In brief: Submerging a PC in a tank filled with mineral oil to keep it cool isn’t new, but it’s always impressive to see. Now, a 3M employee has demoed the method using the company’s own Novec engineering fluid.
Back in 2014, it was reported that Intel and SGI had been trialing a new method of cooling servers and supercomputers using 3M’s low-boiling-point dielectric liquid. Novec has multiple applications, including aerosol formulations, electronic coatings, and fire suppression. It also does a good job of keeping CPU temperatures low.
“With a wide range of boiling points, low viscosity and high dielectric strength, 3M Novec Engineered Fluids are suitable for cleaning, heat transfer and other applications,” writes 3M.
As spotted by HardOCP, 3M engineer Conny Larsson has posted a YouTube video demonstrating a Novec build. It follows on from a similar system he created several years ago, though this final version is much smaller. There’s also a series of seven videos where you can see the entire process of creating the new demo machine.
When running a stress test, the heat of the processor quickly reaches the boiling temperature of the Novec liquid, causing it to evaporate. The gas travels upwards inside the sealed tank, making contact with the cooler radiator and condensing into its original liquid state, which drips down back into the tank.
The smaller size of the most recent build does make it more suitable for home use, though it’s not exactly what you’d call practical. But it’s still very cool, in both senses of the word, and an impressive feat of engineering.