Reader Achtelik: Silicon Oil Is Your Best Bet
I followed your oil-cooled PC article with tremendous interest and suspense. I've also been playing around with the idea of conducting this experiment myself. But vegetable oil really doesn't have an appealing color. That's what led me to think of silicon oil, which is crystal clear and is also available in many different viscosities and for many temperature ranges. Next, I dug into some of the related forums on this subject online. The results might best be summed up as "Silicon oil is too aggressive, will corrode silicon and acrylic components, and is also too expensive." I wasn't quite ready to give up on this option, and went ahead and researched the cost of silicon oil. In my opinion, the cost is still in the realm of what's tolerable. What do you think of this idea?
Friendly greetings from:
Martin Göbel Writes: Plexiglas Is Unsuitable
Dear Mr. Völkel,
I read your article with great interest and attention. As someone who works with plastics by trade, I wanted to provide you with two important bits of advice about what I read therein:
1. Plexiglas is very sensitive to contact with chemicals. Also, the brand of silicon sealant you chose isn't compatible with Plexiglas. In the short or long run, your case could fall prey to stress fractures. Under some circumstances this could permit the fluid in the case to escape, and might even negatively impact the stability of the case itself. I'd recommend that you substitute a pH-neutral, acid-free silicon sealant instead.
2. In one of the photos in your story, the image shows you working with a material named "Hobbyglas". This material is not Plexiglas; rather, it's a type of polystyrol (PS). This material is even less chemically resistant than Plexiglas, and should therefore be kept away from any contact with oil, silicon or glues of any kind.
Because your article is so likely to provide impetus for others to follow in your footsteps, I urge you to consider this advice very carefully. Should you have any questions or concerns about what I've said, I'll be happy to respond at length.
Best wishes from
Martin Göbel, Bochum (Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany)