Ceramic cooling?

http://www.tgdaily.com/2007/01/09/ces2007_dell_plantatree/

The pics weren't of much use, its in a plastic (or is it aluminium?) casing...

Has anyone heard of that? Are they simply using ceramics instead of copper?
49 answers Last reply
More about ceramic cooling
  1. he's right,
    can someone explain what ceramic cooling is, and how it works?
    wikipedia and google weren't usefull, do'h!
  2. IMHO looks like it works sort of like a car with a turbo and intercooler setup.

    Take a cars radiator(from their example) a radiator helps cool the antifreeze to regulate the engines temp. This case the engine would be the cpu.

    For the second stage cooling An up-pipe takes the hot exhaust and throws it into the intercooler (this cools the air) This also helps regulate the temp by cooling the air that is getting trown through the motor. In the cpu's case the cooling is the air over the intercooler.

    And the regulator (from the article) would be like the thermostat; which opens when the fluid temp gets too hot and shrinks when the fluid is cold. This regulates the engine to run at a specified temp as the regulator would on the XPS computer.

    Tell me if anyone thinks my logic is flawed. But I think this is a good example.
  3. I dug up some info on ceramic water cooling towers, but those are far from the world of computer hardware. they are as tall as some skyscrapers and cool water at powerplants.
  4. that's just a heatpipe system right?
    how about the ceramic?
    really don't get it :-s
  5. My impression was that the ceramic component is actually part of a TEC.
  6. a Peletier unit?
  7. I believe so. I will have to go do some digging to find out where I got that impression. My guess is that the ceramic would be used as a insulator between the cold and hot sides of the TEC plate.

    The only other use I can imagine for a ceramic component would be to create vibration. A few years ago, some very effective refrigerators were developed using vibration for cooling, but I have no idea how they worked. I think the sound generated was over 140 dB in any case.
  8. Here's the link:

    http://www.tgdaily.com/2007/01/09/ces2007_dell_xps710_h2c/

    Quote:
    According to Dell, a liquid-to-air heat exchanger that works like a car's radiator removes most of the heat from the processor. Then, a fluid chiller removes more heat with ceramic-based thermoelectric cooling (TEC) modules like those used in space shuttles to transfer heat from the sunny side to the cold, dark side in space.
  9. If water cooling towers are ceramic, I would imagine its a rather poor heat insulator. More like the contrary.
    then again, a teacup does get hot in our hands, but the hot is bearable, unlike with a tin cup.

    I'm lost. :(
  10. Oh, thanks man. I should have read the article myself, ))
  11. Ceramic cooling has been used in Electrophoresis equipment for a while now. The ceramic is formulated for its thermal properties such as uniform temp across surface. See link

    http://www.apelex.fr/electro/IEF/texte.htm

    Also a patent link using ceramic in a cooling module

    http://www.freepatentsonline.com/EP1294022.html

    I believe the reference is to the material used to transfer / conduct heat and not a different technology. It can be used with TEC or liquid or resistive.

    Ceramics are also formulated for other uses such as bearings in fans. Interesting material class.
  12. Yeah, I heard they use 'em in turbochargers.
  13. For nuclear reactor water cooling towers, I imagine ceramics are used because of their high temperature strength and anti-corrosion properties.

    Ceramics are being used as surface coatings in turbine blades because the ceramic can withstand even higher temperatures than the nickel-metal superalloys.
  14. I can't be sure from these pictures, but I assume the "ceramic" part of this would be a peltier. There really would be no need to use ceramic materials, even high thermal conductivity ones (which still won't match the conductivity of copper).

    Ceramics are used in heat exchangers where either the temperature or environment precludes the use of metallics. An example would be the heat exchangers off a power plant combustion chamber where temperatures and acidic off gases would rapidly corrode many metallics. The actual cooling towers are merely natural draft structures. The only ceramic in them is the cement they are made of, which was determined more for ease of construction and longevity, rather than the thermodynamic nature of the ceramic materials themselves.

