One and two phase immersion cooling of high power components

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The ability to precisely control electrical voltages on a large scale has enabled many efficient, powerful innovations. From high-speed electric trains to wind turbines, and electric vehicles to heavy earthmoving equipment and high power charging stations. But the equipment that manages this process - power inverters, thyristors, IGBT and variable-speed drives - requires high-performance power electronics cooling.

Dielectric 3M™ Novec™ Engineered Fluids are safe for contact with electronics, and cool power devices efficiently and uniformly using single-phase or two phase immersion cooling, either in passive systems or actively pumped. They offer wide operating temperature ranges, have excellent materials compatibility and are simple to maintain.

These characteristics make immersion cooling with 3M Novec fluids an excellent alternative to air, water or oil-cooled systems. And they do all this without compromising worker safety or environmental sustainability. As you develop the electric-powered machines of the future, turn to 3M Novec fluids to help keep them cool and increase reliability.

Novec Engineered fluids in Immersion cooling for High Powered Electronics
Moving forward with advanced cooling.
How does immersion cooling work?
  • Immersion cooling involves putting electronics directly in a non-conductive fluid, allowing heat to be transferred directly from components into the heat transfer fluid. In traditional indirect cooling systems, heat must transfer through several levels of thermal interface materials, air, heat exchangers and working fluids. Immersion cooling simplifies thermal design and increases heat transfer efficiency because nearly all surfaces can be addressed directly.

    Cooling designs can be passive or actively pumped and can include fluid phase transition during operation or not, depending on boiling temperature of selected fluid.

Different cooling options
  • One-phase immersion cooling icon
    Single-phase immersion cooling

    In single-phase immersion cooling the fluid has a boiling temperature well above operation temperature and remains in its liquid phase throughout the process. Absorption of heat only results in increase of fluid temperature.

  • Two-phase immersion cooling icon
    Two-phase immersion cooling

    In two-phase systems, the fluid absorbs heat by phase change from liquid to vapour, enabling effective thermal management with near isothermal operation. Two-phase immersion cooling exponentially increases heat transfer efficiency as a result of fluid boiling and condensation.

  • Passive cooling icon
    Passive cooling process

    In passive systems, the temperature distribution occurs only via natural convection. The simplicity of passive systems enables significant cost reductions smaller system footprint and simpler design without the need for complex heat sinks, heat exchangers etc.

    For two-phase cooling, the design can either be reflux tank of thermosiphon type.

  • Active cooling icon
    Active cooling process

    In single phase systems, pumps can be used to increase the fluid flow during convection which dramatically increases the rate of heat removal. Active cooling systems are used when natural convection is not sufficient to remove the heat.


The potential of immersion cooling of key power electronics applications

Power electronics move the world forward. 3M has decades of experience cooling power electronics with 3M™ Fluorinert™ Electronic Liquids. Now our next-generation Novec fluids can help keep them cool through simple, efficient, high-performance immersion cooling, with an enhanced sustainability profile. With significant advantages over existing cooling methods, consider the potential of Novec fluids to cool future power electronics applications, including:

  • High speed train in modern railway station with people on the platform.
    High-speed rail

    Electric-powered high-speed trains are transforming how people travel long distances safely, quickly and with significantly lower environmental impact than flying or other comparable modes of transport.

  • Earthmoving heavy machinery digging dirt at sunrise.
    Heavy machinery

    Earthmoving equipment can literally move mountains but requires enormous energy and power. This can be delivered efficiently via electric and hybrid drive systems controlled by power electronics.

  • Green field of tall wind turbines with blue sky and fluffy clouds.
    Wind turbines

    Harnessing wind energy requires a complex transformation of mechanical energy (which itself varies with wind speed), into electrical energy suitable for the grid.

  • Offshore platform for oil and gas (petroleum) extraction in the ocean.
    Undersea petroleum extraction

    The bottom of the sea is a challenging environment for power electronics, which are used in high-volume pumps that make petroleum extraction more efficient.

  • In modern data centres, businesses can better prepare for the unprecedented performance requirements of the future while managing costs and the impact on natural resources when cooling with 3M fluids.

