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Copper Conformal Coating Tech Allegedly Crushes Traditional Heatsinks in Efficiency


bonami2
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Researchers coated entire devices in poly and copper layers.

The researchers describe their experiments and findings in a paper entitled "High-efficiency cooling via the monolithic integration of copper on electronic devices," as spotted by Science Daily. Highlights of the new copper conformal coating technology are that it takes up little in the way of physical space in a device and that it is much more efficient than current copper heatsinks. The researchers demonstrated a 740% increase in the power per unit volume. 

WWW.TOMSHARDWARE.COM

Researchers coated entire devices in poly and copper layers.

 

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Sound interesting, but I'm not exactly how this is supposed to work based on the article. Is this a replacement for thermal paste or is it a coating on all of the copper that transfers heat to the air more efficiently, or is this some kind of solder? 

 

Or is it like a non-conductive liquid metal that coats the entire device turning the whole device into a big heatsink?

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5 minutes ago, UltraMega said:

Sound interesting, but I'm not exactly how this is supposed to work based on the article. Is this a replacement for thermal paste or is it a coating on all of the copper that transfers heat to the air more efficiently, or is this some kind of solder? 

 

Or is it like a non-conductive liquid metal that coats the entire device turning the whole device into a big heatsink?

 

 

 

The original article as a bit more information here.

 

 

 

WWW.SCIENCEDAILY.COM

Electronic devices generate heat, and that heat must be dissipated. The high temperatures can compromise device function or even damage...

 

 

 

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I am highly interested in this topic. Thermal transfer results are fantastic, but as we all know copper is conductive for electricity as well. This coating couldn't possibly help if it is making contact with traces on a PCB. 

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5 hours ago, UltraMega said:

Or is it like a non-conductive liquid metal that coats the entire device turning the whole device into a big heatsink?

I was hoping for this, but can't see how that would be possible if it's copper. 

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1 hour ago, Avacado said:

I was hoping for this, but can't see how that would be possible if it's copper. 

Maybe a first thin layer without copper then a second layer with it or something. What i don't understand is how the heat gonna move through the pcb area. I mean we already have deadly hot spot on some gaming laptop keyboard that reach 40-50c and those are not even touching the motherboard.  

 

I think it would only work for low tdp hardware like phone / tablet etc.

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Posted (edited)

Found an article that explains it in more detail:  

 

NEWATLAS.COM

A team from the University of Illinois and UC Berkeley has demonstrated a new cooling method that sucks heat out of electronics so efficiently that it allows designers to run 7.4 times more power through a given...

 

So in a nutshell, they coat the electronics with something that protects them from the copper first, then put the copper on. Not as magical as it first sounded, just very tight fitting copper. 

 

 

Edited by UltraMega

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13 minutes ago, UltraMega said:

Found an article that explains it in more detail:  

 

NEWATLAS.COM

A team from the University of Illinois and UC Berkeley has demonstrated a new cooling method that sucks heat out of electronics so efficiently that it allows designers to run 7.4 times more power through a given...

 

So in a nutshell, they coat the electronics with something that protects them from the copper first, then put the copper on. Not as magical as it first sounded, just very tight fitting copper. 

 

 

Without knowing the thermal transfer capability of the conformal coating they are using it is impossible to tell if it would have a consumer application. I can't see it being much better than thermal paste to copper. What do I know? I am not an engineer 🤷‍♂️

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Posted (edited)
32 minutes ago, Avacado said:

Without knowing the thermal transfer capability of the conformal coating they are using it is impossible to tell if it would have a consumer application. I can't see it being much better than thermal paste to copper. What do I know? I am not an engineer 🤷‍♂️

Well, even if it were just the same as thermal paste, in theory you could cover a part with thermal paste and then cover it with copper, if you could get the thermal paste to stay in place well enough and that would definitely work better. The issue that I see is that typically heatsinks get saturated with heat at some point and having them transfer heat from the CPU better wouldn't really change anything, because eventually the bottleneck is just how fast heat can transfer from the heatsink to the air. Like, a hyper 212 on a 12th gen i9 is not going to work no matter how well it transfers heat from the CPU to the heatsink. 

 

I could see this being useful for laptops, or even some special super high performance situation but not much else. What would really be a game changer would be a way to transfer heat from a heatsink to the air more effectively. 

Edited by UltraMega

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7 minutes ago, UltraMega said:

Well, even if it were just the same as thermal paste, in theory you could cover a part with thermal paste and then cover it with copper, if you could get the thermal paste to stay in place well enough and that would definitely work better. The issue that I see is that typically heatsinks get saturated with heat at some point and having them transfer heat from the CPU better wouldn't really change anything, because eventually the bottleneck is just how fast heat can transfer from the heatsink to the air. Like, a hyper 212 on a 12th gen i9 is not going to work no matter how well it transfers heat from the CPU to the heatsink. 

 

I could see this being useful for laptops, or even some special super high performance situation but not much else. What would really be a game changer would be a way to transfer heat from a heatsink to the air more effectively. 

I agree with you. I wouldn't consider this as an application for CPU's. But would definitely for RAM modules and VRM's. 

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16 minutes ago, Avacado said:

I agree with you. I wouldn't consider this as an application for CPU's. But would definitely for RAM modules and VRM's. 

Might work for ram, but I think the main issue with this is that it would have to be installed by the manufacturer so anything that might need to be repaired/replaced wouldn't work or would have to be sent out for RMA at the very least, and I'd imagine it could make RMAs harder for the manufacturer. 

 

Or... now that I think about it a little more, I guess it could be used on individual component basis where stuff like VRMs could be coated before they are even added to the motherboard, but I think you end up with the same problem of not having enough heat to air transfer. You could have VRMs that transferred heat to a heatsink better, but if that heatsink is still as small as VRM cooling usually is, I don't think it would make much difference. As far as desktop parts go, I think it would make the most sense for high end ram because it would allow for heatsinks to actually fit and work well enough, but they would still need to add cooper or aluminum fins on top so the heat can go somewhere. but for VRMs there is already enough room to easily add some fins on top and if VRMs needed more cooling it would be easy to just make those fins bigger or add a small fan. 

 

I guess really this isn't a way to transfer heat a whole lot better as much as it is a way to get a copper base for a heatsink to fit in tighter spaces.

 

 

Interesting to think about all the implications. 

 

 

because-of-the-implication_o_150451.jpg

Edited by UltraMega
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