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Heat Pipe

Thermal cooling through the use of phase changes in liquids

Steve Smith talks about the heat pipe, and how it works using thermal conductivity and phase changes.

Episode #3-30 released on April 21, 2013

The heat pipe, a thermal conductive piece of copper tubing with a long history making it possible to cool everything from large computers, to thin portables like laptops, and tablets. Today's episode is a history lesson into this awesome technology, and an explanation into the process that makes it work.

The story of the heat pipe begins in 1942, when G.S. Gaugler theorizing the possibity the usage of a sealed thermal pipe that took advantage of thermal phase changes and thermal conductivity to cool various devices interfaced directly with the heat pipe mechanism. It would be 20 years before another person, G.M. Grover in 1962, invents the once theorized thermal heat pipe. This makes the heat pipe 51 years old, today.

The thermal heat pipe is made of a conductive materials like copper, and contains a liquid like water, ethanol, acetone, sodium, or mercury. In order, to make the thermal pipe, the manufacturing process requires that the heat pipe be heated, air pumped out of the pipe and a selected liquid to be pumped in. Once this has occurred, the heat pipe is sealed maintaining a low pressure vacuum that lends itself to having the liquid occurring in two possible phases simultaneously, most notably in its liquid and gaseous states. A wick is sometimes included on the walls of the thermal heat pipe allowing for the gas and liquids to interact only minimally.

In the case of computers, the heat pipe is also coupled with a heat sink and fan, allowing for the maximum amount of cooling through the process of thermal transfer. In this case, the heat coming off the pipes is absorbed by the heat sink, and the fan pushes cooler air through the heat sink, allowing for the heat sink fins to be cooled down, and the heat pipes to become cooler, as a direct result.

In a computer, you can use a thermal heat pipe to cool your motherboard, graphics card, and the CPU.

Next week, I will be talking about the twisted pair, and how this cable arrangements lends itself to the possibility of communication between people, computers, servers, etc...

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Host : Steve Smith | Music : Jonny Lee Hart | Editor : Steve Smith | Producer : Zed Axis Productions

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