  • Electric vehicle recharging its EV battery at a station.
    The mass adoption of electric vehicles depends on the production of efficient, reliable drivetrains that use power electronics to transfer energy from batteries to wheels, plus fast charging infrastructure and cables.

Case study: Ultra-fast electric vehicle charging from ITT Cannon with 3M Novec liquid cooling technology
  • Electric vehicle high-power charging system designed by ITT Cannon & cooled by 3M Novec

    As electric vehicles grow in popularity, the demand for widespread, easy to use rapid charging solutions is increasing in parallel. ITT Cannon developed a DC high power charging cable connector system, cooled by Novec Engineered Fluids, that enables a 60-mile charge to be delivered to an electric vehicle in as little as three to five minutes.

    The Novec-based liquid-cooled charging cable connector allows ultrafast charge (500A at 1000V) while minimizing the cable diameter for a flexible, ergonomic system that is as easy for drivers to use as a gas pump. Plus, Novec fluids offer:

    • Low GWP for reduced environmental impact
    • Non-flammable and non-conductive for improved safety
    • Non-corrosive for lower maintenance costs

  • Silhouette of a line of military helicopters flying at sunset.

    Military and aerospace electronics cooling

    The aviation industry and many types of specialised military equipment need compact, efficient, high-reliability cooling. 3M Novec Engineered Fluids have the properties required for the kinds of demands avionics and other critical electronics place on a cooling system. They are also compatible with the spray cooling systems used in high-end avionics and terrestrial applications. In addition to cooling performance, Novec fluids aren't flammable like polyalphaolefin (PAO) and are far less messy than oil-type coolants, allowing for easier maintenance.

    Download information on 3M cooling solutions for military applications (PDF, 1009 KB)

The power of next-generation cooling solutions

  • 1 gallon amber bottle of 3M Novec 7100 Engineered Fluid on a white background.
    • We developed 3M Novec Engineered Fluids to excel in heat transfer applications. Through our work with leading manufacturers of power electronics, we understand the demands placed on heat transfer fluids used in power electronics immersion cooling, and we offer products that feature:

      • A wide range of operating temperatures for use in different applications
      • Options that are compatible with either single-phase or two-phase immersion cooling systems
      • Excellent materials compatibility to avoid damage to equipment
      • A range of boiling points, vapour pressures and densities
      • High dielectric strength that makes them safe for contact with electronics

      Download the heat transfer product selection guide (PDF, 123 KB)

The next phase in our decades of power electronics cooling experience

  • 3M Fluorinert Electronic Liquids have been used for immersion cooling of power electronics for decades. 3M now applies that experience to the application of 3M Novec Engineered Fluids, which share the same characteristics but with an enhanced sustainability profile. Contact us for help choosing which product best meets your specifications and goals.

Novec: A smarter solution than other cooling alternatives

Cooling power electronics using Novec Engineered Fluids in an immersion cooling system offers many advantages over the alternative methods.

  • White fan icon on purple background representing air cooling.
    Novec vs. Air

    Immersion cooling offers more consistent and efficient cooling than air. This allows greater density of electronic components — critical to creating smaller power electronics.

  • White water faucet dripping icon on purple background representing water / aqeous cooling.
    Novec vs. Water

    Using water to cool power electronics and other electric devices requires significant complexity to ensure that the water doesn’t contact the electronics and create a short. Novec Engineered Fluids are dielectric and safe for contact with electronics, simplifying the system.

  • 3 white liquid droplets on purple background representing immersion cooling with oil.
    Novec vs. Oil

    The various oils sometimes used for heat transfer in immersion cooling for power electronics are all flammable at some temperature. They also leave residue. Novec Engineered Fluids are non-flammable, resulting in greater safety, and leave no residue for easier maintenance.

  • Large green tree in a green field with a clear blue sky.

    All the performance without compromise

    The Novec promise is performance without compromise. Our engineers purposefully developed Novec Engineered Fluids with worker safety and environmental sustainability in mind. These fluids feature:

    • A wide margin of worker safety and non-flammability
    • Low environmental impact, with zero ozone depletion potential (ODP) and low global warming potential (GWP), compared with conventional hydrocarbon coolants
    • Strong regulatory compliance — not scheduled for restriction or phasedown

Power electronics cooling tools and resources

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