Apple looking to improve cooling efficiency in future Macs

Posted:
in Future Apple Hardware edited January 2014
A number of Apple patent applications revealed this week show a variety of methods to ensure that future portable devices operate at an acceptable temperature.



As computers become faster and more powerful, power consumption and heat generation can also become greater. Four Apple patent applications unveiled this week, and filed for on Sept. 29, 2008, aim to address those issues.



"Heat dissipation is an important consideration in the design of such electronic devices," Apple's applications read. "If this heat is not adequately dissipated, the electronic components may fail and/or cause damage to the electronic device."



The first application, entitled "Methods and Apparatus for Cooling Electronic Devices Using Flow Sensors," would detect the flow of air through a portable device, such as a MacBook Pro. Such a device could detect the velocity of airflow, or a change in that velocity, and make adjustments to the system accordingly.



Based on the airflow of the device, the system could adjust fan speeds or computing power to ensure the device does not overheat.



The second application, entitled "Methods and Apparatus for Cooling Electronic Devices Through User Interfaces," would use open ports on the sides of a computer to increase airflow. Input/output ports such as USB, Ethernet and FireWire would be used to increase the flow of air into the device.



Additionally, a system could be designed so that the ports were positioned for ideal cooling of the hardware.



The third application, "Methods and Apparatus for Cooling Electronic Devices Using Conductive Hinge Assemblies," describes a hinge that would connect to an electronic component and a second housing intended to cool the computer part. The hinge would be configured to dissipate heat by transferring the heat generated by the electronic component to the second housing.



That second housing could include a heat spreader that would allow it to more efficiently dissipate the heat and cool the device.







Finally, "Methods and Apparatus for Cooling Electronic Devices using Thermoelectric Cooling Components" describes a method of cooling that would employ the "Peltier effect." Named for French physicist Jean-Charles Peltier, the effect defines when an electrical current runs through the junction of two different metals. When electrons flow from a region of high density to a lower one, it allows them to cool.



The application describes a "solid-state cooling mechanism" that would employ two sides to transfer heat away from the machine and help dissipate it.



"A current may be applied across a portion of thermoelectric cooling component? such that heat may be transported away from first surface... to second surface? of thermoelectric cooling component," the application reads. "For example, when a current of 100 milliamperes is applied across a portion of thermoelectric cooling component? (it) may create a temperature difference in the range of between 5 Celsius and 10 Celsius between first surface? and second surface."
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 40
    sheffsheff Posts: 1,407member
    Quote:

    "Finally, "Methods and Apparatus for Cooling Electronic Devices using Thermoelectric Cooling Components" describes a method of cooling that would employ the "Peltier effect." Named for French physicist Jean-Charles Peltier, the effect defines when an electrical current runs through the junction of two different metals. When electrons flow from a region of high density to a lower one, it allows them to cool."



    That's pretty cool. Especially with the ipad coming out. Is this an improvement over the fans (in terms of batter life) or is this just a way to get rid of the fans and make the device smaller. Since it is showing as a notebook patent it seems like its an extra cooling for the laptop, but obviously iPods and iPads would need this a lot more then a notebook.
  • Reply 2 of 40
    pmzpmz Posts: 3,433member
    See now I was under the impression that Apple was not looking to improve cooling efficiency at some point, some time.



    Learn something new every day.

  • Reply 3 of 40
    svnippsvnipp Posts: 430member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by pmz View Post


    See now I was under the impression that Apple was not looking to improve cooling efficiency at some point, some time.



    Learn something new every day.





    Yeah. I learned about thermocouples ages ago as a temperature sensor, but never even thought about applying a current to use this as a method of cooling. I wonder about the power efficiency of Peltier cooling vs traditional fan/air flow cooling? Obviously this is much more practical in compact electronics such as the iPad or iPhone, but is a fan more efficient in something slightly larger like a MBP?
  • Reply 4 of 40
    t0mt0mt0mt0m Posts: 1member
    15 key laptop? Nice!



    No more mentions on a liquid cooling system then?
  • Reply 5 of 40
    finetunesfinetunes Posts: 2,065member
    You can learn more about the Peltier Effect by going to



    http://www.heatsink-guide.com/peltier.htm



    Makes sense to look into methods of cooling future MBP and other Macs because heat will become more of a problem as processors become more powerful and produce more heat. From what I read, it may be possible to actually integrate a Peltier device into a processor.
  • Reply 6 of 40
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    A previous Apple patent on cooling had a waterproof layer between the keyboard and internals that allowed the flow of air but not liquids. Is there anything viable about such technology today?
  • Reply 7 of 40
    gfizgfiz Posts: 32member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by pmz View Post


    See now I was under the impression that Apple was not looking to improve cooling efficiency at some point, some time.



