Mimicking a Magnetic Field to Cool Electronics

Guest_Jim_* - March 7, 2013 11:08AM in Science & Technology

Just as important as the CPU in your computer is what you use to keep it cool. If the chip gets too hot it can start to throw errors, which is bad for a personal computer and unacceptable for a server, which is why so much money is spent on cooling server farms. A team of researchers from multiple institutions including Elhuyar Fundazioa and Cambridge University have recently found a new way to apply a cooling method that may ease cooling costs.

Scientists have known about the magnetocaloric effect, which relates magnetic fields to a material's temperature and how it could be used for cooling devices for some time. Due to the required magnetic fields though, such a cooling method has been unusable within computers as the fields could disrupt operation. What the researchers have discovered is that it is possible to mimic the effect of a magnetic field on a material by straining it. That means it should be possible to cool a material using the magnetocaloric effect without risking any damage to the components around it.

Conveniently, this technology should exist at the same scale as modern electronics, so if it becomes possible to produce, it will fit right in with computer components. Technically it could also be scaled up for large-scale cooling, like refrigerators, but doing so would not be economical at that size.

Source: Elhuyar Fundazioa