Nanotech Yields Cooling Advances

CORVALLIS, Ore., June 14 (UPI) — U.S. scientists say they have created nanostructure coatings to make heat transfer more efficient and possibly revolutionize the nation’s cooling industry.

Researchers at Oregon State University and the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory said the nanotech coatings can remove heat four times faster than the same materials before they are coated, using inexpensive materials and application procedures.

“For the configurations we investigated, this approach achieves heat transfer approaching theoretical maximums,” said Terry Hendricks, the project leader from the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. “This is quite significant.”

The scientists said the improvement in heat transfer they achieved by modifying surfaces at the nanoscale has possible applications in both micro- and macro-scale industrial systems. They said their coatings produced a heat transfer coefficient 10 times higher than uncoated surfaces.

Heat exchange is a significant issue in many mechanical devices. For example, the radiator and circulating water in an automobile engine exist to address that problem. And heat exchangers are what make modern air conditioners or refrigerators function.

“Many electronic devices need to remove a lot of heat quickly, and that’s always been difficult to do,” said Associate Professor Chih-hung Chang. “This combination of a nanostructure on top of a microstructure has the potential for heat transfer that’s much more efficient than anything we’ve had before.”

The research is reported in the International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer.

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