    Learn something new every day.





    it's shocking!
  • Reply 8 of 40
    str1f3str1f3 Posts: 573member
    This is nice and all but how about releasing the new MBPs.
  • Reply 9 of 40
    eldernormeldernorm Posts: 232member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by t0mt0m View Post


    15 key laptop? Nice!



    No more mentions on a liquid cooling system then?



    Why does one need a liquid cooling when the entire case is aluminum which is an excellent heat conductor.



    The little radiator cooler inside the laptops is nice but bleed some of the heat into the whole bottom case or top screen case. It will warm slightly but provide a vary large surface to allow heat to disipate.





    Just a thought. And if your plugged into a power outlet, there is plenty of power to do thermoelectric cooling.



    en
  • Reply 10 of 40
    myapplelovemyapplelove Posts: 1,515member
    Very nice indeed apple, now I could save some money off that sperm bank to get a new mbp since my sperm with be virile and not damaged anymore by that laptop heat.



    Interesting patent aps btw, hadn't heard of the peltier effect, and in my diagonal reading of the article I don't think I understood who it works really.
  • Reply 11 of 40
    igeniusigenius Posts: 1,240member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    A number of Apple patent applications revealed this week show a variety of methods to ensure that future portable devices operate at an acceptable temperature.



    .



    Is this why current MacBooks cannot be configured to remain running with the lid closed? Are they prone to overheat?
  • Reply 12 of 40
    myapplelovemyapplelove Posts: 1,515member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by eldernorm View Post


    Just a thought. And if your plugged into a power outlet, there is plenty of power to do thermoelectric cooling.



    en



    interesting...how would that work?
  • Reply 13 of 40
    svnippsvnipp Posts: 430member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by solipsism View Post


    A previous Apple patent on cooling had a waterproof layer between the keyboard and internals that allowed the flow of air but not liquids. Is there anything viable about such technology today?



    I actually heard about a fabric that basically didn't get wet, similar to what you are talking about. The fabric seemed to trap air molecules on it's surface effectively preventing fluids from actually coming into contact with the material, or some such non-sense. Sounded pretty cool though.
  • Reply 14 of 40
    boogabooga Posts: 1,077member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by sheff View Post


    That's pretty cool. Especially with the ipad coming out. Is this an improvement over the fans (in terms of batter life) or is this just a way to get rid of the fans and make the device smaller. Since it is showing as a notebook patent it seems like its an extra cooling for the laptop, but obviously iPods and iPads would need this a lot more then a notebook.



    The Peltier effect is a way of using electricity to pump heat from one location to another. It is hugely inefficient compared to mechanical fans and wouldn't help battery life at all, but is completely solid state and can fit into any size or shape package.



    (The Peltier effect's converse operation is called the Seebeck effect and it's a way of turning heat differentials into electricity. In theory, if you had an iPhone that was cooled by Peltier it could recharge by the difference in temperature between your leg and the outside air, but again the Seebeck effect is very inefficient and you wouldn't get much juice from it.)
  • Reply 15 of 40
    allblueallblue Posts: 393member
    Hopefully the experimental technology converting heat into electricity will develop into a usable form.
  • Reply 16 of 40
    striker_kkstriker_kk Posts: 246member
    Lawsuit in making!
  • Reply 17 of 40
    igeniusigenius Posts: 1,240member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by svnipp View Post


    Yeah. I learned about thermocouples ages ago as a temperature sensor, but never even thought about applying a current to use this as a method of cooling.



    There is nothing novel about this method. It has been known for a hundred years.
  • Reply 18 of 40
    icyfogicyfog Posts: 338member
    That's really cool.

    My PowerBook runs pretty hot, but that's because I assume it's working right and cooling the insides.
  • Reply 19 of 40
    Apple can actually get patents for technology as obvious as this?



    I have an idea about encoding data using just ones and zeros. Maybe I should patent it.
  • Reply 20 of 40
    caljomaccaljomac Posts: 122member
    Well.....i hope they do it soon as im getting temperatures of over 80 degrees on my mbp...
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