Immersion cooling, in which electronics are submerged in liquid coolants, is gaining popularity in the cooling industry. Companies have become aware of the benefits of immersion cooling in extreme environments, such as oil rigs or in the desert. The U.S. military is also considering liquid-immersion cooling to save energy in tropical camps.
Two types of liquid-immersion cooling include single-phase and two-phase. Single-phase is when an electronic device is placed in a metal case, and the liquid absorbs heat from the electronic device as the liquid flows over the case. The liquid is then pumped to a cooling unit outside, thus reducing the temperature.
Two-phase is a more complex process. “Heat from electronic components vaporizes liquid coolant, which condenses again in an outside unit as the heat is transferred to water. A fluid called Novec made by 3M is popular because it changes easily between gas and liquid and doesn’t adhere to electronics,” according to researchers.
Liquid immersion cooling has proved more successful than other cooling methods, since air cooling and other methods still require fans or air conditioners. Immersion cooling also saves 20 percent on costs, 40 percent on power and 60 percent on space.
“Liquid cooling will grow at about 16 per cent per year through 2019. The military is expected to drive modular designs because it operates in remote locations and requires security and mobility,” according to TechNavio.
Some companies that have already begun using immersion cooling include Icetope, LiquidCool Solutions (LCS), and Allied Control and Silicon Graphics Inc. (SGI). Icetope and LCS use single-phase cooling and SGI uses two-phase cooling.