Title:
CONTACT COOLED ELECTRONIC ENCLOSURE
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
Various embodiments disclose a system and an associated method to provide cooling to a plurality of electronic components mounted proximately to one another in an electronic enclosure is disclosed. The system comprises a cold plate that is mounted on the electronic enclosure to conduct heat thermally. The cold plate has a first surface to mount proximate to the plurality of electronic components and a second surface to mount distal from the plurality of electronic components. One or more heat risers are configured to be thermally coupled between the first surface of the cold plate and at least one of the plurality of electronic components.



Inventors:
Hughes, John Phillip Neville (MENLO PARK, CA, US)
Lipp, Robert J. (LOS GATOS, CA, US)
Application Number:
13/588836
Publication Date:
08/15/2013
Filing Date:
08/17/2012
Assignee:
HUGHES JOHN PHILLIP NEVILLE
LIPP ROBERT J.
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
361/704
International Classes:
H05K7/20
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:



Primary Examiner:
SMITH, COURTNEY L
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
CARR & FERRELL LLP (San Mateo, CA, US)
Claims:
We claim:

1. A thermal interface that thermally couples an electronic component to a heat-removal mechanism, the thermal interface comprising: a first pliable strength layer that provides strength to the thermal interface and substantially conforms to the profile of the electronic component, the first strength layer comprising a thin polymeric sheet; a second pliable strength layer that provides strength to the thermal interface and substantially conforms to the profile of the heat-removal mechanism, the second strength layer comprising thin polymeric sheet; a first and a second pliable conductive layer that facilitates heat transfer from the strength layer, the first and second conductive layers comprising thin metallic sheets, the first and second conductive layers coupled along a broad face to a broad face of the first and second strength layers, respectively, to form a first and second sheet; a thermally conductive fluid, thermally coupled to the first and second conductive layers, that facilitates heat transfer from the first conductive layer to the heat-removal mechanism, wherein the thermally conductive fluid is substantially self-leveling, inert, and electrically insular; and an auxiliary layer, fluidly coupled to the thermally conductive fluid, that facilitates diffusion of heat from the first conductive layer throughout the thermally conductive fluid, the auxiliary layer having a first and a second broad face; wherein the first sheet encapsulates the thermally conductive fluid against the first broad face of the auxiliary layer.

2. The interface of claim 1, wherein the strength layer comprises polyester.

3. The interface of claim 1, wherein the conductive layer includes aluminum.

4. The interface of claim 1, wherein the thermally conductive layer includes metal paste.

5. The interface of claim 1, wherein the heat-removal mechanism is a prismatic cold plate.

6. The interface of claim 1, wherein an entire broad face of the first and second conductive layers is substantially laminated to an entire broad face of the first and second strength layers to form the first and second sheets, respectively.

7. The interface of claim 1, wherein the edges of the first and second sheets are joined together to form a pouch that encapsulates the auxiliary layer, wherein the first and second conductive layers are in fluid communication with the thermally conductive fluid.

8. The interface of claim 7, wherein the first and second conductive layers comprise a single sheet, and the first and second strength layers comprise a single sheet.

9. The interface of claim 1, wherein the first sheet is joined to opposing edges of the first broad face of the auxiliary layer, and the second sheet is joined to opposing edges of the second broad face of the auxiliary layer.

10. The interface of claim 9, wherein the first sheet is joined to the perimeter of the first broad face of the auxiliary layer, the second sheet is joined to the perimeter of the second broad face of the auxiliary layer, the first sheet encapsulating the thermally conductive fluid against the first broad face of the auxiliary layer, the thermal interface further including a second thermally conductive fluid, wherein the second sheet encapsulates the second thermally conductive fluid against the second broad face of the auxiliary layer.

11. The interface of claim 10, wherein the first and second thermally conductive fluid have substantially the same composition.

12. The interface of claim 9, wherein the first and second sheets are joined to the auxiliary layer by adhesive.

13. The interface of claim 1, wherein the auxiliary layer is substantially metallic.

14. The interface of claim 13, wherein the auxiliary layer is a flexible plate.

15. The interface of claim 13, wherein the auxiliary layer electromagnetically shields the electronic component.

16. The interface of claim 13, wherein the interface is coupled to a hole in an enclosure wall, wherein the interface is substantially coplanar with the enclosure wall.

17. The interface of claim 1, wherein the auxiliary layer is porous.

18. The interface of claim 1, further including a coupling mechanism that couples the heat-removal mechanism and the thermal interface to the electronic component, wherein the thermal interface is disposed between the heat-removal mechanism and the electronic component.

19. The interface of claim 18, wherein the coupling mechanism includes metallicized adhesive.

20. The interface of claim 18, wherein the coupling mechanism comprises a clip that couples to an edge of the heat-removal mechanism and an edge of the electronic component and applies a substantially normal compressive force against a broad face of the heat-removal mechanism towards the electronic component.

21. The interface of claim 19, wherein the clip is a spring clip comprising two compressive tines coupled by a spring element, wherein the spring element applies a restorative reaction force to the tines when the tines are displaced from a resting position.

22. The interface of claim 20, wherein the end of each tine curves away from the opposing tine.

23. The interface of claim 21, wherein the coupling mechanism comprises multiple clips joined along a rail.

24. The interface of claim 19, wherein coupling the thermal interface to the heat-removal mechanism conforms the second sheet to the profile of the heat-removal mechanism by inflating a contact area of the second sheet, wherein the contact area is inflated by forcing the thermally conductive fluid away from the coupled area.

25. The interface of claim 18, further including a second coupling mechanism substantially identical to the first that couples the opposing edge of the heat-removal mechanism to the opposing edge of the thermal interface.

25. A cooling interface that thermally couples an electronic component to a heat-removal mechanism, the cooling interface comprising: a first thermally conductive strip, including a first section and a short section substantially perpendicular to the long section; a second thermally conductive strip, substantially identical to the first; wherein the first sections of the first and second strips couple to opposing broad surfaces of the electronic component, and the second sections couple to a second surface adjacent the broad surfaces, wherein the second section of the first strip at least partially overlaps the second section of the second strip on the second surface.



26. A cooling system that cools an electronic component, the cooling system comprising: a cold plate coupled to an enclosure; a thermal interface coupled between the cold plate and the electronic component, the thermal interface including: a first pliable strength layer that provides strength to the thermal interface and substantially conforms to the profile of the electronic component, the first strength layer comprising a thin sheet, a second pliable strength layer that provides strength to the thermal interface and substantially conforms to the profile of the cold plate, the second strength layer comprising thin sheet, a first and a second pliable conductive layer that facilitates heat transfer from the strength layer, the first and second conductive layers comprising thin sheets, the first and second conductive layers joined along a broad face to a broad face of the first and second strength layers, respectively, to form a first and second sheet, a thermally conductive fluid, fluidly coupled to the first and second conductive layers, that facilitates heat transfer from a conductive layer to the heat-removal mechanism, wherein the thermally conductive fluid is substantially self-leveling, inert, and electrically insular, and a planar auxiliary layer, fluidly coupled to the thermally conductive fluid, that facilitates heat diffusion throughout the thermally conductive fluid and structurally supports the first and second sheets, the auxiliary layer having a first and a second broad face, wherein the first and second sheets encapsulate the thermally conductive fluid against the first and second broad faces of the auxiliary layer, respectively; and a clip that couples the thermal interface to the cold plate comprising two tines with outwardly curved ends, the tines coupled by a spring element, wherein the spring element applies a compressive normal force through the tines to the opposing broad faces of the thermal interface and the cold plate.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims priority benefit of U.S. Ser. No. 12/535,272 filed on 4 Aug. 2009, which claims priority to U.S. Ser. No. 61/085,931 filed on 4 Aug. 2008, which are both hereby incorporated in their entirety by reference.

