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Kronos cooling run at 8.5kilo-volts to cool a device 25 degrees Celsius - Image courtesy TheFutureofThings.com
Kronos Advanced Technologies claims that's the way we're headed

Lately, heatsinks and traditional fans have become so large that they are beginning to be obstructive and are sometimes too heavy. This is an issue on the graphics processor front in many ways, as there isn't enough room for large heatsinks, yet GPU thermal exceeds that of high-speed CPUs.

A company called Kronos Advanced Technologies is working on a method of removing heat from devices such as CPUs by using ionic discharge to create a fluid motion of air. This technology has been around for a few years and is used in products such as ionic air filters, which have no moving parts but still move volumes of air and create quite a strong breeze. The same concept is being applied to micro processor cooling.

Despite the advancement however, the volume of air moved over the CPU core is still small because the core surface area is small. Heatsinks are used to increase surface area of the hot surface, so that when air is moved over the fins, more heat can transfer to the air. The Kronos' device will attempt to remove hot air away from the processor core directly without the need for heatsinks. With this method, the velocity of air being moved needs to be extremely fast in order to compensate for the lack of surface area -- and speed is something that ionic air "movers" lack.

Right now, Kronos is still working on prototypes, which it claims are scalable from very small micro coolers to large scale sizes. Power requirements also appear to be quite steep at this point in time. One of Kronos' demonstration shows a heated area being reduced from roughly 50C to 25C using an ionic cooler, but the power supply required around 8.5kV, or 8500 volts, to stay stable.


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2.5kV?
By Mudvillager on 1/4/2007 4:01:57 PM , Rating: 2
I know nothing about electricity but isn't 2.5kV A LOT of volts?




RE: 2.5kV?
By ninjit on 1/4/2007 4:05:13 PM , Rating: 2
Yeh you don't want to touch that.
And considering the article actually states 8.5kV, I'd be even more wary.


RE: 2.5kV?
By masher2 (blog) on 1/4/2007 4:30:09 PM , Rating: 5
Voltage is not power, and extremely high voltages are not inherently dangerous. I've touched conductors carrying several hundred thousand volts before without harm, because the amperage was extremely low.

Electricity can kill you a couple of different ways. Within a specific amp range, it can cause your heart to fibrillate...but higher or lower than this and you're safe. Or, regardless of the amperage, it can carry enough power to simply fry you directly. In both cases, the voltage is only critical as long as its high enough to allow conduction through your body.


RE: 2.5kV?
By Griswold on 1/4/2007 6:18:53 PM , Rating: 2
Too vague.

Let's say you touch 100kV and we assume a body resistance of 1000 Ohm (from hand to foot), we will see a current of 100mA flowing through your body (I=U/R). That is twice of what is considered the threshold to potentially dangerous currents.

It is, however, not an issue if you're properly insulated from ground potential - and that is most likely what you were when you touched that conductor (I assume it was one of those demonstration thingies that make your hair stand up and the like).

There is a reason why 50V (AC @50Hz) is considered the safety threshold for humans. For DC, it is 120V.

Also, ventricular fibrillation is not only a result of current flowing through your heart. Frequency is also a important factor.


RE: 2.5kV?
By Griswold on 1/4/2007 6:29:28 PM , Rating: 1
Oops, there is a typo. Can you find it (order of magnitude)?


RE: 2.5kV?
By ChronoReverse on 1/4/2007 6:39:12 PM , Rating: 2
100 000 Volts / 1000 Ohms = 100Amps

However, generally the dry skin resistance is WAY higher than that. In the range of a mega ohm.


RE: 2.5kV?
By Griswold on 1/4/2007 6:46:12 PM , Rating: 1
In theory it is 4MOhm, but as soon as a current starts to flow beneath the skin (and it will flow, especially at that voltage) the average body resistance is 1kOhm and therefore it is commonly used. Besides that, skin is almost never dry.

The example is valid.


RE: 2.5kV?
By ChronoReverse on 1/4/2007 7:11:58 PM , Rating: 2
Even so, it depends a lot on where the current is going through.

For example, high frequency AC would tend to flow over the skin. At the same time even low currents going straight through the heart will cause severe problems. Even more strange is that a bit higher (but not too much), the heart would simply stop and then restart. So it's still not a very useful example in itself.


RE: 2.5kV?
By Griswold on 1/5/2007 3:19:10 AM , Rating: 1
The 100kV example is perfectly valid because it will kill you if you're in contact with it for more than a few seconds - if you're in contact with ground potential. Of course, HV sources such as these usually have safeguards (to protect the installation, not humans) that limit the current and shut down the installation if necessary. But that is not the point here.

