pipes and vapor chambers into heat sink designs are particularly important in space-constrained devices, high heat flux applications, and rugged environments where heat sink performance plays an increasingly critical role.
Contact us today to compare pricing on your existing products or have us quote a new heat sink design based on one of these cooling technologies.