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Hardware Technology

Ionic Winds Chilling Your Computer 89

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the just-chillin dept.
Iddo Genuth writes to mention The Future of Things online magazine is reporting that Kronos Advanced Technologies in cooperation with Intel and the University of Washington claims to have developed a new type of ultra-thin, silent cooling technology for processors. The piece covers many of the cooling technologies currently available, how their new corona discharge cooler works, and a short interview with several of the key team members.
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Ionic Winds Chilling Your Computer

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 03, 2007 @06:51PM (#17452194)
    According to TFA this technology makes use of a huge amount of ions (apparently ozone O3 and NOx) which are toxic! []
  • Ozone? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AVIDJockey (816640) on Wednesday January 03, 2007 @07:18PM (#17452462)
    Wouldn't this increase the amount of ozone in the immediate vicinity? It's probably not as bad as an Ionic Breeze in that regard, but put dozens or hundreds of these things in an office space or computer lab and it wouldn't exactly be the healthiest breathing environment.
  • by Eto_Demerzel79 (1011949) on Wednesday January 03, 2007 @09:26PM (#17453412)
    I believe that if you ionize oxygen molecules you will create ozone (O3 instead of O2) due to lone electrons residing on the individual oxygen atoms of the ionized molecules(can anyone confirm this?) and the ionized nitrogen molecules would probably end up as N2O (laughing gas) or NOx. Why would you use such a method if it provides no inherent advantages over mechanical methods?
  • Re:double entendre (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Xyrus (755017) on Wednesday January 03, 2007 @10:36PM (#17453952) Journal
    There are some serious issues that need to be resolved before this thing can be used.

    The problem with electrostatics is that they have a tendency to charge any metallic object within their field.

    I took apart one the cheap $20 ionic air filter and did some experiments with electrostatic propulsion just for fun. It's not much above the 8KV range. However, put an aluminum can an inch or two away and touch it with a grounded metal object and you get a small spark from the aluminum can. So if you did have something like this in your machine, you better shield it so it doesn't inadvertently fry some other component.

    I can't imagine them implementing an ionic cooler at too much less than 8KV. At 1 KV, you're not going to get anything as far as ionic wind goes. My guess is that they wouldn't use anything less than 5KV.

    You also have to make sure that all the ions get neutralized, or you'd end up with objects being charged again.

    You'd also have to be mindful of dust collection (which ionic breeze machines do exceptionally well) and be in a relatively stable environment.

    To maximize ionic wind, you need the electron source to be on the verge of arcing to the anode (arcing kills the breeze). Unfortunately, this is dependant on many factors including air pressure, humidity, temperature, etc. So they would probably play it safe and set it back a bit to prevent arcing. Of course this lowers the wind, which means they need to use a higher voltage to acheive the same effect.

    I'm not saying it is impossible, but it's also not a walk in the park either. Electrostatics and computer components don't play well together. And given the power of most modern day cpu fans, you're going to need a lot more than a mere 5-8 KV ionic wind to achieve the same cooling effect.

    Now if they were talking about electrohydrodynamics using water, that's a little different. Basically, you can use electrohydrodynamics to pump water in a liquid cooling system without needing any moving parts. The concept is very similar to using an ionic breeze, only this time the medium is water. Since you have a denser medium, you can generate more force using electostatics (you can knock more electrons free as there are more in the immediate area).

    You still run into the problem of high voltage and shielding, but a liquid cooled system without any moving parts sounds pretty interesting to me.


Technology is dominated by those who manage what they do not understand.