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Development Of A Laboratory Curriculum Devoted To The Thermal Management Of Electronics

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2004 Annual Conference


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 20, 2004

Start Date

June 20, 2004

End Date

June 23, 2004



Conference Session

NSF Grantees Poster Session

Page Count


Page Numbers

9.433.1 - 9.433.9



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Paper Authors

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Nicole DeJong Okamoto

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Tai-Ran Hsu

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 1526

Development of a Laboratory Curriculum Devoted to the Thermal Management of Electronics Nicole DeJong Okamoto, Tai-Ran Hsu San Jose State University


Effective cooling of electronics has emerged as a challenging and constraining problem of the new 21st century. The economic market demands ever faster computer clock speeds while at the same time smaller physical enclosures. Computers, cell phones, and even automotive electronic systems are becoming smaller and smaller. Since computer chip heat fluxes (the rate of heat transfer per unit area) increase with increasing clock speeds and decreasing chip sizes, these demands have led to skyrocketing heat flux removal demands. At the same time, current technology allows a maximum junction (chip surface) temperature typically of no more than 125° C1– a value that continues to decrease. Above this maximum temperature, the life of the chip decreases in length significantly. The challenges posed by ever-increasing chip heat fluxes, smaller enclosures, and stricter performance and reliability standards have made thermal management of electronics a key technology in the continued development of 21st century microelectronic systems2. Indeed, thermal management of systems that will most likely be developed in the next several years cannot be done with the current state of technology3.

In the early 1960’s, heat removal rates ranged typically from 0.1 to 0.3 W2. The Semiconductor Industry Association estimates that rates for 3.5 GHz chips used in servers and workstations will reach 160W in 20064. Air cooling is the most common technique used to cool electronics. Innovative air cooling techniques allowed heat dissipation rates of 60-70 W by the late 1990s2. However, the point has been reached when many industries have had to look to high-capacity cooling technologies rather than air cooling. One high-capacity cooling technology, liquid cooling, has been used for many years by such companies as Cray (using immersion in liquid nitrogen) and IBM and Honeywell (in their water-cooled mainframes). Technologies receiving a lot of interest include liquid cooling using microchannel heat exchangers or microchannels etched into silicon, heat pipes (already used heavily in laptops and many non-electronics applications) and thermo-electric devices. Whatever the methodology, cooling must be a part of an integrated, chip-to-system design1.

Who will perform this research and develop these new designs? While undergraduate mechanical engineering curricula include a class on heat transfer, the cooling of electronics typically receives little or no attention. Most industrial work in this area is performed by engineers with advanced degrees and significant training on-the-job. Some universities (such as Stanford and Maryland) offer classes on electronics cooling at the graduate level. Only a few universities (such as San Jose State, Purdue, Minnesota, and UC Berkeley), offer classes specifically devoted to thermal

Proceedings of the 2004 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright ©2004, American Society for Engineering Education

DeJong Okamoto, N., & Hsu, T. (2004, June), Development Of A Laboratory Curriculum Devoted To The Thermal Management Of Electronics Paper presented at 2004 Annual Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--12738

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