Liquid Cold Plates

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.

What is a Liquid Cold Plate?

A cold plate is responsible for taking the heat from the device(s) and transferring it to a single-phase liquid coolant, circulating through internal channels of the plate and subsequently rejecting it downstream to a radiator. There are several thermal/mechanical advantages of a cold plate solution.

Thermal analysis of liquid loop used in card chassis design

Thermal analysis of liquid loop used in card chassis design

Advantages of a Cold Plate Thermal Management Solution

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


Cold Plate Design and Analysis for Thermal Management

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 we will analyze as part of the design:

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

CASE STUDY: Customer saw 50% increase in cooling contact area

Liquid Cold Plate Flow Options

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 flow options:

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

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

Liquid Cold Plate Material and Fluid Options

Envelope material and fluid compatibility are crucial considerations when designing a cold plate. The team at ACT has expertise in stable-compatible solutions.

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

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.

ACT provides system-level pumped liquid cooling thermal solutions

ACT designs and provides system-level thermal solutions. Cold plates used in conjunction with a pump, heat exchanger, heat sink, and liquid lines, comprise a typical pumped liquid cooling loop.  Pumped liquid cooling systems have been used in numerous applications including automotive engine cooling, avionics thermal control, and nuclear reactor cooling.  In many cases, reservoirs and valves are used to control the fluid volume and flow rate. The pump circulates the fluid in the loop, which picks up the heat in the cold plate and dissipates the heat through the heat exchanger.

Our team of thermal experts has been developing advanced liquid cooling technologies that are capable of addressing complex issues with conventional liquid cooling technologies. The goal of our efforts is to advance liquid cooling technologies to be able to cool very high-heat fluxes with minimal pressure drop penalty. In particular, ACT’s R&D efforts in this area of advanced technologies for a diverse range of applications include, the cooling of high-power, power electronics, and computer microprocessors or data center cooling.

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

From design to manufacturing, component, or system level, ACT’s Thermal Experts provide custom solutions from a proven partner. If you’d like more information about our custom cold plate design and manufacturing process, contact us!



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