Date of Award

Spring 2019

Degree Type



Mechanical Engineering

Director of Thesis

Andrew Sabalowsky, Ph.D

Second Reader

Dale McCants, Ph.D


Ice Dragon Cooling is a company which researches thermofluids and heat transfer technologies. The company’s present research focuses on HVAC and computer applications, with an emphasis on nanofluid development. To support Ice Dragon’s mission, the company wants a product that enhances heat transfer efficiency in liquid-cooled CPU systems. The product is to be a pulse device which increases the turbulence of a liquid across a computer CPU cooling block, thereby expediting heat transfer away from the CPU.

The needs for Ice Dragon Cooling were determined based on engineering knowledge and industry consultation. After further analysis, it was determined that increasing the heat transfer rate, achieving turbulent flow, maintaining net-zero energy, preserving the original system’s pump, and ensuring durability were critical to satisfying those needs. Furthermore, it was determined that in order to satisfy the requirements, the pulse device would need to increase flow rate and Reynold’s number value, be made of a sturdy and waterproof material, and consume minimal power. It was thus determined that the project mission should be to create a CPU liquid-cooling pulse device that will increase heat transfer and efficiency within the system.

Given the above requirements, various concepts were researched and discussed, as detailed in the full report. The final selected concept to best satisfy Ice Dragon’s needs was a piston-jet combined concept. Information pertaining to concept selection and product architecture are provided.

A detailed engineering analysis is provided, displaying flow velocity, temperature, and pressure. The analysis also demonstrates how these elements lead to the generation of turbulence and inducement of heat transfer. Under the assumptions that heat in the system is generated from both the cooling block and the jets and that the flow is homogeneous, incompressible, and laminar, the tested parameters included dissipated heat from the cooling block, pressure drop from the pistons pushing water through the jets, and velocity change at jet inlets and across the microchannels.

The prototype testing process involved three separate tests, with one as a control experiment and two to assess the degree of functionality of the device. By running the original system without the pulse device, a baseline was established against which the data of the new system could be compared. The second test focused on demonstration of the pulses in relation to the flow through the device. A flowmeter monitored the flow rate for trials of varying inputted frequencies. The third test focused on the heat transfer rate across the cooling block. Thermocouples placed at the inlet and outlet of the cooling block are used to record the temperature differentials necessary to calculate the heat transfer rate.

Economic analysis of the scope of expenses associated with development of the prototype indicates that, for a $153.70 investment per presealed system, Ice Dragon Cooling will recover costs within the first month of production. Applications of this device to the server farm industry and individual consumers are suggested viable options for the company.

The Ice Dragon pulse device can and should be ameliorated in the future, with improvements including more reliable sealing, standardization of fittings, and upgraded piston functionality. Sealing of the pistons and cylinder should be improved to effectively prohibit the presence of water into the piston-cylinder mechanism and to prevent fluid losses from the circulatory system. Tube fittings at the inlets and outlets of the device can be bettered by standardization to ensure CPU cooling market consistency and availability of parts in the future. The current piston function is too slow to meet the efficiency needs of the product, but all other parts run smoothly. Therefore, the primary change to be made with respect to device functionality is in terms of the removal of resistance by the pistons. Further testing of the design is also recommended to obtain a fuller and more accurate analysis of the results.

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