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.

ACT custom liquid cold plateA cold plate is responsible for taking the heat from the device(s) and transfer it to a single-phase liquid coolant, circulating through internal channels of the plate and subsequently reject it 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

Cold Plate 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 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

Learn how an ACT’s customer got a 50% increase in cooling contact area with their cold storage cabinet

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 our 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.

For help selecting the right fit, contact an ACT engineer.


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

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 solutions

ACT designs and provides system-level cooling 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 the liquid cooling technologies to being able to cool very high heat fluxes with minimal pressure drop penalty. In particular, ACT’s R&D efforts in this area have been on the following advanced technologies for a diverse range of applications, including cooling of power electronics and computer microprocessors.

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, please contact The Thermal Management Experts at ACT today.

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