However, I agree with you that for low currents, its a matter of where the current is passing through. 50mA can be enough to kill a human if it is passing through the heart - and that is a fact.

At any rate, the point is, electricity is not something to joke around with and you simply do not touch conductors upwards 50V without proper safety meassures. And its grossly negligent to tell laymen something else.


RE: 2.5kV?
By masher2 (blog) on 1/5/2007 7:10:15 AM , Rating: 3
> "50mA can be enough to kill a human if it is passing through the heart..."

Even less can be fatal over an extended period of time...paralysis of the chest muscles can occur with under 20 mA. The fact remains that, as I originally said, high voltage is, in of itself , not inherently dangerous. The source has to be able to supply enough current at that voltage level to be dangerous. Ohm's Law as you orginally used it assumes an idealized voltage source of zero internal impededance, capable of supplying infinite current-- something that doesn't exist in the real world. Its a concept useful for modelling...but only so long as your load resistance remains high enough for the abstraction to remain valid.

I don't know how I can explain this any simpler. If you don't want to believe me, there are countless online references to verify against.


RE: 2.5kV?
By eetnoyer on 1/5/2007 8:40:52 AM , Rating: 2
From my own experience in high school physics. We built a tesla coil with an approximate calculated voltage of 65-75kV and noone suffered any harm from the 1" or so sparks. Unless, of course, you count the guy that was standing a little to close to the island bench and arced to the outlet from his zipper.

Not an EE, just a chemist, but have a rough understanding of the subject.


RE: 2.5kV?
By oTAL on 1/8/2007 10:11:13 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Unless, of course, you count the guy that was standing a little to close to the island bench and arced to the outlet from his zipper.


Now he can please the ladies many times a night (batteries sold separately).


RE: 2.5kV?
By NaughtyGeek on 1/4/2007 6:45:13 PM , Rating: 2
100000 Volts/1000 Ohms = 100 Amps


RE: 2.5kV?
By DangerIsGo on 1/4/2007 9:24:59 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
ground potential - and that is most likely what you were when you touched that conductor (I assume it was one of those demonstration thingies that make your hair stand up and the like).

There is a reason why 50V (AC @50Hz) is considered the safety threshold for humans. For DC, it is 120V.


Dont you mean positive +?

And isnt it AC = 120V and DC = 50V?


RE: 2.5kV?
By Griswold on 1/5/07, Rating: 0
RE: 2.5kV?
By masher2 (blog) on 1/5/2007 6:26:54 AM , Rating: 4
> "Thus, to get away from such demonstration without burn marks, you need to stand on a insulated platform, while touching the high voltage potential."

No and no. You're probably thinking of a Tesla coil demonstration, which generates not only an extremely high voltage, but a sizeable current as well. However, there are plenty of high voltage sources which are safe, grounded or not, such as a Van der Graaf generator. Even simple static electricty sparks can go to 10kV or more....ever seen anyone die from them?




RE: 2.5kV?
By Hawkido on 1/4/2007 6:34:43 PM , Rating: 2
Higher Frequency electricity has the tendancy of moving over the surface of a conductor (your body), where lower frequency electricity takes a somewhat shorter path, occasionally cutting through the center of the conductor to get to the surface on the other side.


RE: 2.5kV?
By Griswold on 1/4/2007 6:47:25 PM , Rating: 1
Indeed. But that is in the kHz range.


RE: 2.5kV?
By MrTeal on 1/4/2007 9:41:59 PM , Rating: 2
That's assuming the device can supply 100 amps. 120/240V mains lines are dangerous because they can supply alot of current and even if they don't stop your heart, they can cause substantial burns.

A small device who's power supply is designed to provide up to say 10W at 8.5kV would have it's power supply sag well before the point it would cause damage. You'd get a nasty zap but that'd be about it.


RE: 2.5kV?
By Griswold on 1/5/2007 3:50:17 AM , Rating: 2
That was not the point. The point was mashers vague and laymen-esque description of electricity. Smattering like that can get people killed.



RE: 2.5kV?
By masher2 (blog) on 1/4/2007 11:55:43 PM , Rating: 5
> "Let's say you touch 100kV and we assume a body resistance of 1000 Ohm...we will see a current of 100mA flowing through your body (I=U/R)...It is, however, not an issue if you're properly insulated from ground potential - and that is most likely what you were "

No, you're incorrectly using Ohm's Law. In simple terms, you must realize that real-world voltages are not idealized sources, and do not remain constant regardless of load. Even in the case of 120VAC house current-- once current begins flowing, the potential drops. Voltage is measured assumming infinite resistance (or, if you prefer, zero amperage).

