Browse Definitions :
Definition

liquid immersion cooling

Contributor(s): Matthew Haughn

Liquid immersion cooling is the reduction of heat in hardware through submersion in a dielectric liquid that is thermally conductive.

One of the simplest examples of liquid immersion cooling is taking a standard air-cooled computer's hardware and submerging it in mineral oil. Mineral, oil being nonconductive and noncapacitive, poses no threat to the electronics. Computer enthusiasts sometimes use this method employing standard aquariums to hold the hardware. The fans continue to spin, circulating the oil over the heat sinks at a lower speed but with a more efficient fluid medium for cooling than air. This cools the components, as the oil first absorbs the heat, then benefits from evaporative cooling. However, that method cannot deal with high heat loads and needs occasional replenishment of the oil.

More sophisticated methods of immersion cooling are used in showpiece computers, mainframes and datacenters. These systems still often harness evaporative cooling and submerge the parts but they are often a closed system, more like a hybrid between traditional liquid cooling, complete with pumps and external radiators, and immersion cooling. Their liquid is most commonly an engineered dielectric fluid with a lower boiling point than water. The liquid evaporates, condenses and drips back to the purpose-designed tank. This cycle reduces the cost in fluid, which is often proprietary and expensive.

Liquid immersion uses up to 99 percent less electricity than traditional data center cooling with chillers, heat pump and HVAC. The greater cooling at less cost also makes greater system density feasible. Many  immersion cooling set ups are complex. However, simpler -- yet very effective -- open bath systems often yield the lowest operational cost. Other benefits include nearly silent operation and less dust because of the reduction in required airflow.

Water cooling can limit the flexibility of data center design because systems connected to plumbing cannot be easily rearranged. The combination of electronic systems and water also complicates disaster recovery planning (DRP). Administrators need to know in advance how they will deal with potential problems, such as rust or leakage. Immersion cooling with dielectric liquid eases many of these concerns and the common fear of combining electrical systems and water.

The coolant can be creatively used to transport the heat where it is useful, leading to effective savings on heat as well. Most data center immersion cooling solutions are expensive to implement. However, because electricity used in cooling is one of the largest operational costs, the initial outlay for immersion cooling is typically offset quickly by power savings.

See a demonstration of liquid immersion cooling:

This was last updated in October 2014

Continue Reading About liquid immersion cooling

Join the conversation

2 comments

Send me notifications when other members comment.

Please create a username to comment.

Very interesting article. Other than BitFury, who has a very specific implementation of two-phase immersion cooling, I've seen there's a couple of Immersion Cooling solution manufacturers out there with solutions for the normal data center:

- Green Revolution Cooling: http://www.grcooling.com/

- Submer Technologies: https://submer.com
Cancel
Amazing technology. Everybody talks about Free Air Cooling but I can imagine that the densities achievable with immersion cooling are by far much higher than those achievable with air-based cooling solutions.

Btw, thanks for the links. It seems that the people at Submer also have a very interesting immersion cooling blog: https://submer.com/blog/. I kindly recommend it as it seems fairly updated and precise information on the technology and data center cooling solutions.
Cancel

-ADS BY GOOGLE

File Extensions and File Formats

Powered by:

SearchCompliance

  • risk management

    Risk management is the process of identifying, assessing and controlling threats to an organization's capital and earnings.

  • compliance as a service (CaaS)

    Compliance as a Service (CaaS) is a cloud service service level agreement (SLA) that specified how a managed service provider (...

  • data protection impact assessment (DPIA)

    A data protection impact assessment (DPIA) is a process designed to help organizations determine how data processing systems, ...

SearchSecurity

  • cybersecurity

    Cybersecurity is the protection of internet-connected systems -- including hardware, software and data -- from cyberattacks.

  • encryption

    Encryption is the method by which information is converted into secret code that hides the information's true meaning. The ...

  • computer worm

    A computer worm is a type of malicious software program whose primary function is to infect other computers while remaining ...

SearchHealthIT

SearchDisasterRecovery

  • business continuity plan (BCP)

    A business continuity plan (BCP) is a document that consists of the critical information an organization needs to continue ...

  • disaster recovery team

    A disaster recovery team is a group of individuals focused on planning, implementing, maintaining, auditing and testing an ...

  • cloud insurance

    Cloud insurance is any type of financial or data protection obtained by a cloud service provider. 

SearchStorage

Close