    But I could be totally wrong!
  15. good thread :lol: i was lost myself.. and was wondering how that laminater i have at home works.. it says on the box "ceramic heating component" :?
  16. Dell is referring to this as "Black Ice" and uses both peltier and liquid

    http://tags.gizmodo.com/gadgets/black-ice/

    Also note that Danger Dan is selling a liquid cooling device called Black Ice

    http://www.dangerdenstore.com/
  17. Someday I'm going to make the news being the first computer builder to use the Flux Capacitor for cooling.
  18. Quote:
    The actual cooling towers are merely natural draft structures. The only ceramic in them is the cement they are made of, which was determined more for ease of construction and longevity, rather than the thermodynamic nature of the ceramic materials themselves.

    But I could be totally wrong!


    The part about the cooling towers is right. Dirt burners and nucs use the same structures to cool the condensate. No significant use of ceramics as heat transfer mediums.
  19. Quote:
    Someday I'm going to make the news being the first computer builder to use the Flux Capacitor for cooling.


    I can see it now, you're sitting at your computer admiring the new "Flux Capacitor" cooling, when you're suddenly whisked back to 1955. You make the news momentarily with your computer that seems so gee wizz fantastic, then the government confiscates it for their use and now you have no way to get back to the future.

    Your only consolation is thinking about what happens to the government guy who uses your computer. Will he go forward is time and find his advanced knowledge barely qualifies him as a dummy, or might he go real far back and get burned as a witch in the Salem witch trials?
  20. Hmm, in that case--with mass production and popular use, I would also be building the world's first time machine. Boy would that get messy.
  21. This link seems to provide a decent primer on thermoelectric cooling and the use of ceramics: http://www.tellurex.com/12most.html

    Don't understand it but it sure sounds cool (sic)!
  22. Ceramics is an interesting class of material.

    For cooling towers ceramics are chosen for a combination of cost and non-reactive properties.
    For Electrophoresis applications it is chosen for differnt reasons, including temperature uniformity.
    And for other applications (like fan bearings) ceramic is chosen (and formulated) for the other characteristics.

    Going back to the OP, his question / comment about using ceramics instead of copper is correct. Ceramics was chosen for material properties and used with a peltier and liquid cooling solution.

    I question how much better (if any) this is over other types of cooling solutions, but I guess Dell believes it can sell more over priced high end systems because I it can market it has "Ceramic Cooling".

    I truly dislike marketing hype - show me the performance.
  23. from what little I remember the use of ceramics was rarely about cooling and had far more to do with stability and uniformity under a wide range of stresses.

    Honda used ringless Ceramic pistons in some of their F1 cars a while back because they didn't absorb heat and held their shape almost perfectly under the hottest conditions.

    they tended to blow alot of oil requiring a seperate oil tank just to get the cars through a race which got the whole design banned in the end because of emissions and safety concerns with oil spraying over a track all afternoon things had the potential to get dicy.

    a huge ceramic cooling tower would on the surface tend to indicate that the material isn't so much an effective dissipator which justifies the substancial increase in surface area so much as it's possibly more cost effective or more stable under stress while more long lived as well.
  24. I don't know how many people are muscle car fanatics, but in the automotive world the exaust manifolds sometimes are coated with a metalic ceramic coating that allows metals to release heat very quickly. Imagine a 600f engine part that within a few minutes of the car being turned off it is cool to the touch. So if they coated aa heat pipe in this same material it could release heat more effectively and with less cooling fans required.This might be the type of ceramics that dell is using. I don't for sure until more comes out about the system. Just my two cents.
  25. Excellent link. Before reading that article, the only Peltier-effect systems I knew of were metallic pairs.