In the case I described, I most certainly was touching a >100kV voltage source while well-grounded, and thus current was flowing through me. A few microamps at most...which explains why I'm here typing. The reason your calculation of current was incorrect is, because the moment I touched that source, the current flow caused a corresponding potential decrease.

> "Also, ventricular fibrillation is not only a result of current flowing through your heart. Frequency is also a important factor..."

Certainly; I never said otherwise. However the fact remains that amperage is the primary factor in inducing fibrillation. Voltage is irrelevant, insofar as enough exists to overcome body resistance.


RE: 2.5kV?
By Griswold on 1/5/2007 3:45:57 AM , Rating: 1
quote:
No, you're incorrectly using Ohm's Law. In simple terms, you must realize that real-world voltages are not idealized sources, and do not remain constant regardless of load. Even in the case of 120VAC house current-- once current begins flowing, the potential drops. Voltage is measured assumming infinite resistance (or, if you prefer, zero amperage).


Now you make me smile. You are of course partly correct, but the potential drop is not nearly as big as you make it sound. Please, remain with me in reality. Ohms law is perfectly clear. The example is perfectly valid. The fact it may not occur due to technical limitations/safeguard of the voltage source does not change that.

quote:
In the case I described, I most certainly was touching a >100kV voltage source while well-grounded, and thus current was flowing through me. A few microamps at most...which explains why I'm here typing. The reason your calculation of current was incorrect is, because the moment I touched that source, the current flow caused a corresponding potential decrease.


Dont forget to mention what kind of voltage source it was. In your case, it was, most likely, a van-de-graaf generator, which generates DC (with indeed extremely low currents due to the static nature of the voltage) and thus you would not need to be insulated from ground potential. Try that with a tesla generator and report back, if you can.

quote:
Certainly; I never said otherwise. However the fact remains that amperage is the primary factor in inducing fibrillation. Voltage is irrelevant, insofar as enough exists to overcome body resistance.


Again vague and incomplete. Current is a result of voltage in your body. DC will not to the same as AC either.



RE: 2.5kV?
By masher2 (blog) on 1/5/2007 6:41:48 AM , Rating: 3
> "Now you make me smile..."

Always happy to provide a little joy in people's lives.

> "Ohms law is perfectly clear..."

It's always been so to me. The fact remains you're applying it incorrectly, by assuming idealized voltage sources. Connect a 1000 ohm resistor across a 9V battery, and you can treat that battery as an idealized source. Connect a 0.1 ohm piece of wire across the terminals, and you cannot. Many high voltage sources supply very little current, and thus to measure their voltage potential at infinity, then apply Ohm's Law using that voltage against a low resistance, gives incorrect results.

This is really pretty basic electrodynamics. And it explains why some high voltage sources, such as a static sparks, Van der Graaf generators, and the ionic generator in this article-- are all non-fatal to touch.





RE: 2.5kV?
By BladeVenom on 1/4/2007 6:25:22 PM , Rating: 2
Static electricity can be over 10,000 volts.


RE: 2.5kV?
By KaerfSusej on 1/4/2007 9:56:02 PM , Rating: 2
A static spark is about 10,000 volts per inch, though as the above stated, it has almost no amperage.


RE: 2.5kV?
By Googer on 1/5/2007 12:39:36 AM , Rating: 2
10Kv is not much. A typical static discharge on a cold morning will release about 75-100Kv or more. It's not the Voltage the causes problems for living beings, it's the amperage.

My only concern with combining ionic wind technology with electronics and computer chips is the constant preasence of static discharge that can and will destroy transistors and especially intergrated circuits (IC).


RE: 2.5kV?
By rtrski on 1/4/2007 4:07:00 PM , Rating: 3
Yes, your wall plug (assuming you're in the US) is at about 115 - 120 V. 2.5kV = 2500, or ~24 times that.

Absolute voltage doesn't really matter necessarily, though, its voltage and current together that give you power flow. I built a small amplifier that generated about 20 kW at 20 kHz but only a few milliwatts as the power source for one of those lighting-arc-in-the bulb "plasma generators" as a college project. It ran off a standard AC plug input and sucked less juice than a 40W bulb.

I don't know why they'd consider this as an improvement solely in the absence of heat sinks. Why not use an ionic method to generate the airflow over a heat sink instead of fans? It might potentially be quieter, but the price / noise improvement might not be worthwhile....


