The design freedom offered by additive manufacturing has provided the advanced thermal management techniques required to optimize cooling with low flow rates and high heat transfer performance.
Using COMSOL Multiphysics numerical analysis and additive manufacturing, copper, aluminum, and titanium cold plates for single-phase flow were devised, manufactured, and tested. While simple cold plate designs using tubes or channels have been the easiest, low cost method for cooling electronics, heat transfer near the channel walls is reduced due to laminar flow. By changing the flow direction to impinge the hottest surface with high velocity coolant, the heat transfer coefficient is maximized.
Typically, microchannel cold plates have been expensive to manufacture requiring precision machining and brazing. By designing to the tolerances of the direct metal laser sintering process guidelines for wall thickness, feature detail, surface finish, and support design and removal, each cold plate can take advantage of complex internal passages to optimize performance and cost for single-phase and two-phase systems.
A coldplate design using manifolds and microchannels was designed to maximize cooling efficiency and minimize pressure drop. By evenly distributing the coolant and then directing flow into microchannels perpendicular to the heated surface, large heat transfer coefficients are obtained with a corresponding low cold plate thermal resistance (<0.04 in2-°C/W).
Lightweight, thin, optimized organic geometries, textured surfaces, and low cost are only some of the advantages for this approach to thermal management. Additive manufacturing provides a reliable, single piece construction of high performance cold plates using novel materials and structures.
- Improve thermal management in high power electronics
- Reduce weight in cooling systems
- Adjust thermal performance to changing requirements
Why Is It Important?
The desire for increased capabilities in high power electronics has required better thermal management techniques that are reliable, low cost and lightweight. By combining additive manufacturing with optimized numerical analysis, complex cooling geometries can be designed that could not be produced by traditional machining.