    It should be noted that a Peltier can also be used to generate electricity with an applied temperature difference. However, the thermal efficiency is something like 1 or 2%, which makes them kinda suck. I think Peltiers are used in nuclear batteries on space probes.
  26. Quote:
    I don't know how many people are muscle car fanatics, but in the automotive world the exaust manifolds sometimes are coated with a metalic ceramic coating that allows metals to release heat very quickly. Imagine a 600f engine part that within a few minutes of the car being turned off it is cool to the touch. So if they coated aa heat pipe in this same material it could release heat more effectively and with less cooling fans required.This might be the type of ceramics that dell is using. I don't for sure until more comes out about the system. Just my two cents.


    I was under the impression that ceramic coated exhaust did exactly the opposite to what you are referring, it is designed to keep the heat in the exhaust tube (helping turbo operation and exhaust gas flow) and out of the engine compartment. The reason it is cool to the touch so quickly is because it is a great insulator.
  27. To sum up the issue of what exactly Dell has done with the new XPS is something that any hardcore overclocker who doesnt have the money for a phase change setup has done in recent years to get those temps down.

    Seeing as i've personally used 3 boxes with liquid and TEC and built two others, here we go.

    The idea behind the TEC is two thin ceramic plates with very low thermal insulating properties sandwiching lots of basically "transistors" lines up one after typically making one giant series connected "transistor." Now to abate the flame war over the use of the word transistor, they are more like a bidirectional diode (yes i said it, and i know it really doesnt make much sense since a diode should be unidirectional, but hey its made out of n and p type silicon and only has two input/outputs available, which makes me and otehr electronics savvy people typically think diode)

    Now heres the cool part (no pun intended), when a current is applied to the TEC, it causes a thermal differential to occur across the ceramic plates. The direction of this thermal differential is determined by the direction of teh current thru the TEC, which is why you have to hook them up the correct way because reversing the makes it an excellent heater rather than a cooler.

    Now for the application.

    Typically we have put a big chunck of copper on top the CPU/GPU/Chipset any processor we wanted to cool and lovingly called this heavy thing the cold plate. Then we put the TEC on top of that cold plate and then stick a HS or waterblock on top of it to cool the TEC. Thats right to cool the TEC, not the processor, the TEC is already doing that for us.

    Now for the all so fun issue. Condensation. It occurs because if you are using a TEC of sufficent thermal capacity, that cold plate gets damn cold, mine sits at -5C at idle and only about 20C at full throttle (AMD X2 4800 939). So how do we fix it? Simple, take some conformal coating and waterproof the mobo around the CPU socket and then take dielectric grease and fill the socet to get the air out. No air no water vapor no condensation. Then bury everythign in at least a 1/4" of neoprene insulation.

    I know that sounds involved but its really a quick job, the longest part is wating for teh conformal coating to dry.

    Now i realize that TEC's ar NOT the most efficent thing around so why use it? Simple, at the cost of a lot more power we get to cheat thermodynamics. The failure of a giant HSF and and even bigger louder fan is that we can only cool to the ambient air temperature around the HSF, yes if the wind was really whipping we could get a little lower but not much. The TEC lets us cool the hot side to ambient air temp while the cold side is significantly lower due to that thermal differential. Now instead of a cpu that sits at 50-60C we have it down into the 20's, where semiconductors really like to be.

    So after reading all this youre probably sayign to yourself ok wait a minute, you just said CPU TEC Liquid/Air, Dell did a CPU Liquid/Air TEC (and then a Liquid/Air or just Air alone to cool that TEC) why did they do it that way?

    Easy, a peltiered waterblock is a heavy cuss, and by just strapping Liquid to the top of that cpu and supplementing they get the extra cooling of the TEC but not the full blown holy crap package that it can really offer.

    Basically they cheated to keep the weight off teh MB and in a nice box tehy can hang
  28. Its also known as a Peltier.

    Not worth the usual price premium, but hey, if Im offered one I wont say no =)
  29. Quote:
    I don't know how many people are muscle car fanatics, but in the automotive world the exaust manifolds sometimes are coated with a metalic ceramic coating that allows metals to release heat very quickly. Imagine a 600f engine part that within a few minutes of the car being turned off it is cool to the touch. So if they coated aa heat pipe in this same material it could release heat more effectively and with less cooling fans required.This might be the type of ceramics that dell is using. I don't for sure until more comes out about the system. Just my two cents.


