Carbon Nanotube Processing Essay

1321 words - 5 pages

Hammitt 6Jonathan HammittCom 203L. Behny09/13/2014First Draft Carbon Nanotube ProcessingComputer technology has made leaps and bounds over the course of the past few decades. Huge super computers that could only do miniscule calculations transformed into small handheld devices, and at the core of all of these systems is the central processing unit. Over the years, the power of the CPU has exponentially increased, increasing the amount of transistors contained within the unit from thousands to hundreds of millions. The new generation of processors has afforded us limitless capability when it comes to computing technology, however, one of the latest problems facing processors today is heat dissipation and cooling. For years, copper heat sinks in combination with fans have been the cooling solution of choice, but it will not be long before processors produce too much heat for even the best cooling technology has to offer. Thankfully, other technologies have been in development and could possibly provide a solution. This expository will provide a definition for carbon nanotube technology, its potential role in CPU cooling, and finally, the future of computer technology.In order to understand how carbon nanotubes can solve cooling issues, it is important to understand the basics of the cooling process in personal computers. Heat sinks are giant radiator-like devices that utilize copper in conjunction with a TIM, normally made of silver compound, to transfer heat from the CPU to an array of fins that are finally dissipated by a case fan. The process is called phase change. According to Extremetech, one of the many problems facing new CPUs today is the efficient transmission of heat between CPU and the heat sink that cools them. The problem exists because modern thermal interface compounds, or TIMs, are horrible at conducting heat and processors are also bad at spreading heat evenly across the chip. "A great deal of thermal energy gets "stuck" at the top of the CPU core, while the latter creates hot spots on the die" (ExtremeTech). Modified versions of the basic cooling process have also been invented to curb processor heat. Liquid cooling utilizes the same phase process, the only difference is it passes a liquid compound over the CPU dissipating heat into a radiator, and finally transferring it into a heat fan. CPUS have also been experimentally put inside of nonconductive liquid. These methods are not fully effective, and engineers and scientists have been struggling to provide a final solution to the cooling issues for years, that are until carbon nanotubes were developed.Carbon nanotubes are tubular cylinders of carbon atoms that exhibit remarkable mechanical, electrical, thermal, and optical/chemical properties. (Nanocomp) Originally developed as a potential material to build a space elevator, it was not that long before scientists realized the potential gains that could be made in many technologies if carbon nanotubes were implemented somehow....

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