The Chinese have invented a passive salt water cooler

The Chinese have invented a passive salt water cooler – it makes the CPU work a third faster

Scientists from the City University of Hong Kong and the School of Energy at Huazhong University of Science and Technology in Wuhan offered Passive cooling system for salt water based computer components – this system helps the processor to work 32.65% faster as there is no throttling. The refrigerant it contains regenerates itself – moisture is absorbed directly from the air.

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The system is called HSMHS (Hygroscopic Salt-Loaded Membrane-Encapsulated Heat Sink – a hygroscopic heat sink with a salt-filled membrane). It is a standard emitter covered with a layer of porous membrane material filled with an aqueous solution of lithium bromide salt. The electronic component is cooled by desorption of the salt solution – water vapor evaporates through the porous membrane, which removes heat from the cooled element. Over time, the water supply is replenished by absorbing moisture directly from the air.

Cooling processors in particular and data centers in general incurs significant costs for companies and causes certain damage to the environment. Passive cooling technologies are attractive because they contain no moving parts and do not require direct energy input. However, existing passive cooling solutions are now characterized by rapid overheating and thus a drop in performance of the computer components. The lithium bromide salt-based HSMHS system can cool electronics ten times longer than current alternatives: metal-organic frameworks and hydrogels – phase change materials. While HSMHS is running, processor performance increases by almost a third, the study found.

HSMHS kept the processor temperature below 64°C for approximately 400 minutes, more than 6.5 hours. A period of inactivity then begins during which the cooling system replenishes its cooling capacity by absorbing moisture from the air. The inventors also tested the HSHS system, which does not have a membrane layer and is therefore less efficient. HSMHS is economically advantageous: a system based on lithium bromide salt is a thousand times cheaper than a metal-organic framework based on chromium, which is also considered promising for passive cooling of electronics. Chinese scientists propose that their invention can be used to cool not only processors, but also solar panels, batteries and entire buildings.


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Dylan Harris

Dylan Harris is fascinated by tests and reviews of computer hardware.

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