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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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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.


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