TECHNICAL FIELD

The present application relates generally to the cooling of compute and storage systems; and, in a specific exemplary embodiment, to a system and method for cooling electronic equipment in modularly deployed systems cooled by attachment to a cold plate.

BACKGROUND

In a variety of contemporaneous applications, various types of fluid-based cooling systems cool computers and other electronic equipment. In the simplest case, fluid moves heat from a hard-to-cool location to a different area. For example, a liquid circulation system consisting of a heat absorber, a pump and a heat dissipater could be employed to remove heat from hot electronic components to finned sides of a computer case where convective cooling with ambient air removes the heat without the use of forced air.

Enterprise-based compute and storage systems are increasingly deployed as modular systems with standardized form factor electronic enclosure modules mounted in standardized support structures. The standardized electronic enclosure modules can be devoted to perform any of a number of different functions such as computing, storage, or networking. The enclosure modules are commonly mounted in standardized support structures such as 19 inch (approximately 0.482 m) or 24 inch (approximately 0.610 m) wide racks. Such enclosures are commonly industry standard 1 U (1.75 inch; approximately 4.45 cm), 2 U (3.5 inch; approximately 8.89 cm), 3 U (5.25 inch; approximately 13.3 cm), or 4 U (7 inch; approximately 17.8 cm) high. Often, the reasons for the adoption of the larger 2 U, 3 U, or 4 U modules are to increase reliability of electronic components through improved airflow for cooling and to provide space for more adapter cards.

Modular enclosures are frequently air-cooled. The enclosures draw air in from the room in which they are housed by means of fans that accelerate the air and force it over the enclosure's internal components, thus cooling the components. The resulting heated air is exhausted back into the room. The room air itself is cooled by chillers or other means.

Other cooling methods have focused on fluid cooled systems using a cold plate means. The cold plate means are typically complex. For example, an individual spring-loaded cold plate is used for each component. Each cold plate, in turn, is connected with individual flexible pipes. Each cold plate includes, at least, a temperature-controlled valve, temperature sensors, and controllers.

Other cooling methods have employed a compressible thermally-conductive-material heat sink assembly. To be compressible, the heat sink assembly must conform to components to be cooled. However, all conformable materials have a relatively low thermal conductivity as compared to pure metals or heat pipes. Thus, the conformable heat sink assemblies have a relatively high thermal resistance. Consequently, very little heat spreading is provided such that each thermal interface must have a very low thermal resistance for the assembly to be effective. Further, the assembly is not extensible to vertical daughter cards on a motherboard such as, for example, dual in-line memory modules (DIMMs) used in computer and other memory systems.

Importantly, no existing solution comprises a conventional, modularly deployed system with a high thermal conductivity connectable to all components. Further, no such system also includes high heat dissipation on a conventional motherboard, including removable daughter and memory cards, to a common cold plate. Moreover, such a system should also be readily serviceable. Additionally, no solution proposes thermally connecting all such high heat dissipation devices to a common cooling plate by thermal elevation and co-planarization to a side of the enclosure. None of the existing systems further includes an easily serviceable system accessible through a removable lid as part of the heat removal system.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS

FIGS. 1A and 1B are a cross-sectional drawing illustrating an exemplary embodiment of an enclosure with heat risers and thermal interfaces, and a schematic representation of the thermal interface construction, respectively;

FIG. 2 is a bottom and side view of an exemplary embodiment of a heat-riser/spreader made from a highly thermally-conductive material such as a block of metal;

FIG. 3 is a bottom and side view of an exemplary embodiment of a heat-riser/spreader using heat pipes mounted in, for example, metal plates;

FIG. 4 is a bottom and side view of an exemplary embodiment of a heat-riser/spreader made from a flat heat pipe;

FIG. 5 is a bottom and side view of an exemplary embodiment of spring heat riser;

FIGS. 6A and 6B are a front and side view of an exemplary embodiment of a heat riser usable with a DIMM, and a schematic representation of an embodiment of a coupling mechanism;

FIG. 7 is a cross-sectional drawing illustrating an exemplary embodiment of an enclosure with an auxiliary card and a motherboard;

FIGS. 8A, 8B, 8C, and 8D are an isometric view of an exemplary embodiment of a planarization thermal interface bag, a cross sectional view of an embodiment of a thermal interface bag, a cross sectional view of an embodiment of a thermal interface bag including a joined third layer, and a cross sectional view of an embodiment of the thermal interface bag encapsulating a third layer, respectively; and

FIG. 9 illustrates an exemplary embodiment of a grooved interface between a between heat riser and a lid.

FIG. 10 is a schematic representation of a grooved support interface between a cold plate and a thermal interface.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

The description that follows includes illustrative systems, methods, and techniques that cover various exemplary embodiments defined by various aspects of the present disclosure. In the following description, for purposes of explanation, numerous specific details are set forth in order to provide an understanding of various embodiments of the inventive subject matter. It will be evident, however, to those skilled in the art that embodiments of the inventive subject matter may be practiced without these specific details. Further, well-known instruction instances, protocols, structures, and techniques have not been shown in detail.

As used herein, the term “or” may be construed in an inclusive or exclusive sense. Similarly, the term “exemplary” may be construed merely to mean an example of something or an exemplar and not necessarily a preferred means of accomplishing a goal. Additionally, although various exemplary embodiments discussed below focus on a thermal cooling system for electronic components, the embodiments are merely given for clarity in disclosure. Thus, any type of thermal cooling application is considered as being within a scope of the present invention.

Disclosed herein is a comprehensive system for adapting conventional electronic enclosures, components, motherboards, subassemblies, and similar components to conductive cooling systems. Also described herein are methods and structures to calculate and thermally couple electronic components or subassemblies housed in the conventional electronic enclosures though a side of the enclosure to a proximate cold plate. In a specific exemplary embodiment, the cold plate comprises a lid of the enclosure. In another specific exemplary embodiment, the lid contacts an external cold plate therein taking at least a portion of the function of the cold plate itself.

The electronic components, subassemblies, or similar components are thermally elevated, planarized, and coupled, by means of heat risers and/or thermal interfaces, to a proximate cold plate. The enclosures may be the common electronic enclosures described above, other form-factor enclosures, or unenclosed systems such as server blades or bare server motherboards. Each of these components are known independently in the art.

The contact-cooled enclosure described herein can, among other things, comprise an instantiation of the contact-cooled enclosure referred to in a previously filed patent application by Lipp and Hughes. The patent application describes a rack mounted cold plate system is found in U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 61/008,136, entitled “A Cooling System for Contact Cooled Electronic Modules,” filed Dec. 19, 2007, and U.S. Pat. No. 8,000,103, having the same title, filed Dec. 19, 2008 (issued Aug. 16, 2011), both of which are incorporated herein by reference in their entirety.

In an exemplary embodiment, a system to provide cooling to a plurality of electronic components mounted proximately to one another in an electronic enclosure is disclosed. The system comprises a cold plate to mount on the electronic enclosure and thermally conduct heat. The cold plate has a first surface to mount proximate to the plurality of electronic components and a second surface to mount distal from the plurality of electronic components. At least one of the plurality of electronic components are thermally coupled by one or more heat risers and/or thermal interfaces to the first surface of the cold plate.

