Liquid cooling is used for thermal management of electronics in defense, power, medical, and computer applications due to the increasing power density and the desire for compact packaging. The objectives in the design of these systems are to create a sufficient amount of total flow and to appropriately distribute the flow so as to maintain the electronic component temperatures at the desired level. The technique of Flow Network Modeling (FNM) is ideally suited for the analysis of flow distribution and heat transfer in liquid-cooling systems. The FNM technique uses overall flow and thermal characteristics to represent the behavior of individual components. Therefore, solution of conservation equations over the network enables efficient prediction of the flow rates, pressures, and temperatures in a complete liquid-cooling system. This article describes the technical basis of the FNM technique and illustrates its application in the design of a distributed-flow cold plate and of a complete water-cooled system. The study demonstrates the utility of the FNM technique for rapid and accurate evaluation of different design options and the ensuing productivity benefits in the design of liquid cooling systems.

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