Helium Gas Cooling

jjl0402

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Hey all,
I have a fairly out-there idea. I wanted to get peoples thoughts on using gaseous helium in a computer as a cooling medium. vs air. From what I found the thermal conductivity of air is .0257 W/(mK) where helium is .1513 W/(mK). From a quick table lookup Cottonseed oil has a thermal conductivy of .173 W/(mK) and water has .588 W/(mK). If helium is used, system fans can still be used and cooling should be much more efficient minus the liquid problems of oil or liquid cooling. However helium would have to be reused in the system due to cost if nothing else, so a container would have to be built in a manner similar to the vegetable oil container or possibly it some type of giant mylar balloon thing. Assuming the container can hold helium reasonably well, and that it is not too insulating, you may be able to get better cooling than using air.

So I was wondering if anyone had any clue at all what one could use for a helium container (I know helium is really tricky to store) and also any comments on the idea would be appreciated.

P.S. Helium has a much lower heat capacity than oil so it will heat up quickly compared to an oil type system, however as long as steady state temps are acceptable this wont be a problem..
 

blackwidow_rsa

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You cant have a close system. The helium will heat up to where it actually heats up the components, thats why there is intake/exhaust fans. Unless you have some sort of radiator/compressor it won't work
 

jjl0402

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That was my initial thought, but the oil cooled computers were able to reach an equilibrium at a temperature below systems temps. Tom's hardware got to 40C using their oil cooled PC just letting it sit. My though was if the container was big enough you would have enough heat transfer to keep the case at a similar temperature.
 

jjl0402

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I was thinking gaseous helium. My thought was it may work, but I am sure it would be a pain to maintain, a pain to set up and may not have the performance of liquid cooling and thats why it probably hasn't been done. But it would be cool to be different.
 
G

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I'm saying you should probably give this up and get back to studying for that Thermo exam!
 

Slobogob

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I would suggest getting a really huge case. Preferably two and put them together. The next step would be to assure that the heat can be transfered from the gas to the outside of the cases. A bigger surface area should help with that. There are passive hdd cooler that are basically glued to hdd. If you cover the in- and outside of the case with them and make sure that there is a constant airflow you might actually succeed - unless your case is too small. Then the Helium will heat up too much.
 

tomfool

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Lots o problems to work around . U either need a closed system (and ANOTHER) heat exchanger, or a limitless supply of cool (and free) helium.
Using LONNNNNNG heatpipes to move the heatsink fins to a box or tube with a drain and a water mist/fall/drip to use the .588 whatever of water
plus a fan for evaporation benefit etc. is mo better idea. Hurry up and build one so I can sue you for using my ideas college boy :)

PS> dont ever listen to anyone who says that it would have been done already if it was any good. Thats pure CRAP! Somewhere @ 15 or so years ago I posted somwhere about using heatpipes for heatsinks and got the same lame reply. Who knows where I'd be today if I had just ordered me some parts and started selling my own design online bak then. :)
 

jjl0402

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Tomfool,
Random side note, one of my professors actually was one of the guys that first pushed heatpipes, and he even has a book out on the subject. I can ask him if he first got the idea for heatpipes off of a message board :D
 

Darkknight512

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How bout you have an air type (or Helium tight) system, bucket with the bottom cut out and make a hole at the top of the system with a 120mm fan. Then with a Push Pull system build a duct to the bottom front of your system.
 

jonyb222

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^^ I think that would be a prety good idea,
1. get your case
2. take off the bottom and top
3. create a duct with cooling fins followed by fans then another layer of cooling fins in it connecting the top and bottom
4. add fans to the top and bottom to speed the airflow
5. add passive heatsinks to everything

*Edit* I'm off to the patent office as I speak :p
 

MadHacker

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here is my take on it...
treat the gas helium as a liquid. using a fan instead of a pump.

in a sealed box. have a hole on top that leads to a tube that goes to a rad. from there have the helium go back into the PC case at the bottom.

using fans to push the air through the rad.

hard part would be keeping the system perfectly sealed. helium atoms are very small. so they will leak out of any microscopic holes.
even party balloons start to depressurize because the helium escapes out through the this membrane of the balloon.

my 2¢

edit: something else to worry about... since it is helium filled... it might float away :lol:
 

Darkknight512

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Sealing will always be a problem with a gas system. So how bout this, don't go with a full system cooling.

You can have a tube that goes to the front of a heat sink and out the back all sealed, this way you only have to seal like 50 cm worth of "gap" per thing your cooling. Of course a full system would be cooler :)

But remember you would have atleast 2 exhausts pm a computer, the PSU and the system, plus you might have a graphics exhaust.

Probably building a system like in the old THG video of the oil cooled pc would be a good idea.

Edit: or if you have a lot of money and space, you could always build a pressure chamber thats at 1 atmosphere.

This way you can just put you computer inside, but we still need a way to lose the heat, and maybe we can have a liquid cooled radiator in the chamber and just have tubes coming out. For this to work the helium in the chamber must be warmer then the air outside (Obviously).
 

jeb1517

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This has been the best (and funniest) idea so far.
 

knotknut

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You could design a small refrigeration unit and have the evaporator coils contacting the CPU and GPU as a cooling device.

or buy a small freezer and stick your PC inside. Keeps the Vodka just right too!
 

OrderChaos

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lol, This reminds me of an idea I had the other day. We use Mobo standoff all the time, but why not make better use of them. Why not make them into removeable heatsinks? If you could design them into a way that would fit with most mobos you could sell them piecemeal for pretty cheap and make a nice profit with a little bonus cooling.

Related to that I got to thinking, if you could design a system with fans on both sides of the case, you could have one side be intake and the other outake and just have a massive wind tunnel/cooling system monster for a case :D lol. I was/am planning on doing this (eventually!).

btw just out of curiosity, does anyone know how much helium costs?
 

MadHacker

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I think i have that already... one side is the front.. the other side is the back...
make a wind tunnel... nope can't do that though j/k :pt1cable:
 

OrderChaos

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^I meant the bigger sides lol. That way you could just have either several smaller fans (probly about 12 120mm fans) or just a REALLY BIG fan on each side. Basically both sides of the case would be only an outline of steel or aluminum with Fans filling in the middle.

Lol imagine how that would look with all LED fans.