In another exemplary embodiment, a system to provide cooling to a plurality of electronic components mounted proximately to one another in an electronic enclosure is disclosed. The system comprises a cold plate to provide heat removal. The cold plate is configured to be mounted external to the electronic enclosure. One or more heat risers is configured to be thermally coupled on a first end to at least one of the plurality of electronic components. A lid, configured to be mounted on the electronic enclosure, has a first surface to mount proximate to the plurality of electronic components and a second surface to mount distal from the plurality of electronic components. The lid has a plurality of holes positioned to accommodate the one or more heat risers to poke through the lid. A layer of thermal interface material thermally couples a second end of the one or more heat risers to the cold plate. In a variation, the thermal interface material may be affixed in the same plane as the lid and held in place with a series of clips placed around the periphery of the thermal interface, as shown in FIG. 8. Alternatively, tape (e.g. metalized tape) can be used for the same function. Another function of the lid is to provide a barrier against electromagnetic interference (EMI). By providing an electrical contact, either capacitively by means of the clips, metalized tape or lid overlap of metal layer 804, or an additional electrical connection between 804 or 805 and the surrounding lid 111 the interposed thermal interface material can provide a barrier against EMI.

In another exemplary embodiment, a method for thermally coupling a plurality of heat generating components in an electronic enclosure to a cold plate is disclosed. The method comprises calculating a power dissipation of each of the plurality of heat generating components, determining an acceptable temperature rise between the cold plate and the plurality of heat generating components, and determining an acceptable thermal impedance to maintain the acceptable temperature rise. A surface area of the cold plate needed to conduct heat from each of the plurality of heat generating components is calculated. A type of heat riser selected for each of a plurality of heat risers is determined based on the thermal impedance where at least one of the plurality of heat risers is associated with each of the plurality of heat generating components.

In another exemplary embodiment, a thermal interface to provide cooling to a plurality of electronic components is disclosed. The thermal interface comprises a first layer of a first thermal interface material. The first thermal interface material has a first thermal conductivity. A second layer of a second compliant thermal interface material is joined to the first layer. The second compliant thermal interface material has a second thermal conductivity being lower the first thermal conductivity. In a specific exemplary embodiment, the first thermal interface material is laminated to the second complaint thermal interface material, and the edges sealed to form a bag. A thermally conductive fluid is encapsulated within the bag, as shown in FIG. 8A.

In a specific exemplary embodiment described herein, a system for thermally coupling one or more heat generating components in a 1 U enclosure to, for example, the removable lid of the enclosure, is disclosed. The lid can be further coupled to an external cold plate for additional heat removal. Although the actual descriptions provided herein are limited to 1 U enclosures, a skilled artisan will recognize that similar systems, methods, and means may be applied to other styles of enclosures of various styles and dimensions. In addition, upon reading the disclosure, the skilled artisan will further recognize that the heat may be coupled to a different side of the enclosure, other than the lid, such as the bottom. Coupling to a different side of the enclosure can be accomplished by rearranging various elements of the various embodiments described.

Overview

In an exemplary embodiment, described in detail below, one or more heat-generating components in an electronic enclosure are maintained at acceptable temperatures primarily through conduction cooling to a proximate cold plate. Heat is thermally coupled from the heat generating components to thermal interfaces, heat-risers or spreaders. The heat flux may be spread out over a larger area and further coupled through the enclosure lid to a cold plate for heat removal. Although heat and heat flux are the elements of interest, for purposes herein, power and power dissipation are sometimes used as a proxy for heat flux.

In an exemplary embodiment, a methodology to design a cooling mechanism for a given electronic component or components may start with calculating a design window. A physical implementation of the design can use information derived from the calculating steps.

In this exemplary embodiment, a design window can be calculated by identifying and quantifying (e.g., calculating) a power dissipation of all heat generating components that are not maintained at a sufficiently low temperature by natural convection and conduction cooling means. A maximum or acceptable temperature rise from the cold plate interface to the heat generating components is then determined. A maximum or acceptable allowable heat flux (or power) per unit area at the cold plate/enclosure interface is determined to maintain the maximum acceptable temperature rise. The heat flux per unit area is commonly referred to as the thermal impedance. A cold plate surface area required to conduct the heat to the cold plate is calculated for each the heat generating components. The cold plate surface area determines an overall thermal resistance between each of the components and the cold plate. Each of these calculations and associated governing equations are known independently in the art.

Physical Implementation

Once preliminary calculations are determined, a distance between each of the one or more components and the cold plate interface is determined. An additional spatial allowance is made for one or more thermal interfaces, generally between each of the one or more components and the cold plate interface. However, in certain applications, thermal interfaces may be placed between one or more of the components and an adjacent component as well. The one or more thermal interfaces can be placed in various locations, such as between a component and a heat riser, between a heat riser and a cold plate, or between a component and a cold plate, between a heat riser and a lid, between a component and a lid or between a cold plate and a lid, as aforementioned. A type and size of each of the heat-risers or spreaders is determined based on the heat flux, spreading information, and distances between each of the one or more components and the cold plate. The heat-risers or spreaders are produced and installed. The heat-risers or spreaders are generally placed to be substantially coplanar with the cold plate or lid interface with thermal coupling between the heat-risers or spreaders and the cold plate or lid, achieved with the one or more thermal interfaces. Similarly, the thermal coupling between lid and cold plate is achieved with a thermal interface.

1 U Enclosure Embodiments

A conventional motherboard is deployed in a 1 U form factor electronic enclosure. The 1 U electronic enclosure is nominally 1.75 inches (approximately 4.45 cm) high by 19 inches (approximately 0.482 m) wide by 24 inches (approximately 0.610 m) deep with a removable top lid in one embodiment. The enclosure may contain one or more of a compute server, a storage device, a network switch, a power supply, other electronic devices, or any combination, singly or multiply, thereof.

With reference to FIG. 1A, an exemplary cross-sectional view of an electronic enclosure 100 includes a lid 111 and has a motherboard 110 mounted therein. The electronic enclosure 100 and the lid 111 may each be fabricated from thermally conductive materials, independently known in the art. The motherboard no carries some or all of the VLSI components (e.g., integrated circuits in addition to discrete electronic components) and most, if not all, auxiliary circuits. The motherboard no is coupled to the electronic enclosure 100 via a plurality of standoffs 105. The motherboard 110 acts as a heat sink for components attached thereon. Through convective and radiative heat transfer to the electronic enclosure 100, the motherboard 110 has sufficient heat dissipation to provide generally sufficient heat removal for lower-powered circuits. Heat dissipation from the motherboard 110 may be further enhanced by one or more layers of thermal interface material 113 arranged between the motherboard no and one or more walls of the electronic enclosure 100. The thermal interface 113 functions to bring the motherboard no into thermal contact with the cold plate (e.g. enclosure wall or any other suitable cooling component.). Heat risers 102, 104 and 106 preferably conduct heat from higher-powered components to the cold plate (preferably through the lid). An exterior side of the lid 111 can be covered with a thin layer of a compliant thermal interface 103 to optimize contact with an external cold plate (not shown in FIG. 1A) while the interior side can be covered in whole or in part with a second layer of compliant thermal interface material 101 to optimize thermal contact with the heat risers 102,104 and 106.

