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Old 15th March, 2005, 08:23 PM
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Lightbulb 'water'/air cooling method?

hi all,
a few days ago, i thought of a new way of cooling your computer by using fans and 'special water' (ethanol). If you know about ethanol, it takes away heat and still remains cool (just place a small blob of it on your fingertip and feel how cool it goes). My idea is that if you have a small plastic box about half full with ethanol, and then have a fan attaced to it somehow (attach it to the end of a small tunnel) and have the air blowing over the ethanol, it would be like having real life arctic cooling in you case, a breeze of fresh air almost. Then if you have another fan exhausting all the air from the tunnel, it would put cool air back into the computer itself. It would then just keep repeating this process until you switch the computer off. The only thing is dust in the solution itself but a fan filter would help prevent this. There's also the possibility of fumes from the ethanol which could be dangerous.

Does anyone know of a better cooling liquid which could be 'applied' in the same way and have similar or better cooling effects but without such fumes?

I'll get a diagram of my idea in a few days.
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Old 15th March, 2005, 08:51 PM
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You can't break the laws of thermodynamics. The reason the ethanol feels so cool is because it is evaporating. Evaporation is a cooling process and is the basic principal used in all phase change cooling systems.

If you are looking for an inexpensive way to cool your computer and are in need of a project that is "cool" as well as cool and you live in a somewhat dry enviorment I sujest a bong style cooler. You can achieve close to or even slightly below ambient temps.
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Old 15th March, 2005, 08:55 PM
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Your idea is to cool the air that goes into the pc? This wouldn't work I'm afraid. the ethanol it's self would be at room temperature, unless it had come straight from a fridge.
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Old 15th March, 2005, 09:20 PM
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I know it is evaporation but as the air is blowing over it, it would cool it by evaporating the heat. If there was just another way. I was thinking of using water instead of ethanol at first but the i thought that eventually the water would heat up.

I know the ethanol would be at room temperature but if it is taking the heat away from the air then it's not really important about how hot it gets, as long as it isn't too high.

Also, the bong idea is quite good, could make a 'fog' machine in the case, lol.

The initial idea of a wind tunnel brought me on to another idea earlier, what if you start with 80mm at the end, and then make it downsized to 40mm as you enter the tunnel, it would a higher air pressure and CFM forcing the air through faster while eliminating the 'dead spot'. There are also flaws with this as well. I'm just trying to think of an effecting cooling method that uses a liquid to keep the air cool.
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Old 15th March, 2005, 09:57 PM
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If you blow air through a tank containing liquid and then blow that air in to your case there is a risk of condensation forming inside the PC.
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Old 15th March, 2005, 11:19 PM
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But if it's room temperature then it can't take any heat away from the air, it's already at equilibrium
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Old 16th March, 2005, 12:21 AM
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The reason your finger feels cool is that it's providing the heat used to evaporate the ethanol. If you take that concept further, it'd make more sense to have a finish on the heatsink that could act as a wick for the ethanol. Perhaps a sintered finish, and a mechanism to keep the heatsink supplied with ethanol. The evaporation of the ethanol would then help the heat transfer to the air.

Of course, you've still got the twin problem of an inflamable mixture of ethanol/air as well as the danger it presents as an organic solvent. You could use water instead, but you'd need to ensure it was pure to prevent any build up of salts.
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Old 16th March, 2005, 12:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skool h8r
What if you start with 80mm at the end, and then make it downsized to 40mm as you enter the tunnel, it would a higher air pressure and CFM forcing the air through faster while eliminating the 'dead spot'. There are also flaws with this as well. I'm just trying to think of an effecting cooling method that uses a liquid to keep the air cool.
Aerodynamics are against you here. Axial fans (such as used in computers) can't generate much in the way of pressure. Any attempt to run them into much pressure quickly stalls the airflow over the blades and results in a huge loss of performance.

Instead, the use of a blower could be considered, as it doesn't have the "dead spot", due to it's design.
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Old 16th March, 2005, 12:29 AM
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There are plenty of solutions to having a dead spot now. Heatpipes are the most popluar, carrying the heat quickly from the hot core to thin fins
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Old 17th March, 2005, 05:34 PM
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I had another thought, similar to my previous one though. A windtunnel with a liquid coolant underneath in about the center but have small triangles 'redirecting' the air down so that it just 'brushes' over the liquid and then leaves through the exhaust fan. The tunnel itself would be circular apart from at the end's where the fans are fixed. I thought that it could be mounted on the bottom of the case blowing towards the hard drive. There would be a fan filter on each end to catch any outgoing condensation and any incoming dust. I also thought that it could be attached to a fan hole from the back of the case effectively cooling the air before it enters the case. The air would only just touch the surface of the water. I'll think of something i'm sure.
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Old 17th March, 2005, 05:38 PM
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The thing is you can't cool air down with liquid, the liquid is at room temp, so it can't cool the air down any more than this
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Old 17th March, 2005, 06:00 PM
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You can actually cool the liquid down below room temperature quite happily. Remember that changing state from liquid to gas requires energy. However, cooling air down any significant amount generally requires huge amounts of energy to be moved, and is not necessarily the most effective way of cooling.
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Old 17th March, 2005, 06:04 PM
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If you try to trap moisture with a filter the filter will become damp and air will not be able to flow through it.

