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Fan Blades Are The Heatsink - Sandia National Labs Air Bearing Heatsink - Fan Blades Are The Heatsink - Sandia National Labs Air Bearing Heatsink
Mon Aug 26, 2013 | 5:44P | PermaLink BY: Max Page
NEW - An August 2013 Update has been posted here.
The point of this three piece prototype spinning aluminum impeller heatsink from Sandia National Labs is to get rid of boundary layers by exploiting a fairly obscure fluid dynamic effect first discussed in the 1950's, where by boundary layers are substantially thinned above the surface of accelerating bodies (ie. radial fins on a disk rapidly spinning). In this case, the aluminum cooling fins - the fan impeller - are spinning at 2000RPM. According to Sandia Labs, heat is transferred from the processor to the rotating cooling component above, across a very thin 'air bearing' - essentially a metal surface rotating a fraction of a millimeter over a similarly sized stationary surface.

Orientation Agnostic
In the video below you'll see the air bearing heatsink sitting horizontally on a table, yet if you glance at your computer tower you'll know that CPU heatsinks mostly always operate while mounted to a vertical motherboard. The Sandia cooler is orientation agnostic - meaning the air bearing is not affected by gravity and will operate vertically, upside-down or at angle because a compression spring is used to hold the impeller and base together, not gravity.

Watch the entire video on the Sandia air bearing cooler here, it's well shot and explained.

The complete 48 pg PDF from Sandia National Laboratories researcher Jeff Koplow, titled; "A Fundamentally New Approach to Air-Cooled Heat Exchangers" is available here. The project report 'borrows' one of my photos from a Frostytech review without crediting it to (pg.5, figure 1), but this technology is cool so I'll let it slide. ;) Update - received a nice apology regarding the unattributed image and all is good. :)


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Akasa Plato X Slim Fanless Chassis i5/i7 NUC Chassis Review 11/19
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Gelid Antarctica CPU Cooler Review 11/17
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