Chinese Scientists Invent Passive Saltwater Cooler, Boosts CPU Speed by a Third

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Researchers from the City University of Hong Kong and the School of Energy and Power Engineering at Huazhong University of Science and Technology in Wuhan have introduced a passive cooling system for computer components based on saltwater. This innovative system enables a processor to operate 32.65% faster by avoiding throttling, with the cooling agent being self-regenerating, absorbing moisture directly from the air.

Termed the HSMHS (Hygroscopic Salt-Loaded Membrane-Encapsulated Heat Sink), the system comprises a standard radiator coated with a layer of porous membrane material filled with a water solution of lithium bromide salt. Cooling of electronic components occurs through the desorption of the salt solution – water vapor evaporates through the porous membrane, absorbing heat from the cooled element. Over time, the water reservoir replenishes itself by capturing moisture directly from the air.

Cooling processors, especially data centers, often incurs substantial costs for businesses and has a certain environmental impact. Passive cooling technologies are attractive as they lack moving parts and do not require direct power supply. However, existing passive cooling solutions typically face rapid overheating, resulting in decreased performance of computer components. The HSMHS system, based on lithium bromide salt, can cool electronics ten times longer than modern alternatives like metal-organic framework structures and hydrogels with phase transition. While the HSMHS is operational, the processor’s performance increases by almost a third, as indicated by the research.

For about 400 minutes, over 6.5 hours, the HSMHS maintained the processor temperature below 64°C. Subsequently, a downtime period begins during which the cooling system replenishes its cooling capability by absorbing moisture from the air. The inventors also tested an HSHS system without the membrane layer, but it proved less effective. Economically, the lithium bromide salt-based system is significantly advantageous, costing a thousand times less than the chromium-based metal-organic framework structure, which is also considered promising for passive electronics cooling.

Chinese scientists propose using their invention not only for cooling processors but also for solar panels, batteries, and entire buildings.

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Vasyl Kolomiiets
Vasyl Kolomiiets
I'm Vasyl Kolomiiets, a seasoned tech journalist regularly contributing to global publications. Having a profound background in information technologies, I seamlessly blended my technical expertise with my passion for writing, venturing into technology journalism. I've covered a wide range of topics including cutting-edge developments and their impacts on society, contributing to leading tech platforms.

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