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Passive enclosure cooling cuts remote electronics costs

18 September, 2008

A Canadian company, Intertec, has developed a passively cooled enclosure that uses a novel phase-change material (PCM) to keep the temperature of electronics equipment up to 10įC lower than peak ambient levels. The technology needs no power supply and can be used to keep remotely located instruments, such as transmitters and process analysers, cool.

PCMs provide cooling by absorbing and storing energy that changes their state from solid to liquid as temperatures rise during the day. This energy is released when the PCM re-solidifies during cooler periods, making it ideal for use at sites with low night-time temperatures. The PCM has a phase change temperature of 34įC.

Intertec enclosure

Intertecís first PCM enclosure (above) provides around 25 litres of usable space for equipment, and will dissipate up to 10W of heat. There are no fans or vents, so the enclosure`s protection against dust and water is not affected.

The phase-change material is located at the back of the enclosure, behind a mounting panel to which the electronics equipment is attached with a large contact area.

"Protecting sensitive electronics equipment against very high temperatures has traditionally been an expensive exercise, especially if the application also demands explosion-proof protection, or involves a location that is not served by an electricity infrastructure," says Martin Hess of Intertec. "This new type of passive enclosure gives remote equipment developers a valuable new option, providing a very simple and cost-effective means of protecting smaller-scale electronics equipment in environments with temperature swings."

The passive cooling system is priced at under $1,500 and costs nothing to run, with no regular maintenance requirements. It also avoids the costs of conventional cooling systems such as air conditioning or vortex coolers, as well as the need for power supplies for pumps and compressors.

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