Let’s Boil a Computer!

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Two-phase immersion cooling is an efficient and cost-effective way to cool data centers. Additionally, this method is far less likely to negatively affect the environment because it uses significantly less water and electricity than conventional cooling. Electronics are submerged in a non-conductive fluid so there is no damage to components. The temperature of the fluid remains near its boiling point to create a saturated gas-liquid state in the tank. Microsoft Corp. has started to implement this technology but needs a small-scale tank in which to perform tests.

The students designed, developed, integrated and tested a novel tank design for system optimization.

The design consists of a quartz tank and acrylic lid, sealed with a laser-cut rubber gasket. Fluorinert, created by 3M, is the fluid in which the computer is submerged. As the computer heats up, the Flourinert begins to evaporate and increases the internal pressure of the tank. Sensors inside the tank monitor the temperature, pressure and level of Fluorinert. This data, along with the increased tank pressure helps control a cooling loop that condenses gaseous Fluorinert and maintains a temperature at or below boiling, which is highly efficient for the processor.

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