Tube-Embedded Cold Plates
Tube-embedded cold plates are manufactured by press-fitting tubes into grooved plates, either partially or fully; this is called “dry bonding”. The tubes are then further machined to a specified flatness requirement to ensure good thermal contact with the heat source, and are further bonded to the cold plate by a thermal epoxy or a solder paste; this is called “wet bonding”. The tubes can be routed in a wide variety of shapes, to optimize the thermal performance of the cold plate. The working fluid moves the heat away from the cold plate to a heat exchanger, which then cools the working fluid to be pumped back into the cold plate.
This type of cold plate is the easiest to manufacture, and provides better thermal performance than most air-cooled solutions. This means that managing the thermal performance of high-power sources in small spaces is the ideal use for cold plates. The applications are varied, from medical equipment to power electronics to renewable energy, aerospace, and transportation industries. Careful thought must be given to the pressure drop across the copper tubes, to avoid leakage of the copper pipes.
Novark manufactures its tube-embedded cold plates using copper tubes and aluminum plates. The table below represents Novark’s standard manufacturing capability. Cold plate thickness is determined by required flatness specification.