RE: 2.5kV?
By HaZaRd2K6 on 1/4/2007 4:23:39 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
generated about 20 kW at 20 kHz but only a few milliwatts


That looks like a bit of a contradiction to me. It used 20,000 Watts and "only a few milliwatts"? I'm thinking there's a typo in there somewhere.


RE: 2.5kV?
By masher2 (blog) on 1/4/2007 4:33:24 PM , Rating: 2
I'm sure he meant to type kV, not kW.


RE: 2.5kV?
By KristopherKubicki (blog) on 1/4/2007 4:08:45 PM , Rating: 2
Well, they don't say it but if this thing is running at like .. 1 amp, then its using 8,500 watts. P = IV

The company says they have prototypes that use 0.1W to cool a 0.1 cm^2 area. If its the same protype they are talking about earlier, that would mean 0.1 = I * 8,500 ... I = 0.0001 amps.

I dunno, they have a long way to go to make this feasible


RE: 2.5kV?
By DarthPierce on 1/4/2007 4:34:14 PM , Rating: 2
If they are using 0.1W, that's actually quite efficient, an ordinary 120mm fan uses more than that.

IT's not important if it uses high voltage, high voltage does not mean high power... a static spark from you finger is on the order of 20,000V but has very very little power. A netburst processor might be only using 1.4 volts, but using 100W.

If it were (as you said) using 1A at 8.5KV, it would be putting out more energy than the sun for that surface area.... Clearly that wouldn't be cooling anything.

At 0.1W it's drawing only 0.000012A (12uA) which is not an unreasonable value in the world of ion-generation.


RE: 2.5kV?
By masher2 (blog) on 1/4/2007 4:51:56 PM , Rating: 2
> "If it were (as you said) using 1A at 8.5KV, it would be putting out more energy than the sun for that surface area..."

The rest of your post was quite accurate, but this one went a wee bit overboard. The sun radiates more than 600 megawatts/sq meter, so even if this covered an area as small as 1 cm^2, it would still be considerably cooler than the solar surface. :)


RE: 2.5kV?
By DarthPierce on 1/4/2007 7:42:38 PM , Rating: 2
his post references a .1cm^2 area.

8500W per .1cm^2 is 850MW/m^2

Which is an incredibly high power density.


RE: 2.5kV?
By vdig on 1/4/2007 4:20:45 PM , Rating: 1
1.21 gigawatts! Whoops, wrong quote.

8.5kV is absolutely brutal, and nigh unacceptable for the purposes of PCs. However, if a less potent form of this technology can be implemented in tandem with traditional cooling solutions, it just might be useful.

Those developers need to find a way to make this much more power efficient. As it is, I do not want to touch this with a 10 foot plastic pole.


RE: 2.5kV?
By Egglick on 1/4/2007 4:42:38 PM , Rating: 2
Usually when a device uses very high voltages like 8.5kV, it only uses a tiny amount of current.

An example would be a camera flash, which uses circuitry to amplify voltage and build up a charge in a capacitor (up to 4kV) and then discharges it all at once, illuminating the flash tube. It can do this from an AA battery, because it's only using a miniscule amount of current.

Not knowing much about the technology, I couldn't tell you how much current these coolers are using, but I doubt that it's anywhere near an amp (or even half an amp), even if they say usage is still unacceptable.


RE: 2.5kV?
By WayneG on 1/4/2007 6:10:59 PM , Rating: 2
I'm sorry it had to be done...
"1.21 jigowatts!!!?!"
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jigawatts
:P


RE: 2.5kV?
By Hawkido on 1/4/2007 6:31:18 PM , Rating: 3
Please don't confuse voltage with power. Static electricity can be generated on carpet as high as 4000 to 40,000 volts. Voltage is just a measure of the Pressure (for lack of a better word) of electricity. you can convert 1V @ 1A to 1MV @.000001A with a transformer. they both have the exact same power (wattage). as for danger the amperage is what kills (usually), unless the voltage blasts you apart. The Voltage AC has a frequency, and the lower the Hz the more voltage is required to jump an arc, the higher the Hz the less voltage is required to make the jump but the more eratic the arc will be, because it will take the least resisting path per each alternation, sometimes coiling around in a circle several times or dancing playfully in the glass bulb of a Tesla Coil from Spencers at the mall.

quote:
8.5kV is absolutely brutal, and nigh unacceptable for the purposes of PCs


This voltage is necessary to project the force of electricity from the electrodes into the air. Any less and the electricity wouldn't be able to ionize the air, more voltage will ionize more air, however the more the air is ionized the more conductive it becomes, and the greater chance it has of jumping an arc. They probably use an air core transformer just like what is in a Tesla Coil to jack up the voltage (and inversly drop the Amperage at the same time) and let it dance around in the 'trodes releasing electrons into the surrounding air, thus ionizing it. The power consumed by most ionizers is very little tho the voltages can be astronomical.

