Abstract

Due to the increasing computational demand driven by artificial intelligence, machine learning, and the Internet of Things (IoT), there has been an unprecedented growth in transistor density for high-end CPUs and GPUs. This growth has resulted in high thermal dissipation power (TDP) and high heat flux, necessitating the adoption of advanced cooling technologies to minimize thermal resistance and optimize cooling efficiency. Among these technologies, direct-to-chip cold plate-based liquid cooling has emerged as a preferred choice in electronics cooling due to its efficiency and cost-effectiveness. In this context, different types of single-phase liquid coolants, such as propylene glycol (PG), ethylene glycol (EG), DI water, treated water, and nanofluids, have been utilized in the market. These coolants, manufactured by different companies, incorporate various inhibitors and chemicals to enhance long-term performance, prevent biogrowth, and provide corrosion resistance. However, the additives used in these coolants can impact their thermal performance, even when the base coolant is the same. This paper aims to compare these coolant types and evaluate the performance of the same coolant from different vendors. The selection of coolants in this study is based on their performance, compatibility with wetted materials, reliability during extended operation, and environmental impact, following the guidelines set by ASHRAE. To conduct the experiments, a single cold plate-based benchtop setup was constructed, utilizing a thermal test vehicle (TTV), pump, reservoir, flow sensor, pressure sensors, thermocouple, data acquisition units, and heat exchanger. Each coolant was tested using a dedicated cold plate, and thorough cleaning procedures were carried out before each experiment. The experiments were conducted under consistent boundary conditions, with a TTV power of 1000 watts and varying coolant flow rates (ranging from 0.5 lpm to 2 lpm) and supply coolant temperatures (17°C, 25°C, 35°C, and 45°C), simulating warm water cooling. The thermal resistance (Rth) versus flow rate and pressure drop (ΔP) versus flow rate graphs were obtained for each coolant, and the impact of different supply coolant temperatures on pressure drop was characterized. The data collected from this study will be utilized to calculate the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) in future research, providing insights into the impact of coolant selection at the data center level. There is limited research available on the reliability used in direct-to-chip liquid cooling, and there is currently no standardized methodology for testing their reliability. This study aims to fill this gap by focusing on the reliability of coolants, specifically propylene glycols at concentrations of 25%. To analyze the effectiveness of corrosion inhibitors in these coolants, ASTM standard D1384 apparatus, typically used for testing engine coolant corrosion inhibitors on metal samples in controlled laboratory settings, was employed. The setup involved immersing samples of wetted materials (copper, solder coated brass, brass, steel, cast iron, and cast aluminum) in separate jars containing inhibited propylene glycol solutions from different vendors. This test will determine the reliability difference between the same inhibited solutions from different vendors.

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