Composite Copper and Graphene to make a cool couple.
Subject: General Tech, Cases and Cooling | April 10, 2012 - 10:03 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: graphene, cooling
Researchers at NC State University have tested the heat dissipation properties of copper-graphene. Their findings suggest that the material could be cheaper and more effective than pure copper.
Some people have gone to ridiculous lengths to cool their components. Some people flush their coolant regularly. Some people will never live down mineral oil jokes. No two computers are not on fire. Awwww.
Copper is regularly used as a method of dissipating heat as it is highly efficient when sufficiently pure. While copper is expensive, it is not expensive enough to be prohibitive for current use. Alternatives are still being explored and a researcher at NC State University believes graphene might be part of the answer.
Some people stick a bathroom suction fan out a window and run a 3” drier hose into their case.
As always, I become immediately skeptical when a team of researchers make a claim such as this. Whether or not these issues are valid have yet to be seen, but they come to mind none-the-less. The paper claims that the usage is designed for power amplifiers and laser diodes.
My first concern is with geometry. Effective cooling is achieved by exposing as much surface area between two materials as is possible for the situation. Higher heat conductance allows heat to get away much more efficiently, but the heat still needs to be removed to a reservoir of some sort, such as your room. There has not been much talk about the possibilities to then remove the heat after copper-graphene so efficiently sucks from the heat source.
My second concern is with the second layer of indium-graphene. While it seems as though the amount of indium required is quite small -- just a single layer between the heat source and the copper-graphene -- we do not really know for certain how that relates to real world applications. Indium is still a very rare element which is heavily mined for touch screen devices. It might prove to be cheap, but there is only so much of it. Would we also be able to reclaim the Indium later, or will it end up in a landfill?
These concerns are probably quite minor but it is generally good practice to not get too excited when you see a research paper. Two points if you see any of the following: Nano, Graphene or Carbon Nanotubes, Lasers, and anything related to High-Frequency.