Thermal Interface

In a specific exemplary embodiment, the compliant thermal interface 103 can comprise two layers laminated or otherwise joined together to form a sheet, as shown in FIG. 1B. The first layer 103A functions to resist wear and tear, and the second layer 103B functions to facilitate heat flux from the first layer 103A to the cold plate. The two layers can be laminated together, joined at or near the edges, in a quilted pattern, or in various other fashions as will be recognizable to a skilled artisan. Alternately, one layer may be deposited onto the other by chemical deposition, vacuum deposition, or any other suitable deposition method. In this specific exemplary embodiment, the layers can be substantially comprised of polyester and aluminum; the polyester layer being roughly about 0.5 thousandths of an inch (approximately 13 microns) in thickness and the aluminum, about 2 thousandths of an inch. A skilled artisan will recognize that other thicknesses and materials (such as PTFE, PET, LDPE or any other polymer or shear-resistant material for the first layer, and copper, gold, or any other conductive material for the second layer) can be readily employed. The substantially polyester layer provides strength and toughness to the compliant thermal interface 103 but the thermal conductivity is still high due to the relative thinness of the polyester layer. The substantially polyester layer surface also provides good thermal coupling from an external cold plate (not shown) to itself (i.e., the compliant thermal interface 103). The aluminum layer is substantially hermetic, containing the thermally conductive fluid, and spreads the heat flux coupled to the polyester layer from/to the external heat source/cold plate, ensuring a more uniform heat flux to a proximate thermally conductive fluid and reducing the overall thermal impedance. In a specific embodiment, shown in FIG. 8A, the dual layer sheet can be formed into a dual layer bag 801 by joining opposing edges of the sheet, by joining the corners of the sheet, or by joining a second sheet of substantially similar or dissimilar construction (e.g. materials, geometry, number of layers, etc.) to the first sheet. The edges and/or corners are preferably overlapped and laminated to seal the bag, but may alternately be crimped or otherwise joined. In another specific exemplary embodiment, shown in FIG. 8C, a dual-layer bag 801 could be formed and be further reinforced with a third layer 805 for strength or structure, such as a porous fiberglass though which a thermally conductive fluid 802 could flow, thus providing additional strength while maintaining good thermal conductivity. The third layer 805 may also be heat-conductive, such that it facilitates heat transfer within the thermal interface. For example, the third layer 805 may be a thermally conductive plate, coupled to the thermally conductive fluid 805, that facilitates heat spreading throughout the bag 801 (e.g. through the thermally conductive fluid 802). The conductive plate is preferably metallic or prismatic, (e.g. graphite), and is preferably slightly flexible, with a thickness of approximately 0.02 inches (0.5 mm). However, the conductive plate may comprise other materials, properties, and thicknesses. The conductive plate may additionally be porous or include through holes to allow thermally conductive fluid flow. The third layer 805 may be laminated along the edges to the bag 801, with a first 802 and a second 802A thermally conductive fluid encapsulated against each main face (shown in FIG. 8C). More preferably, layers, approximately 0.02 inch (0.5 mm) thick, of thermally conductive fluid 802 and 802A are encapsulated against the first and second main faces by a first and second dual-layer sheet, respectively, wherein the first and second main faces are joined along the edges to the edges of the third layer. However, the third layer 805 may be merely enclosed within the bag 801, such that the thermally conductive fluid 802 has unrestricted flow over every face (shown in FIG. 8D), or may be entirely laminated to the bag interior. Thermal interface 101 can also be similarly constructed. Where the thermal interface is to be used to provide electromagnetic shielding, an electrically conductive path 806, which can be a wire or a metal ribbon, may be attached to conductive layer 804 and auxiliary layer 805. When installed, an electrical connection is made to the lid. Clips or metal tape may be used to install the thermal interface, providing additional shielding by bridging the gap between lid and thermal interface.

Another variant of this dual-layer bag is described with reference to FIG. 8, below.

Higher power dissipation devices, in particular high-density (e.g., LSI, VLSI, ULSI, etc.) integrated circuit devices such as a CPU 108, a graphics chip 109, a memory 106, a power supply transistor 114, and inductors (not shown) require heat risers to provide a low thermal impedance path to a common plane as defined by, for example, the lid 111. The heat risers conduct heat to the lid 111 from a component that is, for example, from 0.9 inches (approximately 2.3 cm) to 1.3 inches (approximately 3.3 cm) below the lid 111. Consequently, in a specific exemplary embodiment, each of a plurality of heat risers 102, 104, 112 have an overall length of from about 0.9 inches (approximately 2.3 cm) to 1.3 inches (approximately 3.3 cm). Tops of the plurality of heat risers 102, 104, 112 are effectively planarized through the use of a plurality of riser thermal interfaces 101 so that at least one of the plurality of heat risers 102, 104, 112 conforms to the lid 111. Minimizing thermal impedances from a high power dissipation device to the external cold plate (not shown) can be accomplished by spreading the heat flux over a larger area. For example, one of the plurality of heat risers 102, which is also a heat spreader, is designed to spread the heat flux over an area about ten times greater at its top thermal contact with one of the plurality of riser thermal interfaces 101 to the lid 111 than at a bottom thermal contact 107 to the CPU 108. The ten times greater area thereby reduces the heat flux and thermal gradient across one of the plurality of riser thermal interfaces 101, the lid 111, and the compliant thermal interface 103 by a factor of about ten. The reduction in heat flux due to the greater area is more fully described under VLSI cooling below. As will be recognized by a skilled artisan upon reading the disclosure, a heat riser may be used to carry the heat away from more than one component. For example, one of the plurality of heat risers 102 is also in thermal contact with the power supply transistor 114, transporting heat generated therein, along with heat from the CPU 108 to the lid 111.

Thermal paths for high dissipation, high heat flux integrated circuit devices (e.g., devices fabricated according to VLSI or ULSI design principles) are provided by combination heat-risers/spreaders. Such heat-risers/spreaders have top surfaces from about two to twenty times larger than their bottom surfaces. For example, with reference now to FIG. 2, one of the plurality of heat risers 102 that also has heat spreading characteristics, is examined in further detail. In an exemplary embodiment, at least one of the plurality of heat risers 102 is constructed from a highly thermally conductive material, such as a metal block.

In a specific exemplary embodiment, the metal block is fabricated from aluminum. In this specific exemplary embodiment, the heat riser 102 is 3 inches (approximately 70.6 cm) wide by 6 inches (approximately 15.2 cm) long by 1 inch (approximately 2.5 cm) high. A pad area 202 is configured to mount to the CPU 108. The heat riser 102 receives heat from a high heat flux area of the pad area 202 and spreads the heat flux (illustrated by a plurality of dashed arrows 204) over a larger area 203 to reduce the heat flux. A surface area of the larger area 203 is about 10 times larger than a surface area of the pad area 202, thus reducing heat flux proportionately (i.e., by a factor of ten). Reducing the heat flux allows use of thermal interfaces with lower thermal conductivity, while still maintaining a thermal resistance from the electronic component through the lid 111 (or another side of the electronic enclosure 100) of less than about 0.25° C./Watt.

The heat riser 102 is installed in contact with the VLSI component, such as the CPU 108, using the same fixtures as are normally used to hold down a conventional heat sink. In this specific exemplary embodiment, two screws 205 secure the heat riser 102 to the VLSI component.

In other specific exemplary embodiments, the heat riser 102 can be constructed using a simple block of a conducting material such as aluminum or graphite. Each of these, and related materials, may be machined or cast into more complex shapes to optimize performance per unit weight, to fit into limited areas, or to contact multiple heat generating components. Alternately, the heat riser 102 may be fabricated from more complex constructs using, for example, heat pipes.