    In headers that is completely wrong. Ceramic coated headers are used to keep the heat in the header, so it isn't transferred into the engine bay where it can heatsoak the engine and the incoming air. Also, the ceramic coated headers have the added benefit of being more gentle on your spark plugs and wires, your starter, and giving you more horsepower, as hotter air travels at a greater velocity. Most importantly though, the main point to ceramic headers is that they don't wear out (especially Jet-Hot's technique where both the inside and outside of the header is coated). Often they can be used for years and still look like new, which is something that cheap steel headers painted with high temp paint cannot accomplish.
  30. HotFoot,

    Actually on space probe there is typically passive cooling for batteries. Rarely will you see active cooling systems as they are difficult to implement and require a redundant system to truly be effective. Redundancy of active systems increases weight which in turn increases launch costs.

    Active cooling systems are used in some applications but sparingly.

    Passive cooling if you think about it is quite easy in a space environment.

    As far as ceramics and space goes it is used typically as a subsystem divider for subsystems that require differing cooling/heating needs.

    Ceramic spacers are used between subsystems to isolate them from each other. Speaking of properties of materials, the reason ceramic spacers are used as well is that aluminum has a tendency to "cold weld" if two peices meet in space. The metals when touched together allow the exhaust of all gases "vacuum" that may have adhered themselves to the material therefore causing a "Cold Weld" of the two pieces.

    Have a look at my Avatar and you will may know why I have the answer to this. ;)
  31. Joe is correct,

    Ceramic coated Header "Doug Thorleys long tubes for my truck" are created to remove heat from the engine bay. In this case ceramics are again used for their insulating properties. It also provides for a smoother/cleaner airflow which is also a good thing.

    I see that Joe understands what he is talking about by using the term "Heat Soak".

    I have a cold air intake which restricts the intake area from the engine bay heat. This allows for cooler and therefore denser air to enter the throttle body. The MAF or Mass Air Flow sensor then detects the cooler/denser air and helps adjust the fuel ratio to the newer calc for the air. (overall not THAT great of an improvement but some "typically 5 - 20 HP" if you beleive the hype :))

    I am also a car geek :)
  32. it also depends on whether the coating is inside or outside of the headers I work a small track nascar race car and the coating for our headers is only on the inside so that it can help channel out the the heat of the exaust gases pushing them out of the end of the pipe.
  33. Lead,

    Don't they mostly coat them on the inside?

    I have see the dual coated system which was more or less for aesthetics.

    Glad you are here, I can learn something.

    I have only seen or heard about "non-racing versions" of headers for after market sales. Have no incite to the racing scene.
  34. I meant for electrical generation. The Peltier feeds off the difference in temperature between the hot reacting body and a radiator exposed to space. Is this completely off-base? It was the understanding I got from a power generation course.
  35. Well to be honest you are way off base. First of all the risk of potential disaster during launch is still such that it prevents the use of radioactive materials in space going vehicles. (not to say others have not tried it).

    Again, to be honest it is much less glamorous than one might think.

    The use of well known battery types, shunt elements and solar panels with very accurate charging/discharging cycles is what is mostly used.

    There is the DS or Deep Space vehicles that are looking at ion drive engines for thrust/power creation "DS could possibly equal issues with using the sun".

    Some older vehicles may have used radioactive means for power but that will likely NOT happen now.
  36. It must have been the older ones, and only the ones that went further than Jupiter. Maybe I can find a link and post it here.

    EDIT: I found a link for what I was trying to describe. It's a radioisotope thermoelectric generator. These use the heat generated from the decay of radioactive isotopes to produce electricity. I believe they are still quite popular.


    The image above shows the general configuration. It seems that a Si-Ge unicouple is the circuit that converts the power.
  37. seems to be a lot better than water cooling....

