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Integrated Sensing and Threat Mitigation Method for Condensation Formation in Liquid Cooled Electronics Enclosures Disclosure Number: IPCOM000234095D
Publication Date: 2014-Jan-10
Document File: 2 page(s) / 179K

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Described is a method for protecting liquid cooled electronics enclosures from harmful condensation. The methods described allow for incoming coolant temperature to be near the dew point without sacrificing the protection required to prevent condensation from forming on the cooling manifold. Additionally, any unforeseen detection of condensation would allow for emergency countermeasures to be initiated before harm can come to the system.

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Integrated Sensing and Threat Mitigation Method for Condensation Formation in Liquid Cooled Electronics Enclosures

In electronics enclosures with liquid cooling, operation where the cooling components' surface temperatures are below the environment's dew point can cause water condensation to form. This condensation can then drip down or migrate to electrical components, causing an Unscheduled Incident Repair Action (UIRA), ruining the expensive hardware, and potentially causing a dangerous short. While the system and rack level hardware are carefully designed to operate above this point and prevent condensation, there are examples of atypical operation or sudden environmental changes that put the system in a condensing state. In most liquid-cooled hardware, the coolant is carried throughout the enclosure in simple tubes or piping between the coolant source and the various cold plates and heat spreaders, resulting in a large, complex surface area over which to detect or protect against condensation. In addition, the unrestrained nature of dripping condensation makes providing complete, water-tight protection to all of the components in the enclosure inherently challenging.

    The invention described in this disclosure is a means of temporarily containing condensation at its initial formation while simultaneously alerting the system to this operating condition. It involves coating the liquid-cooling components in a hydrogel layer which integrates with a series of strategically placed electrical sensors. A hydrogel is a polymer material that readily absorbs water on contact, swelling to several times its original volume in the process and containing the water within its polymer matrix. This acts to contain the initial condensate and prevent it from damaging the system. Simultaneously, the absorption of the water would instigate a measurable change in the electrical conductance between neighboring electrical sensors, thereby alerting the sy...