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Curtin research to help make faster computers a reality

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Curtin University of Technology researchers have developed a novel method of providing efficient cooling for electronic components and circuitry that may enable faster and more powerful computers.

The product of work by Curtin’s Head of Mechanical Engineering, Associate Professor Tilak Chandratilleke, Dr Ramesh Narayanaswamy and Dr Deepak Jagannatha, the process uses a pulsing fluid jet ― a synthetic jet ― that interacts with the flow of coolant through microchannels in a special heat sink attached to the processor.

Associate Professor Chandratilleke said that unlike traditional methods, this cooling system had the unique advantage of not requiring additional fluid circuits to operate and did not incur extra fluid pumping costs.

“This technique has the ability to provide up to four times the thermal enhancement of current cooling methods used in electronic cooling,” he said.

“This is a necessity if we are to develop faster computer processors and more powerful electronic devices.”

Associate Professor Chandratilleke said despite their potential, synthetic jets had not been used to cool electronics before.

“Although used for cooling purposes in other applications, synthetic jets have never been used to cool computer and other electronics components,” he said.

The synthetic jet mechanism is mounted on the microchannel and uses an oscillating diaphragm that moves back and forth at a specific frequency, forcing fluid through a small orifice into the microchannel, creating a pair of counter-rotating vortices, cooling the fluid.

Professor Chandratilleke said although some more experimentation was required, the current understanding of the process signals high potential for this technology.

“Although nothing is guaranteed in research, we have a very promising technology here that may provide the future of semiconductor coolant technology,” he said.

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