Referring to FIG. 3, another exemplary embodiment of a heat riser 102a uses a plurality of heat pipes 301. The plurality of heat pipes 301 are preferably tubular and may have a cross section that is round, square, or other shapes, and can be fabricated from highly thermally conductive material such as, for example, copper. They typically contain a small amount of fluid, generally water under a partial vacuum. The plurality of heat pipes 301 are thermally coupled with two or more parallel plates (only two plates are shown for clarity) including a small plate 302 and a large plate 303. The small plate 302 and the large plate 303 can be fabricated from any highly thermally conductive material, such as copper. The small plate 302 is intended for placement on top of the device to be cooled, such as the CPU 108, and the large plate 303 can be placed against the lid 111 of the electronic enclosure 100 (see FIG. 1).

The plurality of heat pipes 301 is arranged so that their center sections are in good thermal contact with the small plate 302 and each of the ends of the plurality of heat pipes 301 are arranged in good thermal contact with the large plate 303. In a specific exemplary embodiment, thermal contact with both the small plate 302 and the large plate 303 is augmented by placing each of the plurality of heat pipes in grooves (not shown explicitly but understandable to a skilled artisan) milled into the small plate 302 and the large plate 303. The grooves are roughly equal in diameter to each of the plurality of heat pipes 301. In another specific exemplary embodiment, each of the plurality of heat pipes 301 is affixed by soldering. Using the design and fabrication techniques described herein, the heat riser 102a preferably has a thermal resistance of less than about 0.03° C./Watt, but may have a thermal resistance of less than about 0.07° C./Watt.

A total number of the plurality of heat pipes 301 and dimensions of the small plate 302 and the large plate 303 can be adapted to fit various applications. The larger the large plate 303 in relation to the small plate 302, the greater the reduction in heat flux across the large plate 303. In a specific exemplary embodiment, the small plate 302 has dimensions of about 2 inches by 2 inches (approximately 5.1 cm square) and the large plate has dimensions of about 6 inches by 3 inches (approximately 15.2 cm by 7.6 cm). As the device to be cooled, such as the CPU 108 (see FIG. 1) has a top surface of about 1.3 inches by 1.3 inches (approximately 3.3 cm square), the generated heat flux is effectively spread over an area about ten times greater at the large plate 303 as compared to the small plate 302.

The plurality of heat pipes 301 could be replaced by a single wide flat heat pipe (not shown, but understandable to a skilled artisan). Taking it a step further as illustrated in an exemplary embodiment of FIG. 4, the small 302 and the large 303 plates of FIG. 3 can be eliminated and substituted by a flat, wide heat pipe 401. The flat, wide heat pipe 401 may be used as a heat-riser/spreader all by itself. The flat, wide heat pipe 401 is fabricated from a highly thermally conductive material such as metal (e.g., copper). In a specific exemplary embodiment, the flat, wide heat pipe 401 is 3 inches (approximately 7.6 cm) wide and placed so that its center portion lies directly on top of the device to be cooled, such as the CPU 108, and a large portion of the ends of the flat, wide heat pipe is in contact with the lid 111 of the electronic enclosure 100 (see FIG. 1). Compared to the heat pipe/riser/spreader described above with reference to FIG. 3, thermal performance is slightly better with the flat, wide heat pipe 401 and a lack of coplanarity between the component (e.g., the CPU 108) and the lid 111 can be compensated for by the flexibility of the heat pipe. In other exemplary embodiments (not shown), the flat, wide heat pipe 401 can be used in conjunction with the plurality of heat pipes 301 of FIG. 3.

The block 203 shown in FIG. 2 may also be hollow and partially filled with a fluid, such as water, and may be partially evacuated. The hot component 202 causes the fluid to boil and subsequently condense on the opposite surface where it is in contact with lid 111.

Heat Risers

In the various exemplary embodiments disclosed above, each of the risers also spreads the heat over a larger area. For components that dissipate less heat than various ones of the high-density integrated circuits discussed above, simpler risers can sufficiently be effective for cooling the components. For example, a simple block heat riser having dimensions of 1 inch by 1 inch by 1 inch (approximately 2.5 cm on a side) can be fabricated from aluminum. Since any face in contact with a component has an opposing face, to be thermally coupled to the lid 111, has as identical surface area, no heat spreading occurs.

With reference to FIG. 5, an exemplary embodiment of one type of effective heat riser is a spring riser 500 as illustrated. The spring riser 500 is similar to one of the plurality of heat risers 104 of FIG. 1 and the flat, wide heat pipe 401 of FIG. 4. The spring riser 500 can be constructed out of a highly thermally conductive flexible material such as, for example, copper. The spring riser benefits from being fabricated from an at least slightly resilient material, such as hard (e.g. cold rolled) copper, to provide a spring-like characteristic to the spring riser 500.

In a specific exemplary embodiment, the spring riser 500 can be a round or elliptical spring having a width 506 of about 1 inch (approximately 2.5 cm) wide and a thickness 505 of about 5 mils (0.005 inches or approximately 127 microns). However, various shapes other than round can readily be employed as well as other dimensions.

The spring riser 500 removes heat from a component, such as the graphics chip 109 of FIG. 1, by a combination of conduction to the lid 111, and natural convective and radiative heat transfer to a local environment of the component. The spring riser 500 can be affixed to the component by gluing or other means, and has at least one of a plurality of riser thermal interfaces 101 thermally coupling the spring riser 500 to the lid in. The spring-like nature of the spring riser 500 assures a good mechanical and thermal contact to the lid 111, while automatically compensating for variations in height and coplanarity. The spring riser 500 is light in weight and low in cost. Thermal resistance for an exemplary embodiment of the spring riser 500 described above ranges from about 0.5° C./Watt to 2° C./Watt.

Referring now to FIG. 6, various types of volatile and non-volatile memory subassemblies, such as VRAM or DRAM dual in-line memory modules (DIMMs), can be cooled by conductive heat transfer. In an exemplary embodiment, a DIMM 606, is encased with one or more thermally conductive strips 612 on its sides that act as heat risers. The one or more thermally conductive strips 612 make thermal contact to memory components 613 within the DIMM 606 at a thermal interface 607. The thermal interface 607 is preferably a dual-layer thermal interface as described above, but alternately can be a thermally conductive grease known independently in the art. Thus, the thermal interface 607 can be a thermal-grease-based thermal interface.

Vertical sides of the one or more thermally conductive strips 612 provide a low thermal impedance path from the DIMM 606 to an uppermost portion 614 of the one or more thermally conductive strips 612. In a specific exemplary embodiment, a 1 mm thick aluminum block is used for the one or more thermally conductive strips 612. The one or more thermally conductive strips 612 can be held in place by, for example, a plurality of spring clips 611, such that the thermal interface is sandwiched between the thermally conductive strip 612 and the electronic component. The spring clips 611 each preferably comprise two tines joined by a spring element, wherein spring element applies a restorative reaction force to the tines when the tines are displaced from a resting position. The end of each tine is preferably curved away from the end of the opposing tine. The clips preferably apply a substantially normal, compressive force to the coupling surfaces, and are preferably stamped, machined, or otherwise formed as a single piece from a metallic sheet or block. However, other manufacturing methods may be used. The plurality of spring clips 611 is preferably coupled together on a rail.

In an alternative exemplary embodiment, the one or more thermally conductive strips 612 can be glued to components of the memory components 613 without requiring the plurality of spring clips 611. The glue thus provides both a mechanical and thermal attachment.

The uppermost portion 614 of the one or more thermally conductive strips 612 is substantially orthogonal to the sides and made as wide as a pitch of the DIMM 606 allows (e.g., 0.4 inches or approximately 10 mm), thus minimizing the thermal resistance of the DIMM 606 to an interface of the lid 111 of the electronic enclosure 100 (see FIG. 1). A typical thermal resistance of the interface between the DIMM 606 and the lid 111 is 1.6° C./Watt with 0.2 mm thick thermal interface. Generally, a worst case thermal resistance is 2° C./Watt for the exemplary embodiment shown, resulting in a temperature rise of approximately 20° C. for a 10 Watt DIMM.

