Thermal Management Terms – Different Ways to Cool Electrical Equipment

If electrical devices could reach 100 percent efficiency—meaning they didn’t generate waste heat as they operated—then cooling systems would not be needed to prevent overheating. Unfortunately, that isn’t currently possible; however, thermal management for electronics has advanced impressively over the years, making it easier and more efficient than ever to keep vital electronics functioning properly. At Noren Thermal, we utilize over 40 years of experience in the industry to create customized ways of cooling electrical equipment, and three of the most common methods are convection, conduction, and phase-change cooling.

Convection Cooling

Convection, which means transference, is one of the most commonly used methods of cooling an electrical enclosure, and describes moving heat from one area to another through the flow of a low-density fluid, like air. Through natural convection, heated air will naturally move toward the cooler area, while the cooler air moves towards the electrical components. In forced-air convection, this movement is facilitated through the use of small fans, especially when the amount of air flow is specified and must remain constant.

Conduction Cooling

Conduction cooling involves the transfer of heat between solid materials, such as metals with high thermal conductivity that absorb heat near electrical equipment and transfer it away. Cold plates use principles of both conduction as well as convection and are often recommended for applications where thermal management must efficiently cover a larger area.

Phase-Change Cooling

Phase-change heat exchangers utilize latent heat of vaporization to provide consistent cooling with minimal power consumption and no risk of air contamination. Latent heat of vaporization describes the heat that is absorbed when a liquid, such as water, is converted into a gas. The same level of heat is also released when the gas is condensed back into a liquid. Phase-change heat exchangers take advantage of this transfer to absorb the waste heat given off by electrical equipment, cool it in another area of the unit, and then transfer the cooled liquid back to continue absorbing heat.

Find the Thermal Management Solution that’s Best for You

With increasingly advanced ways to manage electrical waste heat, it’s become easier for executives in all types of industries to find the greenest and most efficient thermal management solutions. To learn more, call Noren Thermal, Inc. at 650-322-9500, or toll-free at 866-936-6736. Located in Menlo Park, CA, Noren proudly produces all of our products in the United States and delivers them to clients nationwide.