Wax may be used to cool processors of future smartphones and tablets

August 26 | Posted by chris | Hardware News Tags: , , , , , ,

Have you ever overworked your Samsung Galaxy S4 or Apple iPhone 5? Does it get hot after all of that work? Well, researchers from the University of Michigan and the University of Pennsylvania have been working on a solution to this problem. Their solution – wax.wax-heatsink-590x333

Wired reports, “Inside a research lab at the University of Michigan, there’s an Intel chip covered in wax.

“It’s a Core i7 microprocessor — the same chip that runs many of today’s desktop and laptop PCs — and the wax is stuffed into a metal mesh surrounding this tiny sliver of silicon. When someone cranks the chip well beyond its recommended speeds, the wax absorbs the extra heat coming off the silicon, and at 54 degrees Celsius, it starts to melt.

“No, it’s not a party trick. It’s a look into the future of the tiny processors that run on our smartphones and tablets. This waxed chip is a prototype, a test system built to solve an engineering problem threatening to shackle the performance of our computer chips.”

It adds, “They call it “computational sprinting,” and they’ve been tinkering with it since 2010. This year, they set up an Intel Core i7 test processor with a custom cooling system that could run comfortably at a maximum of 10 watts of power. In their tests, though, they would periodically boost the chip to 50 watts. That’s enough power to overheat the chip in a matter of seconds, but it speeds up the chip’s clock speed and it uses more transistors.

“They think they could eventually boost that chip up to 100 watts for short periods of time. So, it would briefly do an amazing amount of computing, but it would get mighty hot too. That’s where the wax comes in. It’s great for absorbing a lot of heat really quickly — until it melts.”

Do you think wax will be the future coolants of tomorrow’s smartphones and tablets? Share your thoughts through a comment on our Facebook page.

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