Thermally conductive strips 612 on opposite sides of the DIMM module can be overlapped at the top of the module and thermally coupled by a thermal interface such as thermal grease of a thermal pad. The top strip 614 then extends across the entire DIMM top surface (or more) providing a larger planarized surface to the cold plate interface for a lowered thermal resistance. Furthermore, a flexible circuit populated with DIMMs may be wrapped around a thermally conductive metal strip to improve thermal performance. The DIMM substrate may additionally be formed into a “T” shape to improve heat transfer to ambient air (e.g. air-cooling). The substrate is more preferably formed as a wide “T” shape and coupled to a cold plate through a thermal interface to conduct heat to the cold plate. However, the substrate may be formed as an “L” shape or any other suitable form.

Note that although the one or more thermally conductive strips 612 are shown on both sides of the memory subassembly, in many cases components are mounted on one only side. Thus, in such an application only the single mounted side requires only one of the one or more thermally conductive strips 612.

In a specific application of various embodiments of thermally cooling electronic components described herein, a voltage regulator module (VRM, not shown) converts an internal 12 V power supply to voltages required by the individual components, such as the CPU 108 and the memory 106 (see FIG. 1). The VRM often supplies over 100 amps of current at just over 1 VDC and dissipates up to 30 Watts. In contemporaneous designs, the power is commonly dissipated among six transistors and inductors.

Most server designs have the VRMs built onto the motherboard with the inductors and switching transistors laid out in a row up to 4 inches (approximately 10 cm) long. Consequently, a generated heat flux is relatively low. A piece of metal such as 4 inch long by ⅛ inch thick (approximately 10 cm long by 3.2 mm thick) aluminum strip (not shown) is placed over the transistors and inductors with a thin thermal interface coating there-between. The piece of metal can, in turn, be coupled to the lid 111 of FIG. 1 by one of the plurality of heat risers 102 as shown for the power supply transistor 114, or a solid metal, such as the heat riser iota of FIG. 3, or one of the spring risers, such as flat, wide heat pipe 401 or the spring riser 500, of FIGS. 4 and 5 respectively, can be employed to thermally rise and couple the aluminum strip to the lid 111.

In another specific application of various embodiments of thermally cooling electronic components described herein, an input power converter converts input power to a lower intermediate voltage, nominally 12 VDC. Power is delivered to a motherboard through one or more electrical connectors. Input power converter subassemblies are mounted (not shown), typically by screws, directly to the lid 111 of the electronic enclosure 100. A layer of thermal interface material between the cover and the device ensures good thermal contact.

In another specific application of various embodiments of thermally cooling electronic components described herein, disk drives (not shown) consume about 10 Watts so adequate cooling is typically achieved by conductive and natural convective heat transfer within an enclosure. Cooling of the disk drives can be enhanced by inserting, for example, a thermal interface 113 such as was done for the motherboard no of FIG. 1 between the disk drive and the electronic enclosure 100.

In another specific application of various embodiments of thermally cooling electronic components described herein, auxiliary circuit board subassemblies generally have low dissipation (e.g., below 30 Watts) and just a few integrated circuit components. With reference to FIG. 7, in a 1 U-sized system, an auxiliary circuit board 701 is commonly inserted into the motherboard no so that the auxiliary circuit board 701 is coplanar with and slightly above the motherboard 110 as illustrated. Components mounted to the auxiliary circuit board 701 can be cooled via an aluminum block or a spring riser 704 glued, coupled, or otherwise adhered on top of the components and coupled to the lid 111 of the electronic enclosure 100 in a fashion similar to that described for other devices, above.

Further, a plurality of auxiliary circuit boards (not shown explicitly) can be placed in an area previously occupied by fans and associated control mechanisms normally used for forced-air convective cooling. The plurality of auxiliary circuit boards can be connected to the motherboard with high speed interfaces such as HyperTransport®, PCI Express®, or any other similar widely accepted protocol. Mounting the plurality of auxiliary circuit boards in an area previously occupied by fans and associated control mechanisms enables a 1 U enclosure to offer the same functionality as a 2 U, 3 U, or 4 U enclosure.

Other objects, such as the auxiliary circuit board subassemblies described immediately above, may obstruct a direct thermal path between the motherboard no component and the lid 111. In such a case, heat generated by the component is directed around the obstruction. For example and with continuing reference to FIG. 7, a component, such as the graphics chip 109, no longer has a direct unobstructed path to the lid 111. The auxiliary circuit board 701 (plugged into a socket 702) lies directly above the graphics chip 109. In this case, an exemplary half spring riser 703 has one end in thermal contact with the graphics chip 109, wraps around the auxiliary circuit board 701, and thermally contacts at least one of the plurality of riser thermal interfaces 101 under the lid 111. For medium and lower power devices, the half spring riser 703 can be a simple strip of copper as described above for one of the spring risers, such as the spring riser 500 of FIG. 5. If a lower thermal resistance is required, the half spring riser 703 can be constructed much like the flat, wide heat pipe 401 described with reference to FIG. 4.

Alternatively, the half spring riser 703 can be fabricated from a heavier gauge thermally-conductive material or even a block of metal cut in such a fashion as to extend out from under the obstruction and rise to the lid 111. In another exemplary embodiment, a thermal interface (not shown) may be inserted under the obstructed component in order to conduct heat to the enclosure bottom as referred to above. The variations described are not all not shown as they are too numerous to itemize and are readily apparent to one skilled in the art using the disclosure and embodiments provided herein.

Heat Riser Planarization

After thermal risers are attached to many or all components within the electronic enclosure 100, thus bringing the thermal risers nominally up to a level of a lower portion on the underside of the lid 111, a planarization step can be included further enhancing thermal coupling to the lid 111 with a low thermal resistance.

Assembly of the motherboard 110 may result in the top portions of the components not being coplanar either with one another or an uppermost portion of heat risers attached thereto not being coplanar with the lower portion of the underside of the lid 111. Consequently, the upper portions of the attached heat risers may not be at an exact distance below the lid 111. For example, an integrated circuit may have dimensions of 33 mm×33 mm with an installed height variance of roughly 0.2 mm, and a surface coplanarity variance of about 0.3 mm between either of the two sets of parallel faces. A top face or surface of, for example, the larger area 203 of one of the plurality of heat risers 102 (see FIG. 2), multiplies an effect of the variation simply due to the increased surface area. Moreover, both the motherboard 110 and the electronic enclosure 100 are flexible and can sag away from their respective support structures. In this example, coplanarity variance can be up to roughly 1.4 mm or more.

While any of the various spring risers described herein are flexible, and will therefore adjust to variations in height and planarity automatically, the tops of larger risers/spreaders (e.g., one of the plurality of heat risers 102) can benefit from planarization and a resulting height adjustment thus assuring good, low-thermal resistance coupling to the lid 111. Ordinary rubber-like thermal interface sheet materials of the prior art do not have sufficient compliance to overcome large coplanarity differences.

Several methods may be employed to offset a lack of coplanarity. In an exemplary embodiment, a compliant thermally conductive substance, such as a thermal grease, known independently in the art, can improve conductive heat transfer between contacting surfaces. Additionally, a self-leveling thermally conductive potting compound may be poured in a mask over the riser and allowed to set. In another exemplary embodiment, a thermal grease or thermally conducting potting compound may be encapsulated in a bag and laid over one or a plurality of risers, functioning as at least one of the plurality of riser thermal interfaces 101, 103. The bag of this exemplary embodiment is described in detail with reference to FIG. 8, below. Self-leveling thermally conductive potting compounds are known independently in the art, as are ceramic or metal based thermal greases.

