Cold Plates

ACT Custom Cold Plate

ACT Custom Cold Plate

When convection air cooling isn’t capable of removing the heat load necessary to keep electronics under their safe maximum operating temperature, single phase liquid cooling solutions offer a high level of performance. Liquid-cooled cold plates are commonly used for high heat flux or high power electronics cooling applications.

Heat from the device(s) is transferred to a single-phase liquid coolant, circulating through internal channels of the plate and subsequently rejected downstream to a radiator. There are several thermal/mechanical advantages of a cold plate solution:

  • High heat transfer coefficient (h)
  • High heat load and heat flux capacity
  • Scalable
  • Adaptable to any temperature range

Design and Analysis

Thermal analysis of liquid loop

Thermal analysis of liquid loop used in
card chassis design

When designing a cold plate there are several challenges to overcome in order to create an optimal design. In many cases there are trade-offs between design options. ACT has significant experience in meeting thermal needs while minimizing operating and manufacturing costs. Below are several key performance features ACT will analyze as part of the design:

  • Pressure drop
  • Liquid flow path
  • Flow balancing
  • Material compatibility
  • Fluid Stability
  • Temperature Uniformity
  • Maximum Temperature
  • Weight / Size

Cold Plate Flow Options

Manifold Cold Plate Design for Power Electronics Cooling

Manifold Cold Plate Design for Power Electronics Cooling

There are several types of cold plate systems for consideration. ACT will analyze the design requirements and recommend the proper type of cold plate for your application. Below are several of ACT flow options:

  • Serpentine Tube
  • Manifold Tube
  • Mini Channel
  • Micro Channel

Each type of system configuration has performance trade-offs. For instance a micro channel design increases surface area for heat transfer, however, with certain flow rates, it could cause flow instability and large pressure drops.


Mini Channel Cold Plate

Mini Channel Cold Plate

Envelope material and fluid compatibility is a crucial consideration when designing a cold plate. ACT has expertise in stable compatible solutions. Below lists several material and fluid options.

  • Aluminum
  • Stainless Steel
  • Copper
  • Polymer Based
  • Water
  • Dionized Water
  • Water / Ethylene Glycol mixture
  • Dielectric Fluids

In addition to understanding traditional fluid/material compatibility, ACT has developed several coatings to increase corrosion resistance in certain materials.

Once the design has been completed, it can be prototyped and manufactured in our IS0 9001:2008 and AS9100:2009 quality certified manufacturing facility. You can be confident of the very best design and manufacturing practices from ACT.

If you’d like more information about our custom cold plate design and manufacturing, please contact an ACT representative today. (717-295-6061 /

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