There are many different ways for dealing with the waste heat that electrical systems generate. In each case, the goal is to stop the waste from accumulating inside of electrical enclosures and causing components to overheat. What varies is the manner in which different solutions approach this goal. For example, traditional air conditioners use HVAC processes to generate chilled air and circulate it inside of the enclosure. Other systems use air compression to achieve a similar goal of chilling the waste heat. By contrast, many modern, custom thermal solutions take a different approach. For example, using more natural methods such as phase-change cooling, they can achieve efficient thermal management without having to rely on chilled air.
What is phase-change cooling?
Phase-change cooling is a thermal management method that takes advantage of an appropriate cooling fluid’s latent heat of vaporization. At a certain point, the fluid will absorb enough heat that it evaporates (changes phase) and becomes a less dense gas. The superheated fluid can be more easily transferred within a heat exchanger. When it reaches a heat dissipation area, such as a heat sink, it can release the heat and change back into a liquid phase. Then, it flows back to continue absorbing and transferring more waste heat.
How heat exchangers implement it
Heat exchangers of various kinds use phase-change cooling principles to address many different thermal management challenges, of all sizes. For example, pipe heat exchangers are common solutions in manufacturing and other applications because they can bend, lie flat, and fold as needed without impeding the flow of the cooling fluid. Plate heat exchangers use custom-machined flow paths within the plates to ensure maximum cooling results. In some applications, custom thermal solutions are designed as thermosyphons that utilize gravity to optimize phase-change cooling’s rate of heat transfer.
A step up from traditional cooling methods
The biggest difference between phase-change cooling and more traditional methods is that they work with electrical waste heat instead of against it. The cooling fluid won’t evaporate unless exposed to enough heat, and transferring the heated fluid doesn’t require much energy or complicated machinery. With the help of heat exchangers and similar custom thermal solutions, applications that once required large air conditioning apparatus to keep cool can now enjoy maximum operational efficiency with smaller, more agile, and more cost-effective thermal management.
For more information about custom thermal solutions that use phase-change cooling, call Noren Thermal Solutions in Taylor, TX, at 866-936-6736.