You should look up Tesla's work on AC voltage, he pretty much invented all things AC or the fundamental mechanics (electrics?) that is the foundation of our modern world. Radio, remote controlled radio devices, transformers, AC motors, multiphase AC motors, multiphase AC generators, flourescent lightbulbs,Rotating Magnetic Field, X-rays, golly it just goes on, all before the 1900's.


noise
By jp7189 on 1/4/2007 4:29:11 PM , Rating: 2
I'm no EE, but wouldn't the high voltage generate a lot of electrical noise? Combine with it's close proximity to the CPU.. I'm thinking CPU wouldn't function.

How about a stray 8.5kv lightning bolt through the middle of the core?




RE: noise
By dagamer34 on 1/4/2007 4:40:50 PM , Rating: 2
You not being an EE shows.

P = I * V
Power = Current * Voltage.

It really doesn't matter if the current is high if the current is extremely small.


RE: noise
By shaw on 1/4/2007 4:54:20 PM , Rating: 2
Amps is proportional to voltage and inversely proportional to resistance of the human body. In the United States, mains line provides 110V which is generally non fatal for a wide range of human body resistances. If 110V was fatal then I'd be dead from sticking a bobby pin into the electrical socket when I was a kid. Obviously prolonged exposure of electricity is fatal. At 240V (such as Europe) there is much greater danger but if your hands are dry you will only get a painful shock. You might get temporarily paralysed for a week. It's rare to die from a 240V shock.

Higher voltages as presented in electric train tracks (600-1000V) will kill you.

It only takes about 12 milliamps across the chest to kill but that's only a small portion of story.

In order words I seriously doubt you'd have any major harm from this form of cooling.


RE: noise
By masher2 (blog) on 1/4/2007 5:05:13 PM , Rating: 2
It doesn't work quite like this. As stated above, voltage is only relevant as long as its high enough to overcome the body's resistance. In some cases, 12V can conduct through the body, in others 250V isn't enough.

120VAC can certainly be fatal, and has killed thousands of people...though very few since home electric codes added ground wiring, GFCI circuits, and other improvements. The usual mode of death is for someone to touch a 120V conductor, which causes muscle spasm, and prevents them from releasing it. Once current is flowing, your body's resistance begins to decrease, till enough amperage exists to cause heart fibrillation, then eventual death.

The second mode in which electricity is fatal is from sheer resistive heating. Being fried to death, in other words. In this case, a 120VAC house circuit is not enough, as its typically breaker-limited to 15-30A.


RE: noise
By shaw on 1/4/2007 5:17:47 PM , Rating: 2
Blah, I didn't mean to put in that last sentence. There goes proof reading for you. Meant to say "8.5KV isn't to be taken lightly in my opinion."


RE: noise
By masher2 (blog) on 1/4/2007 5:19:33 PM , Rating: 2
You should have stuck with the original...it was much more accurate :p


RE: noise
By jp7189 on 1/5/2007 3:11:27 PM , Rating: 2
The point of my original post wasn't to point out human health risks.. I was asking if the EMI off this thing would cause instability in the gates of a CPU core?

And additionally, if say a piece of dust went through there, the possibility of 8.5kv shorting straight to the CPU core instead of through the cooling device... causing the core to fry outright.


Pros and cons of ion cooling
By Guigsy on 1/5/2007 7:31:39 AM , Rating: 2
As mentioned, InventGeek show you how to make a home-made ionic fan for a few dollars (http://www.inventgeek.com/Projects/IonCooler2/Over... ), but it doesn't look very safe or healthy.

With a normal heatsink, there is a 'skin' of air that's stuck to the surface of the heatsink. The closer you get to the surface, the slower the air moves. The more pins, dimples and fins you add, the worse this effect becomes. The heatsink conducts the heat into this skin of air, which then conducts it further from the heatsink until it reaches the wind-blast of your nice big fan you've got strapped to the top. This skin of air is very thin, only a few mm, but it insulates your CPU very nicely.

Ion cooling works by charging up the heatsink so much that the electrons literally jump off of it into this skin of air. This electrically charged (ionized) air is then repelled by the heatsink. This removes the skin effect and drastically increases the effectiveness of a heatsink, and without any moving parts, so it's very quiet.

The negative is that you've got a high voltage inside your PC that could hurt you. The voltage can also fry chips very quickly. Also, many people think ionized air is bad. Maybe Dell will produce a case with security bolts on the outside and switches to prevent you from switching it on when it's open? I can't see a solution an enthusiast's market any time soon.