In a specific exemplary embodiment, an uppermost top portion of the heat riser 102 is covered with a moderately high conductivity (e.g., 3 Watts/m-°K) potting compound prior to replacing the lid 111 on the electronic enclosure 100. The potting compound is cured in place between the heat riser 102 and the lid 111. The cured potting compound then functions as at least one of the plurality of riser thermal interfaces 101 described above with a thermal impedance of less than about 0.1° C./Watt/in2 (approximately 0.016° C./W/cm2).

Further, since contacting surfaces between the top of risers/spreaders and the underside of the lid 111 are never perfectly flat or coplanar, and may even be non-rigid and flexible, a thermal interface, such as a thermal grease or an elastomeric pad (known separately and independently in the art), may be inserted between the contacting surfaces. Alternatively or in addition, the riser may be physically clamped to the lid by a screw or clamping fixture, or otherwise adhered (e.g., by an epoxy or chemical bonding agent), using a generally inherent flexibility of the motherboard 110 and the lid 111 to compensate for non-coplanarity and height variations. The flexibility of the motherboard 110 can compensate for some or all the height and coplanarity issues. After mounting the heat riser 102 on the component to be cooled and replacing the lid 111, the lid 111 is pressed down on the heat riser 102 (e.g. by clamps or any suitable coupling mechanism). Thermal resistance is minimized by flattening the lid 111 against the heat riser 102 and minimizing a thickness of one or more of the plurality of riser thermal interfaces 101. Screwing or locking sliders (not shown but readily understood by a skilled artisan) are one form of attachment but other attachment methods will work. The pressing down process can benefit from a semi flexible enclosure lid capable of bending with the rest of the enclosure when force is applied thereto. The lid is pressed into contact with heat riser 102 and the motherboard 110 is flexed to compensate for any mechanical height differences due to, for example, dimensional tolerances of the various components such as the enclosure, motherboard, heat riser, etc.).

In another exemplary embodiment, any of the risers or spreaders are patterned (not shown but readily understandable to a skilled artisan) on an uppermost portion (i.e., that portion configured to contact the lid 111). A portion of the lid 111, corresponding to a contact point of the patterned riser or spreader, is similarly patterned to engage with the riser or spreader pattern. The patterned surface increases an overall surface area of the contacting surfaces, thus increasing the thermal contact area. Patterning of opposing surfaces brought into contact with one another is discussed in more detail with reference to FIG. 9, below.

In another exemplary embodiment, a compliant thermally-conducting foam (not shown) can function as at least one of the plurality of riser thermal interfaces 101. The compliant thermally conducting foam is compressed by the lid 111 providing coplanarity between the heat riser 102 and the lid 111. The compliant thermally conducting foam is useful in situations where planarity divergence is small or relatively high pressures can be applied to press down the lid 111.

In yet another exemplary embodiment, a flexible vapor chamber (not shown) fabricated from a resilient and thermally conductive material can be clamped to the riser or device to be cooled. A pressure-cooker-effect is then utilized to expand a top of the vapor chamber top into planarity with the lid 111, thus providing enhanced conductive heat transfer. A skilled artisan will recognize that any or all of the methods and means described above can be combined for various applications.

With reference now to FIG. 8, a bag 801, discussed briefly above, is filled with a thermally conductive fluid 802 (note that the thermally conductive fluid 802 is contained within the bag 801). The fluid can be, for example, a thermal grease. Various types of thermal grease are known independently in the art. For a single riser, the bag 801 can be fabricated to be slightly larger than a top surface of the riser, for example, from about 5% to 20% larger on a side. For example, for the 3 inch by 6 inch (approximately 70.6 cm by 15.2 cm) dimension of the larger area 203 of the heat riser 102 (see FIG. 2) discussed above, the bag can be 3.3 inches by 6.6 inches (approximately 8.4 cm by 16.8 cm). The bag 801 can be sized large enough to allow an excess amount of the thermally conductive fluid 802 a place to escape when the fit is tight, but not so large that much of the thermally conductive fluid 802 will flow away beyond one or more edges of the heat riser 102 or cold plate, thus leaving a void above the heat riser 102 or cold plate. The bag 801 can also be sized such that coupling the bag 801 to a heat riser 102 or cold plate causes the coupling surfaces of the bag 801 to distend as thermally conductive fluid 801 is forced away from the coupling site. An amount of the thermally conductive fluid 802 used in the bag 801 is dependent upon a worst-case coplanarity variation, as described above. The bag 801 could also be large enough to cover a multiplicity of components, simply covering over many or all of the components. In another exemplary embodiment, the bag 801 can act as the lid 111 of the electronic enclosure 100.

In a specific exemplary embodiment, the bag 801 can be fabricated using a dual-layer polyester and aluminum construction. This embodiment is described with reference to the specific exemplary embodiment of constructing the compliant thermal interface 103 discussed above. For the bag 801, the dual-layers can be filled with various types of fluid such as the thermally conductive fluid 802. In a related specific exemplary embodiment, one of the layers of the bag can be the lid 111 of the electronic enclosure 100. The second of the dual-layers is coupled to the lid 111 so as to form a cavity between the lid 111 and the second of the dual-layers. The second of the dual-layers can be comprised substantially of either, for example, aluminum or polyester. In this case, the bag 801 can be in contact with one surface of the entire lid 111 or, alternatively, in contact with only certain portions. Of course, multiple instantiations of the bag 801 can be in contact with different areas of the lid 111 as well. Additionally either of the dual-layers can be comprised of any other material that is generally non-reactive when in contact with the thermally conductive fluid 802 or thermal greases and has a relatively good thermal conductivity. Additionally, the materials for the dual-layers should be relatively impervious to leaks when used to encapsulate various types of fluid such as the thermally conductive fluid 802. In other exemplary embodiments where the bag 801 comes into contact with the lid 111, there should be a good thermal contact between the bag 801 and the lid 111.

In another exemplary embodiment, the bag 801 can be fabricated using a dual-layer polyester and aluminum construction on one side with the other side comprising the lid 111 of the electronic enclosure 100 (see FIG. 1A). The dual-layer polyester and aluminum construction side is affixed to the lid 111 by gluing or other means. This embodiment is described with reference to the specific exemplary embodiment of constructing the compliant thermal interface 103 discussed above. For the bag 801, the space between the dual-layers and the lid 111 can be filled with various types of fluid as the thermally conductive fluid 802.

In another exemplary embodiment, the bag 801 with the auxiliary spreader 805 can be located in a hole in the lid cut to the dimensions of the bag and secured with clips or metallic tape so that it is coplanar with the lid. FIG. 6B shows an exemplary implementation. The clip 601 is fabricated from a thin, springy material such as steel or beryllium copper. Typical thickness is approximately 0.005 inches. The clip 611 may be a continuous spring that spans the whole length of a single side of the bag 801, or may be deployed in small sections with multiple instances along each side of the bag. The clips are attached to the bag 801 by sliding the jaw 602 over the edge of the bag. The bag is preferably inserted from the top into an appropriately sized hole in the lid. The edge 603 preferably gives during insertion and springs back to hold the bag in place. The clips can also form a capacitive coupling to the lid for EMI suppression, and can be augmented by a direct electrical connection to the auxiliary spreader and conduction layers of the bag. Removal of a small amount of the protective layer under one or more clips may also provide an adequate connection. The auxiliary layer can similarly be connected to the conductive layer by a small leaf spring. This bag deployment method reduces the number of variants required for various server lid types as a single design may be used, thus benefiting more from the economics of higher volume manufacturing.

