Heatcolumn heatpipes are slightly different
from the standard 6-10mm diameter heatpipes we are used to seeing, and typically
start off at 25mm in diameter or thicker. According to documentation by QuTech, heat column heatpipes are
essentially empty cylinders of copper coated internally with a thin
superconducting heat transfer medium. The copper cylinder is sealed off at both
ends, and inside is under a vacuum of approximately 1 Torr.
Patent no. 6,132,823 explains
QuTech's very interesting and potentially revolutionary process to the topic of
heatpipes, entitled Superconducting Heat Transfer Medium . Here is a
short excerpt from the patent which explains the technology in plain english, but feel
free to skip ahead to the actual heatsink review.
"Inorganic Medium Thermal Conductive Device. This heat conducting device
greatly improved the heat conductive abilities of materials over their
conventional state. Experimentation has shown this device capable of
transferring heat along a sealed metal shell having a partial vacuum therein
at a rate of 5,000 meters per second.
On the internal wall of the shell
is a coating applied in three steps having a total optimum thickness of 0.012
to 0.013 millimeters. Of the total weight of the coating, strontium comprises
1.25%, beryllium comprises 1.38%, and sodium comprises 1.95%....
The fact that a conventional heat
pipe shares a similar outside shape to a thermal superconductive heat pipe
used to raise some misunderstandings. Therefore, it is necessary to give a
brief description on the differences and similarities of the two. A
convectional heat pipe makes use of the technique of liquids vaporizing upon
absorbing great amounts of heat and vapors cooling upon emitting heat so as to
bring the heat from the pipe's hot end to its cold end. The axial heat
conducting velocity of the heat pipe depends on the value of the liquid's
vaporization potent heat and the circulation speed between two forms of liquid
and vapor. The axial heat conducting velocity of the heat pipe also is
restrained by the type and quantity of the carrier material and the
temperatures and pressures at which the heat pipe operates (it can not be too
The present superconductive heat
transfer device is made of a thermal superconductive medium whose axial heat
conduction is accomplished by the thermal superconductive mediums' molecules
high speed movement upon being heated and activated. The present
superconductive heat transfer device's heat conducting velocity is much higher
than that of any metal bars or any convectional heat pipes of similar size,
while its internal pressure is much lower than that of any convectional heat
pipe of the same temperature."
heatpipe technology has surfaced on a few heatsinks we've
tested already, it may be slower to adopt in spite of its otherwise promising attributes.
Also, since most people would be hard pressed to explain what a
heatpipe is, or does, the superconducting heatpipe, or heat column as we've
taken to calling it around here, is probably going to continue to generate a lot of