Co-creation partners who can work with us to solve thermal issues utilizing vapor chambers
Vapor chambers, ultra-thin heat diffusion devices that can quickly diffuse localized heat generated in electronic devices
In recent years, the performance and functionality of electronic devices have improved, and as components become more highly integrated, casings have become smaller and thinner, leaving less and less space to dissipate the heat generated inside the devices. Therefore, how to efficiently disperse, dissipate, and cool heat has become an important point in product design.
To solve this heat problem in electronic devices, Murata Manufacturing has jointly developed the world's thinnest* 200μm vapor chamber with Cooler Master, a leading manufacturer of heat-dissipating products for electronic devices (Head Office: Taipei, Taiwan).
Here at Murata Manufacturing, we are looking for co-creation partners who can work with us to solve thermal issues by utilizing this vapor chamber. Interested companies are encouraged to contact us.
*According to a study conducted by Murata Manufacturing and Cooler Master, as of the end of April 2021
Vapor chambers are heat dissipating devices based on the same principle as heat pipes: heated working fluid vaporizes, conducting heat through the casing (container) and dissipating its thermal load. Then the fluid liquefies when it comes into contact with a cold surface and wicks back to the vaporizing surface. Vapor chambers have excellent thermal performance and are used when both compactness and thinness are required along with high heat dissipating performance.
As shown in Fig. 1, a vapor chamber consists of a container and wick in which the working fluid is enclosed under reduced pressure. Although there is no strict boundary between the evaporating and condensing parts, the part that is in contact with the heat source and receives heat input is the evaporating part, and the rest is the condensing part. Inside the container, the wick is arranged to transport the working fluid from the condensing part to the evaporating part by capillary force.
As shown in Fig. 2, the heat transport cycle in a vapor chamber consists of four phenomena: (1) evaporation, (2) gas transfer, (3) condensation, and (4) liquid transfer.The heat generated by the heat source causes the working fluid to evaporate, and the vapor diffuses inside the vapor chamber, thereby dissipating heat. Once heat is dissipated, the vapor condenses again as liquid and circulates back to the heat source by the capillary force of a wick featuring microscopic gaps.
Vapor chambers are designed to dissipate heat through the movement of vapor (gas) inside the container, so it is necessary to secure a space inside the container where gas can move. In addition, when the thickness of the vapor chamber is reduced, high capillary force is required for the wick to circulate the working fluid back to the heat source.
In recent years, the high performance, large capacity, and high speed of electronic devices have significantly increased the amount of data processing, making thermal countermeasures indispensable. In particular, with demand for smartphones, wearable devices, and gaming PCs to be smaller and slimmer, vapor chambers are expected to be utilized as ultra-thin heat diffusion device that can quickly diffuse localized heat generation in electronic devices.
|Graphite sheet||200 - 1900||0.01 - 1||High flexibility in shape, low cost|
|Heat pipe||- 20000||0.45 -||Excellent heat transport, three-dimensional heat transport is possible by bending heat pipes|
|Vapor chamber||- 20000||0.2 -||Excellent heat transport and thermal diffusion|
Table 1 shows the advantages of graphite sheets, heat pipes, and vapor chambers, which are used as heat-dissipating components and component materials.
Graphite sheets are sheets of two-dimensionally crystallized carbon stacked in layers with high thermal conductivity (200 to 1900 (W/m・K).
Heat pipes are generally in the form of an elongated cylinder, inside of which a metal mesh called a wick and working fluid (water, organic solvent, etc.) are sealed. When the end of the heat pipe receives heat, heat is transported by evaporation and condensation of the working fluid.
In recent years, graphite sheets and heat pipes, or graphite sheets and vapor chambers, are increasingly being used in combination as a countermeasure against the rising heat generation density of electronic components.
Murata not only works to improve the performance of vapor chambers, but also offers flexible proposals for heat dissipation with an eye to combining them with other heat-dissipating components and component materials.
Murata quantifies the internal structure of the vapor chamber and the performance of the heat-dissipating component materials, and optimizes the heat transport capacity through simulations. By going through a balanced process of design and technology together with our collaborator Cooler Master, we are able to manufacture products efficiently with no backtracking. Recently, we have succeeded in developing a wick suitable for ultra-thin profiles, resulting in a thin and high-performance vapor chamber.
Fig. 3 shows an external view of a vapor chamber thinner than 200 μm (left) and the results of in-plane temperature distribution when 2 W, 4 W, and 6 W were input to the heat source attached to the red square (right). It shows that the heat is spread over the entire vapor chamber due to the thermal diffusion function of the vapor chamber.
Murata, in collaboration with Cooler Master, a leading manufacturer of heat-dissipating components for electronic devices, has succeeded in developing the world's thinnest 200μm vapor chamber. Murata is responsible for the internal design of the vapor chamber, while Cooler Master is responsible for assembly and mass production. This combination of design and technology has resulted in this ultra-thin vapor chamber.
Do you have thermal issues and are looking for a solution? Would you like to give shape to a new idea for the use of vapor chambers? Or do you have anything you would you like to discuss with us? If so, please feel free to get in touch.
Murata is looking for co-creation partners, such as research institutes and companies. If you are interested in collaborating with Murata, please contact us using the inquiry form.
Masashi Morikami, Tatsuhiro Numoto
Development and Product Design,New Product Commercialization Promotion Department,
Business Incubation Center, Murata Manufacturing Co., Ltd.
We interviewed Masashi Morikami and Tatsuhiro Numoto, two engineers involved in the development of vapor chambers, about the appeal of vapor chambers, tips on how to use them, and co-creation with partner companies.
QTell us about the appeal of vapor chambers.
Numoto： The two phenomena occurring inside a vapor chamber are evaporation and condensation, and the structure is as simple as three parts: the casing, the Working fluid, and the wick. The real appeal and difficulty of the vapor chamber is to successfully control and create the flow of liquid and vapor (multiphase flow) in such a simple, extremely small space. Whether this difficulty is interesting or not may depend on the engineer's mind (laughs).
QWhat kind of device is a vapor chamber?
Numoto： A vapor chamber is a heat dissipating device. Rather than cooling, it may be easier to visualize it as something that spreads heat generated at a certain point to the entire area.
QTell us about your collaboration with Cooler Master.
Morikami： Cooler Master is far ahead of us in terms of the design, development, and mass production of vapor chambers. They work closely with customers who use vapor chambers, and we looked to them as an example of how to proceed with product development. On the other hand, we (Murata) also have relationships, knowledge, and information that we have cultivated with our customers through various applications, and we offer thermal solution proposals that have synergy effects with Cooler Master.
QCan you give us some tips on how to use a vapor chamber?
Numoto： Before using a vapor chamber, we recommend that you first consider the thermal bottleneck, such as where to place the vapor chamber to be most effective and at which part of the chamber you want to address heat generation. If you have a thermal issue and have not yet found a solution, we can make various proposals if you consult with us about the thermal design.
QWhat do you hope to accomplish through co-creation?
Morikami： At Murata, we nurture people as well as pass down technology. I believe that along with technology, people's thoughts and feelings are passed on to the next generation, and it is our duty to pass them on to the next generation, as well as to return the favor. People have different thoughts and ideas, and this is what makes diversity so interesting. I feel that co-creation is an opportunity for companies with different corporate cultures and climates to establish new points of contact. I think it would be great if we could open up new areas through co-creation and develop together.
Murata Manufacturing is looking for research institutions, companies, and other organizations who are in the relentless pursuit of innovation and interested in turning ideas into unique solutions that could quite possibly shape the future of electronics and our global society.
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