    Any one tried this or willing to try...?

    http://www.dangerdenstore.com/product.php?productid=1&cat=0&page=1
  38. Looks like Cassini was the last spacecraft to use an RTG.

    I learned something today (makes it a good day).

    In all honesty I have worked only with near earth to Geosynchronous birds not the exploratory birds.

    Looks like depending on the isotope used it could possibly be worth the risk.

    Apollo 13 used an RTG but the mission was aborted and upon re-entry the RTG was recovered with no leakage. (very cool).

    There was a ground failure Nimbus B-1 (Range Safety Destruct). (materials found and recycled again for re-use. (again very cool).

    Have found something that states they may be using these again in DS/exploration.

    I was suprised to see that Cassini actually used one since the up-roar of the green communities... As late as 1997 (nothing since).
  39. Quote:
    but in the automotive world the exaust manifolds sometimes are coated with a metalic ceramic coating that allows metals to release heat very quickly.
    as mentioned you got it wrong, holding the heat in adds more pony it's not about dissipation.

    Bombardier coats it's 2 stroke snowmobile pipes with ceramic because the heat released was melting the body panels.
  40. Bloated,

    You replied to me with HotFoot's quote :)

    /me = confused! (so easy to do) :)
  41. yeah sorry I noticed it after I'd clicked the reply, the other forum I go to isn't as specific, it's a nice enough feature though will keep an eye on it in the future.
  42. Noticed earlier that someone mentioned using a flux cap for cooling. One question: will it be dumping the heat in the past or the future?
  43. Both you and ches111 are partially correct. The Cassini RTG does use a thermocouple but it's a rather old design. The spare Cassini RTG was also used on the New Horizions spacecraft to Pluto which was launched in January of last year. RTG's are typically not used in earth orbit since sunlight is available to power solar cells (although the Ruskies did use a few in geosyncronous satellites). Efficiencies for those RTG's are in the 7-12% range but it doesn't matter if you've got enough energy available. Newer energy transfer mechanisms for RTG's for both space exploration and SNAP reactors are being actively developed by several labs but the info isn't readily avaliable. There is also the highly sensitive political issue. NASA is trying hard to make sure the terms "NASA", "nuclear", and "F...up" don't occur in the same sentance!

    I was lucky enough to have a slight involvement in the final stages of the Cassini/New Horizons GPHS/RTG manufacturing process.

    As far as ceramic cooling - the ceramic is just a component in the process. Pretty much a marketing buzzword.
  44. Quote:
    NASA is trying hard to make sure the terms "NASA", "nuclear", and "F...up" don't occur in the same sentance!


    The drama that is Engineering and Politics.
  45. Hey Pirate,

    I can confirm that the Russia is not the ONLY ones using solar on GeoSynch birds. ;)


    See my Avatar!!
  46. I'm pretty sure what Pirate was saying is that Russia has used some RTG's for geosynchronous satellites. I wonder why they would do that, since there is plenty of solar energy available, and there would be very little time spent in Earth's shadow.
  47. LOL - ya - what HotFoot said. My guess is that the Russians did it because the built so many of the power supplies and because they could!
  48. I did Satellite Ground Control for 9+ years. Very fun job.

    The job consists of days worth of tedium with doses (hours) of sheer terror thrown in.

    Great job when nothing is wrong and great job when something IS wrong :).

    2 minutes to fix whatever comes your way on the ground or in the sky (or hell to pay).
  49. I think it's just marketing hype. Who know next year they will come out with Carbon Fiber cooling;P

    If one of the textbook we used tells me that silver has really high thermarl conductivity and diffusivity, followed by copper then aluminum. The best ceramic material only touches the bottom end of the copper and aluminum. Where carbon fiber touches the lowest part of ceramic.

    But as marketing stand point, Carbon Fiber "might?" work since it sound cool and expensive.


    correct me if I'm wrong.
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