The relentless quest to push the boundaries of computing power highlights a significant challenge: effectively managing the heat generated by Central Processing Units (CPUs) – the brains of our computers. Traditional cooling methods, mainly using fans to blow air, hit their limits due to the basic heat-handling properties of air and the reliability of moving parts. Here, the groundbreaking idea of immersion cooling steps into the spotlight. This method, which involves dipping CPUs in specially designed liquids that are better at conducting heat, promises to revolutionize how we keep our computers cool. This cooling strategy not only aims to overcome the limitations of air cooling but also introduces the potential for quieter, energy-saving, and environmentally friendly computing solutions. It marks a significant shift towards developing computing systems that are both powerful and sustainable, igniting interest in pushing this innovative technology further.

At Arizona State University, Kathan Gajjar and Dr. Huei-Ping Huang have pioneered a new direction in CPU cooling that could change the future of how computers operate. Their work, published in the “Case Studies in Thermal Engineering” journal, showcases a unique cooling system that uses a special, non-conductive liquid instead of traditional fans or pumps.

Dr. Huei-Ping Huang explained the core idea behind their invention, “Our system is essentially a loop filled with a special liquid. The movement of this liquid, which helps carry away the heat, is driven naturally by the heat itself, without needing any fans or pumps.” This smart design uses the natural flow of heat to keep CPUs at the right temperature, sidestepping the noise and energy use that comes with fan-based cooling.

A key innovation in their cooling system is the integration of a Tesla valve, which is crucial for the unidirectional recirculation of the cooling liquid. Unlike traditional valves that require mechanical parts to control flow direction, the Tesla valve uses a clever design to allow liquid to flow more easily in one direction than the other, using the heat generated by the CPU itself. This ensures a continuous, efficient cooling process without the need for moving parts, further enhancing the system’s reliability and efficiency. Dr. Huang elaborated, “The use of the Tesla valve in our cooling system is a game-changer. It not only improves the efficiency of heat removal but also simplifies the design by eliminating the need for mechanical pumps, leading to a more durable and less energy-intensive solution.”

In their study, they found that one particular liquid, FC-3283, was better at cooling than traditional mineral oil, ensuring that CPUs could run efficiently in real-world conditions. An important feature of their system is a specially designed valve that ensures the liquid moves in one direction only, enhancing the cooling effect. Dr. Huang highlighted, “What makes our system work so well is the clever design of the loop, which includes a special valve that directs the liquid flow in a single direction.”

To test their design, Gajjar and Dr. Huang turned to computer simulations, which allowed them to examine how well different liquids cooled the CPU without having to build physical models first. “By simulating the cooling process, we were able to directly compare how well mineral oil and FC-3283 performed, discovering that FC-3283 kept the CPU within a desirable temperature range for practical use,” Dr. Huang noted, emphasizing the importance of these simulations in their research.

Their findings not only offer a new solution to CPU cooling but also highlight the potential of using unique designs to improve heat flow within cooling systems. Dr. Huang further discussed the broader impact of their work, “Our study contributes in two major ways. Firstly, it demonstrates that our innovative design can potentially enhance current cooling systems. Secondly, it introduces new uses for the special valve we employed, broadening its applications in technology.” This innovative approach to cooling promises not only to enhance computer performance and energy efficiency but also to make computing environments quieter by removing the need for noisy fans. As the demand for more powerful computing grows, the groundbreaking work by Gajjar and Dr. Huang at Arizona State University offers a promising path toward more efficient and sustainable cooling technologies.


Kathan Gajjar, Huei-Ping Huang, “Conjugate Heat Transfer for Single Phase Immersion Cooling of CPU”, Case Studies in Thermal Engineering, 2023. DOI: