This has me quite curious. I'm wondering how something like this would perform after long term use. Most common plastics get very brittle and break (or even melt) after being exposed to a heat source for too long.
On the plus, it should be cheaper to produce than copper/aluminum based coolers.
polyethylene is a petroleum-based compound. it is also the base component in plastics. because there is already a huge industry dealing with this kind of material, you should expect it to be more expensive than a child's action figure but less than a common, high end, full copper heatsink you can find today (assuming it is made without any other expensive components like copper).
according to the source, the only difference in making this stuff over normal plastics is slowly lining up the polymers so they all face one direction. IMO this could be interesting because we could eventually get flexible heat pipes out of this.
This is quite an achievement to be honest. Nearly all polymers are terrible thermal conductors. I am however, skeptical as to how it maintains electrical insulation while increasing thermal conductivity...
Also, referring to shadow187's comment:
Chances are, if it's polymer, it can be mass-produced very cost effectively.
I wonder if it could be used as the basis of a new type of thermal compound as well. Perhaps even top of the CPU will be made of this material, allowing for an almost perfect transfer of heat from the CPU to the heatsink.
it's actually a misconception that plastic is cheaper cause of all the cheap plastic stuff floating around, as a material it's probably more expensive to fabricate than metal on a piece for piece comparison, plastics do however have one advantage, economies of scale, the more you make the cheaper it becomes, you need to be able to manufacture and sell in the regions of millions for plastic to be considered cheaper than metal, but for batch runs of thousands odd, then metal is by far a cheaper alternative
Yea, thermal conductivity and electrical conductivity usually goes hand in hand. However, the promise of nanotechnology to enable to us manipulate atomic structure means we can get the molecules to do what we want, rather than relying on "natural" properties.
doesn't this really mean, that if we can conduct heat in certain ways with plastics that we will be able to move or 'conduct' electrons in the same way someday? an interesting thought. plastic computers!!!! no more ESD!!! although i suppose this is still far off. but it makes you think... fundamentally it's beginning to look possible.
[citation][nom]jrharbort[/nom]This has me quite curious. I'm wondering how something like this would perform after long term use. Most common plastics get very brittle and break (or even melt) after being exposed to a heat source for too long.On the plus, it should be cheaper to produce than copper/aluminum based coolers.[/citation]Most polymers used for engine components hold up pretty well. They're not perfect, but many are also exposed to a lot more abuse, such as much higher temperatures, vibration, flexing, and chemicals. A polymer cooler in a PC will probably outlive most of the rest of the system, unless you physically break it during installation or removal. I am sure they will make them strong enough that this is not a major concern. [citation][nom]fjjb[/nom]it wont look as good as shinny metal or copper[/citation]True!