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Stirling CPU Cooler

Power your fan with the heat it gets rid of.
  (+13, -1)(+13, -1)
(+13, -1)
  [vote for,

CPUs are very inefficient. They put out great amounts of heat, can burn, or (hopefully) simply shut down if they overheat.

Enter the Stirling CPU Cooler. It uses the heat generated by the CPU to power the fan, by way of a Stirling cycle engine. These engines convert heat directly into kinetic energy (See link to Howstuffworks article). This way, your CPU gets cooled efficiently and quietly, you save energy, and you can brag about it.
-----, May 13 2005

Howstuffworks article http://snipurl.com/evf5
[-----, May 13 2005]

Article on 'powerless' processor cooling fan being developed. http://www.reghardw...i_stirling_cooling/
It's being tried! A comment refers to this HB idea. [baconbrain, Feb 29 2008]

Baked: MSI Stirling CPU cooler http://www.flickr.c...jaysern/2316773982/
[yppiz, Jul 03 2010]


       I'm not sure that this works thermodynamically - I've a feeling that it must lead to the CPU becoming hotter than it would be if the Stirling wasn't there - but I'm not certain, and the image is excellent, so [+].
david_scothern, May 13 2005

       Hmm, the Stirling Engine is removing heat, converting it into kinetic energy, powering a fan that cools it more. Basically, it's moving that wasted heat energy out of the computer, powered by that wasted energy.
-----, May 13 2005

       SO COOL. This way if your trying to have your battery last for more then 2 housrs this whould be very usful. (fans take up most of the battery)
gelie, May 13 2005

       When it's cold I use my laptop as a heater (because my room has bad heat) works great (lol)
gelie, May 13 2005

       According to the site----------------------The engine works on the heat and the gasses from the gases or diesel never get out???
gelie, May 13 2005

       No, it just works on any heat. You can buy one that runs on a coffee cup.
-----, May 13 2005

       This would be for a desktop not a laptop. The engine wouldn't fit in a laptop.
-----, May 13 2005

       Its simple a piston that operates on differences in air presure brought on by differences in temperature. Heat forces the piston up, cools and then the piston is brought back down. May or may not need a spring.
10clock, May 14 2005

       This would work in principle - it's simply converting otherwise unused thermal energy. Whether it would be effective is another matter - in practical terms, would it make more of a difference than, say, a good heatsink?
Detly, May 14 2005

       I'm no engineer, but I've heard of the stirling engine before. Correct me if I'm wrong, but don't stirlings need a heat source AND a cooling source to work? And dont the gases within the housing need to be kept fairly cold? If you are keeping parts of the engine cool so they can keep the CPU cool, why not just keep the CPU cool instead, and cut out the middle man (the stirling)?
Blumster, May 14 2005

       This has a really great circularity to it.
wagster, May 14 2005

       That, Blumster, is what I was thinking. The question is, would the airflow from the stirling-driven fan be better for cooling the cpu than a passive heatsink? I think not, because if it did a good job of cooling then it'd remove its power source. However, if operation of a Stirling engine could be achieved at a temperature that wouldn't fry the chip then it'd be the ultimate executive-geek toy.   

       However, a specific cooling source is not needed - they can dump heat to atmosphere quite happily. I've seen a desk toy version run beautifully off a small nightlight. Very high speed, but no torque.
david_scothern, May 14 2005

       Yeah, you can run them from the difference in heat between a cup of coffee and ambient temperature.
Detly, May 15 2005

       You don't need a _cold_ source, but a difference in temperature. The Stirling engine would power a fan, so it's more than a heatsink. Also, I believe a CPU puts out a lot more heat energy than a night light.
-----, May 15 2005

       I'm picturing a flattened, square micro-stirling engine sandwiched between the CPU and a standard heatsink. A tiny crank extends up the side of the heatsink to run the fan. I'm even wondering if the Stirling could be etched in silicon.   

       Whether you would really get the RPMs to move enough air is another factor. Maybe with gearing or belts.   

       The cool (sorry) thing about this is it would continue to cool down your CPU for a while after you switch off.   

       "Shutdown" CHUFCHUFchufchufwhrrrrrzzz .....   

       [+] just for making my computer sound like a tiny steam train while it's running
BunsenHoneydew, Nov 26 2005

       You're creating an engine that removes fuel from itself?
Laimak, Nov 26 2005

       Why not develop a CPU that generates less heat in the first place, then a simple heat sink would suffice.
BlueGiraffe, Nov 27 2005

       The Kalina-cycle may just barely be able to extract some useful energy from such a low temperature differential, but a cooling system like that would cost many times more than the computer itself.   

       Why not find an application for the 50-100 watts of heat instead?   

       How about:   

       A contraption that consists of two water reservoirs (or whatever working fluid you decide to use), one just slightly higher than the CPU, and one much higher.   

       The bottom reservoir starts out full, and feeds the CPU with room temperature water, which is then boiled and sent up to the upper reservoir as a gas.   

       The upper reservoir is designed to cool the gas rapidly, and allow it to condense back into liquid.   

       Once the upper chamber is full, your computer plays a toilet flushing sound, and the water spirals down through a drainpipe back into the lower reservoir.   

       It’d be an entertaining way to flush away all those BTUs. Also, if you wanted to extract energy, it would now be in the convenient form of gravitational-potential.
TIB, Nov 28 2005

       [fqhwgads] I was under the impression that modern processors gave of more than 100W heat when running. If this were combined with heat-pipes and a case-mounted fan that drew cold air in from the atmosphere, a (admittedly delicate) balance might be found.
stestagg, Nov 28 2005

       I think the most efficient way of doing this would be to have a decent heatsink as the cold side and have the fan cooling that.
marklar, May 17 2007

       Seeing how popular the idiotic pc mods have become, I say - AYE!   

       A stirling, that uses the extracted kinetic energy to power a fan that cools the cool side... Pretty fancy.   

       You can actually sell it pressurized with helium for even greater efficiency (and potential refill sale)   

       But you get no bun because of environmental issues.
anzlovar, Sep 25 2007

       I think all the devices absorbing the heat and themselves heating up near the CPU would just get in the way of letting the heat move away from the CPU.
ironfroggy, Sep 28 2007

       I think this would work if it had a heatsink. Use the heatsink to cool the cool-side air to make it more efficient.   

       Maybe you could incorporate it into one of those tacky desktop fountains.
nomocrow, Oct 01 2007

       Looks like someone's trying this idea. See link, and click on comments at bottom of article for discussion and HB reference.
baconbrain, Feb 29 2008

       Why not just call your computer a heater that does some other stuff? 100% efficiency right there.
DanDaMan, Mar 01 2008

       To extract power from the flow of heat from the CPU to the air, the Stirling engine must impede that flow of heat somewhat, due to the laws of thermodynamics. Therefore, the CPU will be hotter than with a plain heatsink of the same type you'd put on the cold side of the Stirling engine.
notexactly, Apr 25 2019


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