The thermally conductive fluid 802 can either be a setting or non-setting compound depending upon a specific application. For example, if components within the electronic enclosure 100 are changed over the life of the equipment, a non-setting compound is adaptable to the new dimensions of one or more new components. However, a setting compound is less likely to leak or otherwise fail than a non-setting compound. Thus, the setting compound can be better suited for applications that are not modified.

In certain applications, such as in blade servers, the enclosure may be mounted on edge, (e.g. with the bag 801 positioned vertically). In such a situation, a thixotropic grease in a tightly contained bag 801 is preferred in order to ensure that the grease does not puddle at the bottom of the bag to the detriment of its thermal conductivity.

In a specific exemplary embodiment, the bag 801 is utilized to achieve the pressure-cooker effect, describe above. This specific exemplary embodiment is similar to the aforementioned technique of encapsulating thermal grease or thermally conducting potting compound in a bag. However, with the pressure-cooker effect, the bag 801 is fabricated from a flexible and thermally conductive material. The bag 801 is evacuated, except for a small amount of volatile fluid 802 that boils just above the cold plate operating temperature. The bag 801, acting as a vapor chamber, is affixed to the heat riser 102. When the bag 801 cools, it is compressed flat by the lack of vapor-counteracting air pressure. When the heat riser 102 starts to conduct heat, the bag 801 warms up until the fluid 802 boils, expanding the bag 801 and forcing it tightly against the lid 111. At that point, the fluid 802 at the top of the bag 801 that is in thermal contact with the lid 111 cools and condenses, thus releasing heat into the lid 111. In this manner, heat is transferred from the heat riser 102 to the lid 111.

Referring now to FIG. 9, an exemplary embodiment of a grooved interface between the heat riser 102 and the lid 111 exemplifies one of the techniques described above to compensate for a lack of coplanarity. In this exemplary embodiment, the heat riser 102 is patterned with a plurality of grooves 901. The plurality of grooves 901 engages a plurality of corresponding grooves 902 formed into a lower portion of the lid 111.

In a specific exemplary embodiment, each of the plurality of grooves 901 and the plurality of corresponding grooves 902 are formed to a depth of 3 mm with a groove pitch 903 of 1 mm, along the z-axis (the z-axis being defined as being orthogonal to the drawing), such that a width of each “tooth” is slightly less than one half the groove pitch 903. This ratio assures some skew tolerance in the x-axis as well as the y- and z-axes. However, the width of the teeth can vary between the plurality of grooves 901 and the plurality of corresponding grooves 902 or even from tooth-to-tooth. The only requirement is that the two components properly mate such that a surface area, and a resulting convective heat transfer, increases. When the lid 111 is replaced, the two sets of grooves mesh and, because of the skew tolerance, compensation is made between a lack of coplanarity between the heat riser 102 and the lid 111.

The grooved surfaces thus assure a larger interface area for a lower thermal resistance between the heat riser 102 and the lid 111. The grooved surfaces may be manufactured as part of the heat riser 102 and the lid 111, or they may be separate pieces of thermally conductive material applied to either or both surfaces. To further increase convective heat transfer between the mating surfaces, either thermal grease is applied between the surfaces to effect a low thermal resistance or one or both surfaces can include a compliant and thermally conductive thermal interface. Using the teachings herein, one skilled in the art will realize other depths, pitches, and interlocking patterns other than grooves, (e.g., a checkerboard pattern), may also be used in different applications.

In another exemplary embodiment, the thermal interface directly couples to the cold plate. The thermal interface comprises the embodiment with a substantially rigid third layer 805, such that it is self-supporting. As shown in FIG. 10, the cold plate 1001 includes an attached groove for mounting the thermal interface. The thermal interface may be slid into place adjacent to the cold plate along said grooves that guide and retain the thermal interface 1002 along a broad surface. Alternately, the thermal interface 1002 may be attached to the cold plate 1001 by adhesive (e.g. metal tape) or by the spring clips described above.

Lid Modifications and Lidless Enclosures

In the various embodiments described herein, heat risers are used as a thermal path between one or more of the various components to be cooled and an enclosure lid. In an exemplary embodiment, to properly couple heat from the top of the heat riser to the cold plate through the lid utilizes, for example, at least two of the plurality of riser thermal interfaces 101 or the compliant thermal interface 103 as shown in FIG. 1A. In high power applications, such as a 200-Watt CPU, or when it is desirous to have the temperature difference between the component and the cold plate lower, the two layers of thermal interface may add too much thermal resistance. In such a case, the lid may be modified or eliminated.

In the first case where the lid is modified, holes are cut through the lid to match sizes of one or more of the heat-risers or spreaders. The heat-risers/spreaders are made slightly taller than described in other embodiments, above, so the heat-riser/spreaders poke through the lid and are level with an outside portion of the top of the lid. A thermal interface is then added to the top of the riser that is then directly coupled to an external cold plate through the thermal interface. A spring clip, as described above, preferably couples the thermal interface to the lid to retain the thermal interface position as well as to ground the thermal interface. However, the thermal interface may also be adhered to the lid with metal tape to achieve the same effects.

In the second case where the lid is completely eliminated, the bag 801 of FIG. 8 above is designed to fit over the top of all the heat riser components, thereby replacing and eliminating the lid. In applications where the lid is used for other purposes, such as Faraday shielding for EMI, the bag 801 can be metalized and electrically coupled to the enclosure to provide for electrical isolation. This technique is also applicable to blade servers. Moreover, to spread heat better across the lid, the lid itself, or a portion thereof, may be constructed as a flat heat pipe or vapor chamber using techniques described above.

Although various embodiments have been described herein, it will be evident that various modifications and changes may be made to these embodiments without departing from the broader spirit and scope of various forms of the present invention. Accordingly, the specification and drawings are to be regarded in an illustrative rather than a restrictive sense. The accompanying drawings that form a part hereof show by way of illustration, and not of limitation, specific embodiments in which the subject matter may be practiced. The embodiments illustrated are described in sufficient detail to enable those skilled in the art to practice the teachings disclosed herein. Other embodiments may be utilized and derived therefrom, such that structural and logical substitutions and changes may be made without departing from the scope of this disclosure. The Detailed Description, therefore, is not to be taken in a limiting sense, and the scope of various embodiments is defined only by the appended claims, along with the full range of equivalents to which such claims are entitled.

Such embodiments of the inventive subject matter may be referred to herein, individually or collectively, by the term “invention” merely for convenience and without intending to voluntarily limit the scope of this application to any single invention or inventive concept if more than one is, in fact, disclosed. Thus, although specific embodiments have been illustrated and described herein, it should be appreciated that any arrangement calculated to achieve the same or similar purposes may be substituted for the specific embodiments shown. This disclosure is intended to cover any and all adaptations or variations of the various embodiments. Combinations of the above embodiments, and other embodiments not specifically described herein, will be apparent to those of skill in the art upon reviewing the above description.

For example, particular embodiments describe various arrangements, dimensions, materials, and topologies of systems. Such arrangements, dimensions, materials, and topologies are provided to enable a skilled artisan to comprehend principles of the present disclosure. Thus, for example, numerous other materials and arrangements may be readily utilized and still fall within the scope of the present disclosure. Additionally, a skilled artisan will recognize, however, that additional embodiments may be determined based upon a reading of the disclosure given herein.