Through a joint project with the United States Air Force and the University of South Carolina an advanced cooling fluid was developed for the purpose of electronics cooling. The motivation was to develop a cooling fluid that could handle the increased thermal loads from higher powered multi-processor electronics. The intent was to develop a fluid to remove more heat without having to increase thermal management system size, therefore keeping air craft weight to a minimum. This was an extensive project that took 4 years of research and development. A state-of-the-art test loop was built using National Instruments data acquisition hardware and Particle Image Velocimetry (PIV), which enabled an extremely controlled and accurate experiment. Other precision research techniques utilized during development were scanning Electron and Transmission Electron Microscopy and Dynamic Light Scattering (DLS).
The product of this research was an advanced nanofluid coolant that enhanced heat transfer by almost 20%. With limitations on practical heat exchanger designs this cooling fluid stands to revolutionize the electronics cooling field by allowing increased heat removal with the same or even smaller sized cooling hardware. Recognizing the need for such a product in the computer industry, the developers are now making this advanced cooling fluid commercially available.
A graph of the Ice Dragon Cooling Fluid is shown below compared to de-ionized water.
One of the advantages of Ice dragon Cooling fluid is that comparable heat removal rates can be achieved with the same size components but with lower fluid flow rates. This can have a two fold advantage in that it will ultimately save energy, especially at the larger liquid cooled server scale, and it will reduce noise because of reduced pump and fan speeds.
The amount of pump work is related to the viscosity of the working fluid. Therefore, an investigation was done during research and development to determine viscosity differences. The graph below shows that at room temperature there are differences in the viscosity of the Ice Dragon Cooling fluid compared to water. However , as temperature increases the viscosity difference decreases. At normal operating temperatures of cooling fluids there is no appreciable difference in the viscosity compared to water. This demonstrates that at normal system operating temperatures there will be negligible increase in pump work due to differences in viscosity and proves energy savings potential of reduced pump and fan speeds.
The benefits in the gaming aspect are tremendous. Testing on high end gaming computers has proven successful. Temperatures have been shown to be reduced by over 4 degrees in serious gaming systems. One of the common misconceptions about thermal control of gaming computers is that a large radiator is necessary for heat removal. It is common to see large radiators that are capable of removing several times the heat that a CPU or CPU/GPU combination can produce. This is an unnecessary practice because it is impossible to lower the temperature of the working fluid to less than the ambient temperature. For systems that are extremely overclocked and pushing the thermal envelope Ice Dragon Cooling fluid can be a real benefit. The thermal management system can be small enough to fit within the case yet still be capable of keeping temperatures in the proper range.