Thermo-volumes allow the design engineer to expediently understand the thermal resistance of a given cooling solution (an indicator of performance) along with its flow resistance (an indicator of the pumping power, or energy consumption, which will be required by the fluid handler). In the present work, we expand upon thermo-volumes by including the lifetime exergy cost (in units of Joules of availability destroyed) as a means to enable the consideration of resource consumption (and thus the environmental sustainability) of the cooling solution. To achieve these exergo-thermo-volumes, we reinterpret previous definitions of thermo-volumes in terms of the entropy generated during heat transfer and fluid flow. The Guoy-Stodola theorem is used to convert this entropy generation into an ‘operational’ exergy loss. Next, based on the material choice and assembly processes used in creating the product, an embedded exergy consumption that accounts for the amount of exergy destroyed during extraction, transportation and disposal of the material is attached to the operational exergy loss. Thus, the total ‘cradle-to-cradle’ exergy loss of the solution is devised. In this framework, the optimal solution will be that which destroys the minimal amount of exergy. Correspondingly, instead of relying upon the COP (which is focused on operational consumption), we propose evaluation of cooling solutions in terms of the heat removal capacity per unit lifetime exergy consumption. The paper concludes by illustrating applicability of the method to the design of an enterprise server. It should be noted that although the paper is focused on electronics cooling solutions, the methodology is designed to be sufficiently general for use in any thermal management application.

This content is only available via PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.