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Engineering

Keeping It Cool

With a major grant from the Office of Naval Research, Rensselaer researchers are collaborating with four other universities to address a hot topic in today’s military: how to keep modern ships cool in extreme environments.

Funded under the Department of Defense Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative (MURI) program, the overall research aim will be to develop cooling techniques that can be used for thermal management of large-scale, distributed high-power electronic systems.

In today’s modern warfront, sailors and other military personnel are asked to operate more advanced electronics in hotter climates. Modern military ships, offices, and planes have thousands of computers, lights, and other electronics whirring and working at once, generating extremely high temperatures that require advanced cooling systems.

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Micro-channels to analyze heat transfer and cooling effects.
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Because of the increasing power levels of today’s electronics, and the need for these systems to operate at super-fast speeds in extreme environments, researchers need to find new cooling methods to lengthen the life of electronics and increase system performance, according to Michael Jensen, professor of mechanical, aerospace, and nuclear engineering and project manager for Rensselaer’s part of the project.

Rensselaer’s team will examine the potential of using liquids to cool electronics systems, focusing on interactions at the interface between hot electronic circuitry and a liquid.

They will work to uncover the mechanisms that govern fluid flow and heat transfer in novel electronic cooling systems by examining the flow and cooling levels of different liquids through micro-devices.

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Rensselaer (ISSN 0898-1442) is published in Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter by the Office of Strategic Communications and External Relations, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY 12180-3590. Opinions expressed in these pages do not necessarily reflect the views of the editors or the policies of the Institute. ©2007 Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.