The PC cooling industry is very large in terms of models and technologies, but really in terms of techniques, there aren’t many that are used: we have cooling using heat pipes for heat transfer from the IHS of the processor to the aluminum fins of the heat sink and then cooling them with fans, or we have the liquid cooling systems that do the same thing but using coolant instead of heat pipes (although then in the background, the radiators have a similar functionality).
The idea, in any case, is to be able to transfer the heat generated by an element (in this case the processor or GPU, for example) out of it, to dissipate it later and for the element to continue. to operate and generate heat. without overheating.
What is a thermosiphon tube and how is it made?
As you can already assume, the PC cooling industry uses the heat pipes, and indeed these tubes or caléoduits (conduits through which heat circulates) that we are going to talk about today are nothing more than a specific type of heat pipe whose function is to transfer the heat generated by the processor ( or other element) and power to dissipate it to cool it.
However, thermosyphon tubes are slightly different from heat pipes as we usually know them in the industry, but before we get into the thick of it, let’s see where they come from, or rather how they are made because the process of workmanship is very important for its operation.
These tubes come from very large rolls on which very long copper tubes are wound; a special machine unrolls them, straightens them and cuts them, to be then cleaned and filled with a mixture of copper powder. Then they are placed under a thick heating blanket and put in an oven at no less than 980 ° C for about eight hours (this process is called sintering and it helps the copper powder to stick to the internal walls to give them a capillarity). In the final stages, all the air is sucked out of the resulting copper tube, then about half of its internal capacity is filled with distilled water
Indeed, we are talking about a kind of heat pipe but instead of being filled with air or copper shards, it distilled water as if it were liquid cooling, to the difference that the thermosiphon tube it’s totally waterproof: there can be no leakage or evaporation of the liquid (unless it breaks, of course).
The idea behind thermosyphon tubes is exactly the same as that of the heat pipes of conventional heatsinks: they are molded into a heat sink with aluminum fins in order to dissipate heat from a processor, but in this case it doesn’t. no longer acts only copper. which transmits heat from one place to another but is also aided by the distilled water inside.
How do these components work?
Removing heat is usually fairly straightforward: Thermosyphon tubes absorb heat generated by the processor, and because they are a great transmitter of heat, it is distributed throughout your body. From your body, heat is transferred to the aluminum sheets in the heat sink block, which are always cooled by one or more fans. The flow of operation is basically the same as on any PC air heat sink.
Internally the process is a bit more complicated, because as we mentioned before the key to these heat pipes is the distilled water inside, and as you will see they have a big downside and that is is that they only work properly with the heat sink positioned vertically. , that is to say with the heat pipes which go upwards. Because? By liquid.
The key is that gravity causes the weight of the liquid to be at the bottom of the tubes – that is, as close to the heat source as possible. The heat generated by this (and that area of the copper, which will be hotter than the upper ones, further away from the heat source) causes the water to evaporate and rise, where it cools (both due to the effect of the fan as by the internal capillarity of the tubes) and returns to its natural liquid state, descending with a few degrees of temperature lower, cooling everything again and repeating the process.
This constant state of evaporation and liquid is very important because a pure copper tube does not transport heat as efficiently.
Application of thermosyphon tubes in the PC industry
Believe it or not, thermosyphon tubes and the technology they carry under their arms have been in use for many years. Without going any further, AMD was a pioneer in its time by integrating vapor chamber heat sinks into its graphics cards which use exactly the same principle: copper deposits with distilled water in which the latter evaporates. comes into play for the heat dissipation process.
Even before AMD incorporated it into their graphics under the name Vapor Chamber, this technology was already used in passive heatsinks long before. Likewise, there are many active air sinks that use thermosyphons to increase their performance, and in fact, although in liquid cooling the basis is that the liquid is always in motion, the physics of this technology is exactly the same as that used in this type. pipelines.