The limitations of legacy air cooling schemes are by now well known. Even the latest free-air cooling technologies have limitations relating to primarily to power density and energy efficiency. While emerging technologies such as direct water cooling can dramatically increase efficiency, density and the thermodynamic availability of waste heat, these approaches add complexity, cost and risk that the commodity datacom industry may be unwilling to bear. Recently published work has suggested the utility of a new cooling strategy termed open bath immersion cooling for datacom equipment. In this simple concept, servers are immersed side-by-side in bath of nonflammable dielectric liquid that boils off the heat generating devices. The vapor so generated condenses on a coil cooled by facility water and passively falls back to the bath. The process takes place within modular semi-openÂ baths, so-called because they are closed when access is not needed but operate at atmospheric. Power densities as high as 4kW/liter have been demonstrated with densely packed modules that simulate CPU packages. This presentation will include an overview of research to date including a comparison to existing pumped water systems and an introduction to a system-scale project currently in the proposal stage that would demonstrate the commercial viability of the technology.
Phil Tuma is an Advanced Application Development Specialist in 3Ms Electronic Markets Materials Division in St. Paul, Minnesota USA. He is currently working to demonstrate the utility of passive 2-phase immersion for cooling power electronics and datacom hardware.
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