The most well-known use of heat pipe technology is for the CPUs in high powered notebook computers and graphics cards. This began in the late 1990’s when CPUs such as the Intel’s Pentium processors came into wide use in the market. Today, the most common limiting factor in new notebook computer design is heat management. And without heat pipe technology, we wouldn’t have the powerful notebook computers that we have come to rely on extensively in our world today.
Because engineers are always looking for ways to make electronic devices faster, smaller and more energy efficient, this creates some unique challenges in designing them. This sometimes creates a need for heat sink designs with unusual shapes, contours and holes, but the result might be a heat sink that cannot handle the heat generated by these fast processors and require the use of heat pipe technology to help manage it.
Objects designed for space travel have very unique thermal management needs in order to combat the extreme conditions, temperature fluctuations, and widely varying conditions such as the impact of direct sunlight on the spacecraft–as well as the heat generated by this–then the elimination of that heat as the sun gets eclipsed as the craft orbits a planet or moon.
Spacecraft thermal control systems need to be able to manage all of these extremes with limited electrical power, and without the possibility of repair or routine maintenance–since the unit is most likely in deep space.
Using heat pipes to transport heat from the reactor core to the power conversion systems is a relatively new use of heat pipe technology. The initial prototypes of this technology are being used for powering spacecraft.
Most major forms of environmental temperature control use some form of heat pipe technology to manage the temperature. For example, air conditioners use heat pipe exchangers to help control the humidity in the environment and improve the effectiveness of the cooling coil by “pre-cooling” the hot, outdoor air before it reaches the AC unit.
Industrial processes in industries such as power generation and petrochemical production require a lot of heat to make the process work. Heat pipe technology is used to recover the heat and energy within the exhaust gases and direct it back toward the fuel combustion chamber helping to “pre-heat” the air. This saves a lot of energy, by not needing to expend more fuel to get the process up to working temperature, resulting in considerable energy cost savings for the industrial business.
Conventional ovens were one of the first innovations to use heat pipe technology to transfer heat for the cooking process. The use of a closed heat pipe system that allowed the transfer of heat via the evaporation and condensation of the working fluid in this system allowed foods to be cooked more uniformly, using less energy and avoiding contamination of the food from smoke and soot generated through the use of open flame in a firebrick-lined oven.
Getec offers a complete line of heat sink design and custom heat pipe bending services for efficiently managing heat transfer in electronics. If you are looking for a thermal management solution that uses heat pipe technology, give us a call at 888-999-8499, contact us online, or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org to speak to a heat pipe technology expert.