By masher2 (blog) on 1/5/2007 7:43:30 AM , Rating: 2
> "With a normal heatsink, there is a 'skin' of air that's stuck to the surface of the heatsink. The closer you get to the surface, the slower the air moves. The more pins, dimples and fins you add, the worse this effect becomes..."

Very true..which is why this ionic cooler, if coupled with an ordinary heatsink/fan combo, could potentially offer superior cooling with less noise and airflow. As a standalone solution, though, I'm considerably more pessimistic.


RE: Pros and cons of ion cooling
By mindless1 on 1/5/2007 9:26:21 AM , Rating: 2
You've succeeded in learning a basic principle then misinterpreting the extent of the effect.

No it does not extend several mm, and no the effect is not "worse". It is greater but not worse, the difference is the larger surface area of the 'sink.

Further your idea ignores the temperature gradient between 'sink surface and surrounding air. That ALONE makes the skin concept of minimal effect, that skin is constantly expanding air (which is then less dense) rising away, and if it did not then it and the surrounding air would also have a similar thermal gradient to whatever extent it did not (rise away). If we weren't talking about a heatsink it would be more significant.

That doesn't mean we wouldn't see a bit of an improvement by increasing the velocity of the air across the heatsink surface, but it's not such a primary focus that it's worth isolated consideration.


RE: Pros and cons of ion cooling
By Guigsy on 1/5/2007 3:31:26 PM , Rating: 2
What I meant was that as you add more and more bits to the heatsink, the air stagnates more and more. Once you get close to the heatsink, the air isn't turbulent anymore. This thin lamina of air relies on convection to pull the heat away the sink before it moves into the turbulent layer where it's churned up with cooler air and hopefully moved away. Ionised air on the otherhand breaks away immediately and picks up speed and moves away from the heatsink. It is more efficient.


RE: Pros and cons of ion cooling
By mindless1 on 1/6/2007 3:56:08 AM , Rating: 2
The air does not "stagnate more". The bits necessarily do one of two things (both actuall). Create more turbulence in the vicinity of the 'sink and increase air velocity.

Skin effect should be seen as just an observation, not something used to make heatsink decisions regarding "bits" on heatsink.

Ionised air is not necessarily "more efficent", because you have now more parts to the cooling subsystem, which can't be ignored any moreso than a better (hunk of metal) heatsink itself would be, and you are only assuming their ionized air stream could do the job as of yet the article and picture show a die that would fry because only a tiny spot has a temp reduction.

If you want to only consider efficiency in one aspect of heat transfer, yes it could help, but so could many things that are ignored for practical reasons.

There are lots of novel concepts that aren't actually reasonable. Put a tiny peltier assembly BEFORE the fan intake to cool the air some - taken in a similar vague interpretation we can say cooler intake air is better, as ionized air stream is better. In reality, the diminishing return of having a mini peltier AC outweigh the benefits of either removing it, or putting the TEC directly on the core instead of the air barrier.



By masher2 (blog) on 1/6/2007 4:47:01 AM , Rating: 3
> "The air does not "stagnate more"..."

Actually he's correct, though his language is a bit vague. Adding surface area to a heat sink in the form of "additional bits" does indeed impede airflow, and can reach a point of diminishing returns. Allow me to quote from A numerical study of the thermal performance of an impingement heat sink:

quote:
The addition of the surface area for heat dissipation with the help of heat sinks, however, is not directly proportional to the enhancement of heat transfer. On the contrary, in some cases, it might result in a degraded performance...

...in the optimum design, [the removal] of fin material lowers the pressure drop and allows better [air] penetration...
> "Ionised air is not necessarily "more efficent"..."

Not "necessarily", of course. Just like "a heatsink" isn't necessarily better than none at all. The point of all this, though, is that this solution is potentially more efficient...especially when coupled with traditional forced-air cooling.


Health problems?
By Hare on 1/4/2007 4:43:59 PM , Rating: 2
Doesn't this create ozone? I remember reading about someones DIY project with this sort of cooling. I did some googling and found out that ozone is a problem with these things.

Having your PC on 24/7 in a small room would not be a good idea.




RE: Health problems?
By masher2 (blog) on 1/4/2007 4:56:53 PM , Rating: 2
They do create ozone, but typically in very low amounts. Additionally, its fairly simple to add a catalytic screen which converts it back into O2...though I'd imagine this would reduce the cooling ability somewhat.


