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 Review, Prometeia Phase Change Cooler, Part I
The concept of phase change cooling
By: Sverre Sjøthun, March 26, 2003  Print this article


Phase change cooling is an interesting concept -- A phase change is a change of the state of matter, like water to steam (or ice), or amorphous (non-crystalline) to crystalline, or vice versa. But how can this change of state be used for cooling, you might ask.

Vaporization requires the input of heat energy. Our bodies use this as a mechanism to remove excess heat from ourselves. We sweat, and its evaporation requires heat input, i.e. the excess heat from ourselves.

Diagram showing the three states of a matter

Diagram showing the three states of a matter

The Prometeia use the evaporation of Freon, and more specifically Freon r134a, to remove heat from the processor, where the Freon is condensed in the condenser in a process, which releases heat energy.

The four-step cooling cycle

There are four steps in the cooling cycle of a Freon compressor based solution -- compressor, condenser, capillary tube, and finally the evaporator that sits on top of the processor.

The four-step cooling cycle

The four-step cooling cycle

What actually happens is that the gaseous Freon is sucked from the evaporator, into the compressor. The compressor increase the pressure to the condensation pressure of Freon, and the phasechange takes place –- the Freon changes state from gas to liquid.

The condenser, an inline radiator, gets rid of the heat generated by the evaporator and during the compression of the Freon. By now, the Freon is completely liquefied.

The capillary tube is a small diameter copper tube acting as a valve to lower the pressure. This capillary tube is important for the refrigerant to evaporate at such low temperatures.

When the refrigerant has passed through the capillary tube, it reaches the evaporator. The pressurized liquid expands inside the evaporator and changes state from liquid to gas. Now, remember what I said about vaporization requiring input of heat. The vaporization process inside the evaporator “consumes” the energy from the processor, and the processor is cooled down.

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  Supercooling – How and why it works
  The concept of phase change cooling
  The Prometeia basecooler
  Attention to details
  Final result and preliminary conclusion

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