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John O | August 2017

Articles explore applications for vapor chambers in thermal management of electronics

advanced thermal solutions, inc. (ats) recently explored the varied applications for vapor chambers in the thermal management of electronics in a pair of articles, which explained the benefits and concerns of the heat spreading components that are becoming increasingly popular in cooling systems.


vapor chambers are becoming more common in many applications.
(advanced thermal solutions, inc.)


the first article highlighted a particular application of a vapor chamber or other solid material as the base of high-powered devices to diminish the effect of spreading resistance from the device to the larger heat sink on top of it.


“heat pipes and vc (vapor chambers) emerged as the most promising technologies and cost effective thermal solutions due to their excellent uniform heat transfer capability, high efficiency, and structural simplicity,” the article, which was originally published in coolingzone media sponsor qpedia thermal emagazine, explained. “their many advantages compared to other thermal spreading devices are that they have simple structures, no moving parts, allow the use of larger heat sinks, and do not use electricity.”


vapor chambers have higher heat transfer rate and lower thermal resistance than heat pipes, which allows it to spread heat quickly from a hotspot. when used with a heat sink, the vapor chamber spreads the heat uniformly across the base of the heat sink and improves its effective thermal conductivity.


the article noted that vapor chambers are not perfect solutions for all thermal challenges. it explained, “there are a few drawbacks to using a vc instead of solid copper. some vc have a power limit of 500 watts. exceeding this temperature might cause a dry out and could increase the vapor temperature and pressure. an increase in internal pressure can deform the vc surfaces or cause leakage from the welding joints.”


while there are certain considerations that go into the decision to use a vapor chamber, they have become increasingly popular tools for cooling electronics. the second article from ats highlighted some of the various applications that recently included vapor chamber technology.


among the many applications are hard drive disk cooling, led cooling, computers (personal, gaming, and overclocking), consumer products (especially mobile phones and tablets), as well as high heat flux chips (igbt and mosfet).


“vapor chambers are critical in applications where height is limited, which is an increasing problem in today’s era of miniaturization, and where power densities are high,” according to the article. “vapor chambers are also important in applications where there are hotspots, where weight is a concern, and where there is a high ambient temperature or low airflow.”


a number of companies have incorporated vapor chambers, from microsoft adding a vapor chamber array to its project scorpio gaming system to radian adding vapor chambers as the base for its intel skylake heat sink.


learn more about the applications for vapor chambers at https://www.qats.com/cms/2017/08/01/applications-vapor-chambers-thermal-management-electronics.

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