RE: Health problems?
By Comdrpopnfresh on 1/4/2007 8:32:25 PM , Rating: 2
the air purifiers cam under scrutiny from consumer reports for the amount of ozone they created- higher than government standards allowed. They added the very large, very expensive catalytic converts (catalysts' effectiveness are dependent upon the surface area exposed). A re-evaluation by consumer reports revealed that besides adding a bunch of expense, they didn't reduce the ozone amounts much. So they do add a lot of ozone, and it can't be effectively contained, unless you make a whole case made of the catalyst (even so, I basically made that part up, and doubt it will do much. lol)


RE: Health problems?
By Comdrpopnfresh on 1/4/2007 8:28:32 PM , Rating: 2
what about this thing creating ozone? lol
try reading the two posts directly above. :)


RE: Health problems?
By Mockthedevil on 1/4/2007 8:35:10 PM , Rating: 2
This news item is nicely coincidental with a recent Mythbusters episode where they try to make an antigravity machine. One of the devices they test ends up working by creating an ionic airflow. The testers do comment about the amount of ozone being created.


what about the ozone?
By Comdrpopnfresh on 1/4/2007 5:04:05 PM , Rating: 4
The problem with those ionic air-purifiers is that they create considerable amounts of ozone. When ozone gets into contact with certain polymers (usually those in newer carpet) they release carcinogens into the air. Would people really want a computer that both spews out ozone (considerably more than the current case would send out) and possible carcinogens?

I think a much simply answer would be to stop trying to best physics, and place the contents of pci and pci-e cards on the top. Heat goes up, and here we are approaching 200watt graphics units with all the heat-generating components under the card, and the heatsink under that!

An even easier solution would be to remove the part of the card directly above the gpu, and either allow for a heatsink or peltier device to be placed there, moving all the pin-like connections to the outer edges of the processor itself.




RE: what about the ozone?
By tk109 on 1/4/2007 6:26:03 PM , Rating: 2
You know what? I really wanted to post about how sick I got from using two of those ionic breezes. But I figured people would call me a loony or something and not believe me.

For about a year I had two of those. I slowly got sicker and sicker until I felt I was seriously dieing of something. I couldn't even do anything but lay around and feel sick. My whole body and mind felt horrible all the time and it kept escalating. I decided to turn off my Ionic breezes. I started feeling better right away and after a few weeks was back to normal. I turned them on again thinking it was a fluke. GOT VERY SICK AGAIN! Turned it off and got better. Tried one more time just to be sure and as soon as I started feeling sick again I dumped those things like a bad habit.

Those things either need to be banned or have some giant sticker with a huge warning on it. It's really scary and debilitating to be that sick. All from some stupid little air filter. That really makes me feel better knowing the reason behind it and it's not just me. Thanks!


RE: what about the ozone?
By UnFaZeD on 1/4/2007 10:24:40 PM , Rating: 2
why not try just ONCE more....for quad times sake...


RE: what about the ozone?
By peternelson on 1/4/2007 11:23:31 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah just to reach the 9999.99999 confidence level of established testing and confirm your results are not just a statistical improbability.

Of course you could do the test the other way and put a bag over your head with the concentrated breeze and see if you collapse unconscious or get cancer or something. That would be more compelling proof.

But, seriously, you're right, that was the first thing I thought.

"Lifters" are either used outdoors (when not windy), in big rooms like warehouses or for very short term demos at science fairs etc.

To run ionic cooling 24x7 in your bedroom would likely make you sick, and that would distract you in your fps gaming.

Have you considered a class-action lawsuit after your experiences? It would appear to have more merit than "Warning: this coffee may be HOT".


It is silent...
By tjoynt on 1/5/2007 4:04:33 AM , Rating: 2
The main reason I would want to use one of these is that it is totally silent, much preferable to an annoying fan.

As an aside, negatively charged air (like ocean breezes or after the rain) generally make people feel better, while positively charged air often makes people feel worse (e.g. dry inland "Santa Anna" winds). I think most air ionizers put out -ions, but maybe some put out +ions and make people feel sick.




RE: It is silent...
By mindless1 on 1/5/2007 6:38:09 AM , Rating: 2
You have it backwards.

"With this method, the velocity of air being moved needs to be extremely fast"

Any way you look at it, that's going to create turbulence. A fan is example enough, you can use a tiny fan to move X amount of air faster with more turbulence (which is louder) or a far larger fan.

If you find all fans annoying, you simply haven't ever used a cooling system set up well. Air cooling does not have to be loud, even moderate in noise level. You merely have to select a product that isn't designed to be cheap rather than efficient (and use very low RPM fan), though it would still tend to be cheaper than this ionic cooling which is likely to end up more of a novelty than a reasonable solution. Remember- it is not some new discovery to move air like this, the humble heatsink and fan are used because they are the best solution presently possible.