Generally, in liquid cooling systems the coolant needs to be inside some kind of sealed enclosure such as a radiator. There are execeptions, for example where rivers are used to cool plant in factories, but even then the water is pumped in to some kind of enlcosed ducting or whatever.
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Old 17th March, 2005, 06:14 PM
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ok, ah well, doesn't matter.

anyway, a bit off topic now, getting a Radiation applique, Red UV exhaust fan, 2 red UV case fans and red fan filter all delivered for about £6.30 from ebuyer. If i add any more fan filters though, it makes the shipping go up a step to £5.49 and to say i only have £7 total to spend (incl. delivery) it's a bit much just for that. Not bad overall though. I'm also considering personally stenciling the primal logo onto the other side of my case. If i mark it out with pencil or spray it silver, it should look nice. If you can't tell from the order above, i'm going red (not embarrassed red, a red theme)(like i have said before).
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Old 17th March, 2005, 06:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skool h8r
I'm also considering personally stenciling the primal logo onto the other side of my case. If i mark it out with pencil or spray it silver, it should look nice.
If you want a frosted glass look on an acrylic window you can mask of your design and then use fine grit sandpaper to give the right area a frosted look.
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Old 17th March, 2005, 06:46 PM
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You could place a resivior at the air inlet to the case and place a flat wick direcly in the airflow path. Let the air pass over and around the wick, don't try to force it through it. As the water evaporates it will cool the air around it.

If anyone has ever heard of a swamp cooler (very popular in homes from 50's and 60's in the dry Souther California region) this is exactly the way they are used to cool and humidify homes. It will work if you are in a dry area. It won't work if you are in a damp area.
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Old 17th March, 2005, 07:51 PM
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well, it's getting to spring here and we are already getting temps of about 20 degrees C which ain't bad for this time of year in the UK. It's not really that dry round here apart from every few years (summer '96 was particularly dry and last summer was hot, hot, hot as well), it's all that global warming. I might just mod a PCI exhaust fan to work in the way i said earlier. The idea of a swamp cooler is also a good idea but as i said, it doesn't get very dry near me. It was nice today though, the first real sun since last year. It's still light at 7PM (just) which is always a good sign. I think i'll just try out my initial idea, just outside the PC and then if it's good, find a place inside the PC. I may just put a thick round tube from one side of the PC to the other or from top to bottom with fans at both ends (if top to bottom,have the exhaust fan at the top because heat rises (actually it goes from hot to cold but anyway)), the tube would be made from 'holy' aluminium (not religious style holy, just lots of holes in it), that would make a great cooler for the whole PC by dragging all the hot air (mostly created by the cathodes, i thought they were cold cathodes? ) from all major areas of the PC, silentX 9Db fans would be essential for it to be quiet though. Theres also a slight chance of case and fan resonance where they emit the same pitch sound which makes a horrible noise. I'll build a prototype of it if i get chance and then see if it works. I can't see any problems with it (apart from cutting up my case).

Soon i'll have a 'ultimate case cooling' tutorial soon, so i'll post it up soon. If anyone wants to include tutorials on homemade watercooling, homemade fan mods, etc. feel free to PM me with them, i'll check it over.
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Old 19th March, 2005, 01:14 PM
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oh they are cold cathods, compared to the normal ones which run rather toasty that is anyway.
As my sig says i'm a specialist in thermodynamics and fluid mechanics If you have any questions about cooling principles and such I can probably help.

The ethanol idea is good in theory, you'd just need a heck of alot of the stuff, and some way of catching the evaporated ethanol and then cooling it back to liquid as you'll run out rather fast.
I've recently done some cryogenics material and really the only effective way to go sub-ambient is via phase change cooling.
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Old 19th March, 2005, 07:02 PM
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you'd also have to condense the ethanol again, other wise you'd go thru quite alot quite quickly i would imaging
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Old 19th March, 2005, 08:02 PM
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My brother knows about thermodynamics but in a different way that could prove useful but not most of the time. I was thinking of the cold air intake system on some cars when i thought of the idea, even though they don't use liquid to cool it, they use the cool air outside. Maybe you could help me, Keith, design something that would literally cool the air coming into the PC. The way i look at things like air cooling is how i can make the air travel so that it travels straight at one edge and diagonally down at the other edge so that you can get the best possible airflow. Then i look at how it can be made more efficient and then how i can redirect that air to where i want it. As you probably know a lot more than me about this kind of thing, maybe you could advise me of a better cooling solution using a similar method. You mentioned phase change cooling, i assume this is something along the lines of solid-to-liquid, liquid-to-solid, etc. How could this be achieved? I also thought of a gel as this would remain in almost the same state but would eventually after prolonged use, turn liquid and probably evaporate.

Just a general fact for everyone: There are more than 3 states, there are solids, liquids, gasses, plasmas (plasmas are part solid, part liquid depending on circumstances), gels (Gels are part solid, part liquid but their particles are arranged in such a formation that they remain as a 'squishy solid'). There may be more but i don't know of any more ATM.
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