Cooling Corner Blog Series

Welcome to our new Cooling Corner blog. 

We decided to start this blog as a service to the cooling technology community and to provide a space for discussion on the art and science of advanced cooling systems. It was born out of thousands of conversations with colleagues and customers with whom I have had the pleasure of interacting over the last 30-plus years. Our hope is that through this, we can all advance technology together. The focus is on the instrument, equipment, and electronics cooling rather than buildings and infrastructure. Feel free to ask questions or weigh in on the topics.  

The topics will include a full range of thermal management technology with a primary focus on active and passive methods of dissipating heat to the ultimate heat sink rather than packaging materials and thermal conduction features. Various cooling technologies, such as free convection, forced convection, liquid cooling, and thermoelectric performance will be covered with vapor compression cooling technology to be the main focus.   

Examples will draw from medical, laboratory, laser, military, electronics, and electric vehicle applications allowing the discussion to cover a wide range of both target and ambient temperatures. Additionally, vapor compression solutions using air-pumped, liquid loop, and direct refrigerant cooling approaches will be covered. 

It is my hope that the stories, anecdotes, applications, and technology covered will be useful and entertaining to anyone involved in thermal management applications and design. 

With that, I will leave you with one story. Some years ago, while on a three-day hike in the Maroon Bells area near Aspen in Colorado, I learned a lesson that taught me how critical setting a goal can be. On the first day, I finished the second 12,000 ft pass with a waning sun and the smell of wildflowers wafting around me. The scene, especially with the wildflower’s aroma, can only be described as surreal. I had spent the last few hours well above the tree line, looking over a basin between other high mountains. As I crossed over the pass, the view that greeted me on the other side literally took my breath away.  There before me, on the other side of the valley, was a 1000 ft thick red sandstone formation that swept from the right horizon to the deeper valley on the far left of my view. It took my breath away. And as I hurried down to get below the tree line to find a site to camp, I was left with the memories of the scene and the wildflower smell.  

The next day started easily enough. Downhill through widely spaced old-growth pines with a soft carpet of pine needles for a pathway. I was again caught up in the surreal experience. In the valley, however, the path was confused by horse prints mingled with boot prints, and I lost considerable time.  I crossed over the stream at the bottom and started to climb. The day grew hot.  Miserably hot.  As the path went up, I was sorely tempted to give up, but to what end? I could not see the pass that I needed to cross as I could the day before, so I just plodded on. One foot in front of the other. Hour after hour. As I got higher, I rounded a corner, and something about the terrain, a break in the trees, or a view right up the valley, caused me to get a glimpse of the pass I was headed toward. It was a gleaming marble outcrop shining against the clear blue sky. I knew then, without question, that was my goal. I had seen the goal.  Somehow, that made the rest of the climb easy. The terrain was more difficult and the elevation was much higher. So physically, the path was much harder, but I had seen the goal, and that made all the difference. 

It can be like that with a work project or any project, really. Once the goals are clear, then the path to get there can be discerned, and an efficient path to achievement can be identified. Perhaps that is why the authors of self-help books like Covey and others say, “write down the goal.” It is also why we always insist on a specification requirement before starting on a cooling system design project.

It is my goal that this blog is informative, entertaining, and useful for those responsible for thermal management designs. Stay tuned, we are just getting started.

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