It’s pretty neat that soon you will be able to cool your PC with 3D white graphene. Researchers from Rice University have discovered that these small structures made up of boron nitride are extremely good at managing the temperatures of small electronic devices.
The small team of just two people, Navid Sakhavamd and Rouzbeh Shahsavari, has just completed the theoretical part of the study, which involved testing of the principles behind using the boron nitride 3D structures as bases for controlling heat flow in small electronics which would need better cooling such as laptop, PC, or smartphone CPUs.
The American Chemical Society has chosen to publish the findings of the two scientists in Applied Materials and Interfaces journal.
Hexagonal boron nitride, when in 2D, which theoretically is white graphene, looks exactly like the other, more commonly known graphene, the carbon form which is an atom thick. The main difference between the two, and one which has been studied quite a lot, is that the former, white graphene, or h-BN, is a natural insulator. Carbon based graphene, on the other hand, has no problem conducting electricity.
Yet, h-BN can easily conduct heat, which is one of the reasons why the two researchers decided to look further into the cooling capabilities of the element. What they knew was that there was a dire need in electronics to get the heat out in a more efficient way then… well, fans.
Fans are not such a good method for cooling processing units. They attract a lot of dust and often end up heating the device instead of cooling it, if they are not cleaned regularly.
Another alternative that has been popularized among die-hard gamers as a way to cool their monster PCs was liquid nitrogen, which has a temperature of -370 degrees Fahrenheit. They used heat conducting recipients placed inside the devices, which they fill with the element. There is a big issue here since the element is too dangerous to work with. One drop touches your finger and you can say goodbye to it, as it instantly freezes whole.
To this extent, this method really seems extremely promising, and the 3D-form of the white graphene is really interesting because it allows heat to dissipate, cooling the device considerably faster than the old school fans. The phonons, which are tiny particles of heat resulting when elements react and excite, are able to spread not only in plane surface, but also across plane, permitting a better distribution of the overall temperature.
The scientists’ goal now is to put this theory into practice and create switches or rectifiers which reorient the heat generated by a device in order to make it move slower, and therefore cool the object producing it.
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