Data center energy usage keeps growing every year and will continue to increase with rising demand for ecommerce, scientific research, social networking, and use of streaming video services. The miniaturization of microelectronic devices and an increasing demand for clock speed result in high heat flux systems. By adopting direct liquid cooling, the high heat flux and high power demands can be met, while the reliability of the electronic devices is greatly improved. Cold plates which are mounted directly on to the chips facilitate a lower thermal resistance path originating from the chip to the incoming coolant. An attempt was made in the current study to characterize a commercially available cold plate which uses warm water in carrying the heat away from the chip. A mock package mimicking a processor chip with an effective heat transfer area of 6.45 cm2 was developed for this study using a copper block heater arrangement. The thermo-hydraulic performance of the cold plates was investigated by conducting experiments at varying chip power, coolant flow rates, and coolant temperature. The pressure drop (ΔP) and the temperature rise (ΔT) across the cold plates were measured, and the results were presented as flow resistance and thermal resistance curves. A maximum heat flux of 31 W/cm2 was dissipated at a flow rate of 13 cm3/s. A resistance network model was used to calculate an effective heat transfer coefficient by revealing different elements contributing to the total resistance. The study extended to different coolant temperatures ranging from 25 °C to 45 °C addresses the effect of coolant viscosity on the overall performance of the cold plate, and the results were presented as coefficient of performance (COP) curves. A numerical model developed using 6SigmaET was validated against the experimental findings for the flow and thermal performance with minimal percentage difference.

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