Best doesn't mean "highest performing" for those geeks who somehow think in abstract terms that cooler = better, when in reality the goal is just to keep a part cool enough at price point low enough to be attractive to sell in sufficient volume.


By Dfere on 1/4/2007 4:15:44 PM , Rating: 2
Wow. So if this fails, there is no heatsink of any sort to even give enough time for the computer to cut out? If a fan fails currently, the heatsink still offers some protection. Who wants to spend $300 on any device which can fry in an instant?




sounds very interesting
By One43637 on 1/4/2007 6:24:55 PM , Rating: 2
i have an ionic breeze and i'm very satisfied with the amount of cool air it moves in a 12x12 room.

now if they can implement something like this, then maybe people can say goodbye to giant heatsinks like the Tuniq or Ninja? not to mention that quiet computing enthusiasts will be rejoicing at perhaps one day of not having to put up with a hair dryer of a fan on their graphics card.




Like mass lifters
By peternelson on 1/4/2007 11:10:17 PM , Rating: 2
If the ionic breeze is just to generate airflow I don't really see the benefits over a conventional fan.

Anyway this reminds me of various lifter experiments:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ionocraft

These vehicles work on high voltage ionisation to fly using a self-generated "wind".

However "require many safety precautions due to the high voltage required for their operation and the risk of lung and throat cancer from long term inhalation of their ionised air product"

"not to mention the associated health hazards due to excess inhalation of ozone and NOx produced in the corona."

GIVEN THAT PC ARE USUALLY USED INDOORS IN NOT VERY WELL VENTILATED SPACES, there is potential for the ionisation technology to make your air hazardous. Including DEADLY.

Of course you could always just not breath in, or operate your pc wearing a space suit or diving equipment.

Personally I wouldn't trust this cooling tech until the air it kicks out has been thoroughly tested for long term health effects, which the designers may not be aware of.




it's been tried
By The Boston Dangler on 1/5/2007 12:59:40 AM , Rating: 2
inventgeek.com attempted this, and SPCR pretty much ripped them a new one




well
By thepinkpanther on 1/5/2007 6:53:00 AM , Rating: 2
In europe its 220-230 volts...well in Denmark it is.

The difference between this voltage and the 110 in usa is that the amperage is half. thus giving the same amount of power.

Really dont know whats its called on english but there is safety in houses normal that shuts of the power if a thing like the bobby pin in power out happends. That has saved many lives I guess. Its both to protect the installation so the house dont burns down plus to protect humans.

I learned in school that Amperage kills people not volts!

Thats the most simpel thing to remember. A 100.000 volts static zap wont kill you due to the lack of amperage....and thats enough proof.

But this new hot technology needs 8500kw to work...and I almost bet that include more amperage than the firm behind the test wanna tell us at the moment. I for sure will not touch anything of that..I guess you are dead then.

The process of this "masterpiece" is likely very power dependent...otherwise we would have seen it before. Another part is that most emit lots of sparks and static electricity in the machine....not good at all for sensitive equipment. Its just one small zap away from making it a very DEAD PC.





Ionic breeze" computer.
By montgom on 1/5/2007 7:56:24 AM , Rating: 2
This is great! I now can have a combo unit, my computer and my ionic breeze in one simple unit. Imagine all the clean air!!! Great 2 for 1 unit!!!! ;-)
Bob




Use what is already there
By iNGEN on 1/7/2007 1:03:29 PM , Rating: 2
I don't get it. We encase the operating parts of our machines in a, relatively speaking, great big chunk o'metal right now. Am I the only one who hasn't overlooked the tremendous surface area it presents, not to mention a significantly larger thermal mass than a common heatsink.

Why not loose the window and turn the side panel into a giant heatsink. Ad a few fins to the outside,some sort of thermal conductor (heatpipes, water lines, etc.), maybe a small pump if necessary, and "presto chango" no more cooling problem. At a lab I worked in we used 8"x8" TEC panels (they cost under $100 in 1997). You could even add a TEC layer in enthusiast cases to further increase thermal transfer.

When you need more surface area you can just make the side-panel cool graphics and chipset while the top-panel cools the CPU.

With the right design you could rely on convection and bouyance to provide all the air movement and end up with a silent system. Silent, not passive, only because a pump for the primary conductors might still be necessary.

Hell you could even ionize the panel for movement if you were so inclined.




"Death Is Very Likely The Single Best Invention Of Life" -- Steve Jobs

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