New Idea?

OK. I've been reading all the current heat/cooling articles on this website. First of all, this website has been referred to me by many friends and now that I've finally signed up and had a good look, I've found that it's great. Alright, thats enough of the site plug, onto my post...

It's fairly obvious that 'heat' seems to be quite a big problem with CPU's. Well, my idea is simply this, but without the required knowledge I can't make a 100% accurate judgement: Why not somehow create a little device that sits ontop of the CPU (just like a heatsink/fan combo) and CONVERTS the 'thermal energy' into useable energy for the components. Just think about it for a bit, recycling the 'scrap' heat and using it's energy properties to power other components. Just think of the possibilities for laptop computers. The main problem with this idea is will their be enough thermal energy produced? (As I explained earlier, I have absolutely no knowledge in the 'thermal energy' field) So, is their anyone out there that 1)Agrees with my idea? 2)Care to explain why it wouldn't work 3)How it could work (ie: do you have the required knowledge to address this idea properly?) I hope this idea makes for a good discussion.

-TheDoctor
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  1. This is absolutely possible and impossible. Let me explain.

    Peltiers are used in cooling CPUs because when you power a peltier, it cools one side and heats the other. However, what a lot of people don't realize is that if you do the opposite (heat one side and cool the other), you can produce an electric charge. A friend of mine did it in physics class, and actually created enough power to make a small fan move (bathroom-type fan, like 8" or so). I can't remember what he used for heat and cold, but a CPU would produce more heat than whatever he used, I'm sure.

    So what you're proposing would absolutely work. Peltiers are even quite cheap, considering what they are. However, there are two major problems:

    1. You would have to cool the other side. Unless I'm wrong, just heating the one side won't generate an electric charge.

    2. There would be no heat dissipation. Although the heat would be used to produce the power, the CPU would still overheat and fry.


    Sorry to burst your bubble.

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  2. FatBurger's response is totally true, but let me add on.

    If a device like that did exist, it would probably be far to big to fit inside a computer case anyways. So, while it is theoretically possible, I don't think it will work at all with today's technology.


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  3. haha, just goes to show that I know sweet f**k all about this... Anyway, it was just a thought.. I came up with the idea based on manufacturers (of anything) always seem to want to bring in a new problem to offset an existing problem (ie: heat, in this circumstance) I just thought that 'cancelling' out the existing problem would be better for future applications.. who nows? something similar may just get done... I'd hope so anyway, seems like there are plenty of people out there with ideas (some just rather lame)...anyways, thanks for the response, I may look into it furthur..then again, I may not... cheers

    -TheDoctor
  4. Fatburger, all a peltier is, is a combination of two plates in which current is run through in a specific direction to heat one side and cool the other. Why not just integrate it into/onto a HSF and have it work that way? Almost total negation of the heat issue with extra power to spare.
  5. Peltiers need alot of cooling though, so integreated into a HS it would still overheat.

    Your brain: PC
    You brain on drugs: Mac
  6. Devices like that already exist. They're called heat engines. That is pretty much the basis of every type of engine we use. Heat is produced, and in many cases, used to heat water to steam which drives a turbine which drives a generator...

    But if you mean converting thermal energy directly to electric, then you'd have to use the above mentioned peltier method.

    Basically, it's a good idea, but due to the constraints of a computer etc, it's not very practical unless some major breakthrough is achieved.

    Lyrics. Wasted time between solos.
  7. Re-read my post, it wouldn't work. Although the heat would be used, you would have to have a device that produced the same amount (or preferably more) cold as the CPU in order for the heat to be pulled away fast enough. That's possible, I suppose, but it's implementation would be very difficult. And dangerous, if the peltier broke down. Like njeske said, something producing that much cooling power would most likely not fit inside of a standard case.

    Hmm...now that my brain is working in this direction...
    If someone had a Vapochill case (or something similar), it would be able to cool the cold side of the peltier. I still don't know how much electical charge that would produce, or if in fact the heat would be used up enough for it to function as a heatsink.

    By the way, peltiers such as <A HREF="http://www.3dcool.com/peltiers.shtml" target="_new">these</A> work at 12v, which wouldn't help much in a computer system. If it was 5 or 3v, then it would be useful.

    <font color=green>In memory of all the Americans that died 9/11/01
    Rest in peace</font color=green>
  8. You could make a circuit board that regulated the voltage.

    Nice <b><font color=green>Lizards</b></font color=green> <b>crunch</b> Trolls cookies....... :smile: Yummy!! :smile:
  9. What, put a transformer inside your computer? That's going a bit too far.

    Yeup, talking to the guy I mentioned who's had experience with peltiers, it wouldn't work.

    1. It wouldn't pull the heat away from the CPU fast enough to keep it from burning. It'd look like the one in Tom's video.

    2. It wouldn't produce enough power. Maybe you could power a Delta fan off of it, but that's about it.

    <font color=green>In memory of all the Americans that died 9/11/01
    Rest in peace</font color=green>
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