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 Post subject: Dielectric coolant recommendations anyone?
PostPosted: Wed Jan 29, 2003 10:11 am 
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Location: Charlotte, North Carolina
Can anyone recommend a dielectric coolant (relatively cheap!) for use within an indirect liquid cooled system? After spending all of my hard earned money I wouldnt want a leek to ruin not only my computer but all the components loacted around it.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jan 30, 2003 4:51 pm 
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Joined: Sun Jan 05, 2003 12:09 pm
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Location: U.K.
No, I can't really recommend a dielectric coolant.

Alcohols: not dielectric, but less conductive than water. Lower specific heat capacity than water. Higher viscosity except for methanol which is less viscous, but I would guess that this would not be enough to offset the 39% lower specific heat capacity and 58% lower thermal conductivity. Flammable. Toxic, especially methanol (which is also the most volatile, i.e. it has a low boiling temperature and evaporates very readily). Ethan-1,2-diol (ethylene glycol, the main component of antifreeze) is very viscous, and less volatile than water.

Hydrocarbons:
they are flammable and have less than half the specific heat capacity of water. Butane (C4H10) is a gas at room temperature. Pentane (C5H12) has low viscosity and boils somewhere in the 40s C (I don't remember exactly). Hexane boils at 67-68 but is badly toxic. As you get into heavier things, oils etc, the volatility decreases (and therefore so does the fire risk) but the viscosity increases, so you have trouble pumping the stuff. Also, oil is unpleasant stuff to clean up if it leaks. Hydrocarbons may dissolve or at least soften some kinds of tubing.

Chlorinated aliphatic compounds:
1,1,1-Trichloroeethane is just liquid but evaporates very readily; I'd have to look up the boiling point. Really rather bad for you. Dissolves many kinds of plastics, lacquers, paints, tubing etc. Not much of a fire risk.
Dichloromethane is similar but only a bit bad for you. Both of those have low viscosity, but I don't know the numbers.

Chlorinated aromatic compounds:
PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls) have been used successfully on a large scale for cooling large transformers. However they are badly toxic and I don't think they're legal now. Don't do it. (I expect they would dissolve many plastics too.)

Water:
specific heat capacity much greater than any of the alternatives. Low viscosity. Most people who've had spills have found that their equipment works after drying out.

Oh, for some numbers for water and some alcohols you might like to look at this thread from the overclockers.com forums:
http://forum.oc-forums.com/vb/showthrea ... adid=39039
Bear in mind that high thermal conductivity and high specific heat capacity are both good things. (Specific heat capacity (thermal capacity) is the energy absorbed per unit temperature-rise per unit mass.)
A word of warning though: in that forum thread, the person who gathered the data seems to think that a high ratio of conductivity to capacity is good, i.e. low capacity is good. This is plain wrong. In fact multiplying capacity by conductivity might give a useful measure of the performance of a coolant (though viscosity must also be considered).

Off-topic note on links:
The link above as copied from my browser had something like "s=1235manydigits6789&" between the "?" and the "threadid" but as you can see it works fine with that chunk (the session id) missing. This way, this thread doesn't get wider than I like to have my browser window.


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 Post subject: Cooling fluids
PostPosted: Fri Jan 31, 2003 9:45 am 
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Location: Vancouver, BC, CANADA
How about gases, like nitrogen and the noble gases?

Higher pressure may make designing the cooling system more work.
How easy is to pump them? or do you have to liquefy your cooling system?

If we have a mix of gases / liquids we end up with heat pipes.


Would a heat pipe with pentane work well? bp in the 40 degree range.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Feb 01, 2003 9:11 am 
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Location: Charlotte, North Carolina
So Bat after reading all the info you posted I see that you have tried an extensive number of coolants. Which would you recommend.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Feb 01, 2003 12:10 pm 
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I once read somewhere about a guy who used mineral oil to cool his system. I'm pretty sure it's dielectric b/c he submerge his entire mobo in it. I'll see if I can find the link...

UPDATE: here's one of them http://www.tractum.de/

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Feb 02, 2003 4:57 pm 
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jwitkows wrote:
So Bat after reading all the info you posted I see that you have tried an extensive number of coolants.
No, I haven't tried using them for cooling, but I know their properties.
jwitkows wrote:
Which would you recommend.
You asked that already, at the beginning of this thread. In the first line of my post I replied, "No, I can't really recommend a dielectric coolant."

I'm about to make a water-cooled system.

(I've read about people using light oils, too, powergyoza. There was someone who first coated everything with some stuff to protect it from the oil which might otherwise mess up the plastic parts or soak into components, and then used some sort of light machine oil for cooling.)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Feb 03, 2003 6:05 am 
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Location: Melbourne, Australia
transformer oil seems to be a good one as well...
3M were selling used flourient (if that's how you spell it) for half price but still insane cost like 500US per L

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