MIT Boffins Develop Plastic Based Cooling Technology Page: 1

The boffins at MIT have come up with a novel concept in cooling technology… something that can be the future of cooling for computers. Though still in the laboratory stage, the new technology has the potential to completely revolutionise the way in which computers are cooled.

Current cooling technology makes use of massive heatsinks that are made from heat-conducting metals. The metals draw heat away from chips and keep the system cool. The only drawback is that metals also conduct electricity just as easily, which raises the risk of their blowing out electrical circuits in the chips.

The MIT researchers have found the answer to this issue in polyethylene… plastic as we better know it. They have transformed the polymer into a material that conducts heat at almost the same volume as most heat-sink metals. Additionally, the new polymer fully retains its electrical insulation properties. The best feature of this modified plastic is that it carries the heat away in a single direction very efficiently. This makes it ideal for cooling computer components.

No doubt the discovery is still at an initial stage and like a thousand other similar discoveries it might never make its way out of the laboratory. But the one different thing for this breakthrough is that Intel has already shown an interest in the new technology. Intel engineer Ravi Prasher finds the discovery to be “phenomenal”. In his words, “this is a very significant finding.”

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