How Bubbles Could Help Improve Electronics

OSU bubbles

Researchers at Oregon State University using new technology to control the formation and release of bubbles illustrate it with the letters “OSU” being printed on a substrate. (Image courtesy of Oregon State University)

A new technique for precisely controlling boiling water could also be used to enable better cooling of electronic devices. Engineers at Oregon State University (OSU) developed a new way to induce and control the bubbles that form when liquids boil. This new technique could certainly be used to improve the steam boilers that produce electricity, but it could also help improve the performance and lifespan of electronics. It could help improve any technology that requires dissipating high heat levels, such as solar energy, lasers, radars, or power electronics. 

One of the key limitations for electronic devices is the heat they generate, and something that helps dissipate that heat will help them operate at faster speeds and prevent failure. The more bubbles you can generate, the more cooling you can achieve.

Chih-hung Chang, OSU College of Engineering

The OSU engineers used a piezoelectric inkjet printing concept to create hydrophobic (repelled by water) polymer “dots” on a substrate, and then deposit a hydrophilic (attracted by water) material on top of that. In this way, bubble formation can be precisely controlled and manipulated for the desired goal.

The researchers have applied for a patent for their invention and described their work in a paper that published in Scientific Reports.

Source: OSU

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