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Airflow Optimization for Electronics Cooling

The leading software for airflow optimization — from chip packaging to data centers

Mentor Graphics’ thermal design software can help you optimize airflow well in advance of concept commitment and significantly reduce the number of late stage design changes.

You can optimize airflow in and around electronics regardless of project size: a 50,000 square foot data center, a high-powered board placed inside a computer, or any other electronics device.

19 of the top 20 electronics companies around the world use Mentor’s mechanical thermal simulation software tools, including FloTHERM, FloVENT, and FloEFD. Plus, well over half of the top 300 companies in the electronics sector are our customers.

Simulation Benefits for Airflow Optimization

  • Optimize airflow prior to building prototypes to reduce thermal problems, shorten design time and save resources
  • Understand the thermal behavior of designs with powerful visualization tools
  • Simulate placement of fan, heatsink or CRAC for specific electronics cooling applications

Application Examples

Philips Creates the First "Virtually Silent" Multimedia Projector

FloTHERM thermal management software from Mentor Graphics received acclaim from Philips Creative Display Solutions for the major role it played in the development of the Hopper SV10. The SV10 is the first virtually silent multimedia projector of its kind, designed for front projection presentations in small meeting rooms, where noisy cooling fans are the norm.

Using FloTHERM to determine the airflow, heat transfer and temperatures within the projector, Philips Engineers were able to optimize the location of critical components. FloTHERM also helped them create the Philips Air System (PAS), which is designed to offer "the coolest layout possible."

They placed the lamp - the component dissipating the most heat - at the end of the airflow chain, so that the hottest air was blown straight out of the unit and not over the PCBs, etc. A microprocessor, designed to continually read the signals generated by the temperature and flow sensors, was then installed to control the speed of the fans accordingly. The correct volume of cooling air could thus be delivered exactly when and where it was required.

Thanks to this new layout, the fan noise which can often be a major distraction to listeners, is virtually undetectable. It operates at just 33dB(A), which is comparable to a human whisper - four times lower than its closest competitor.

AEG Designs Cool Power Tools Faster

“By using FloEFD we are able to further tweak our designs to reach an improved design much faster than previously possible. On a recent project, we reached our goal for improved airflow with the very first prototype. On another project we were able to get the engine running 15% cooler than previously thought possible and we achieved the improvement much faster than before.”

Markus Wörner, Design Engineer, AEG

Silicon Graphics Keep Its Supercomputer Cool

Silicon Graphics SGI® Altix® 3700 Bx2 supercomputer supports 64 Intel® Itanium® processors per rack. The Bx2 includes a new NUMAlink™ 4 Router ASIC, that doubles the flow of information between processors with latency under 1 microsecond. The Bx2 dissipates up to 1000 watts of power within each 28 x 17.5 x 7 inch brick, or modular physical packaging unit.

SGI engineer Rick Salmonson built models of the brick, three high performance axial fans, and the electronic components, which are lined up edge-on to the fan to improve airflow.

For the processor and the router ASICs, Salmonson simulated different designs of heatsinks in software before a prototype of the bricks had been built and determined the ideal design for each component. He found that a 49 mm tall solid copper heatsink worked perfectly for the processors, while a 41 mm aluminum heatsink was just right for the ASICs.

Improving Server Rack Efficiency Saves Energy in Data Center

“The simulation results demonstrated that placing blanking panels at various locations within the cabinet, covering the front cabinet door, and rearranging the plastic inserts in the back made it possible to disconnect the rack fan tray while reducing all server inlet temperatures below existing values. In addition to the fan tray, the total cooling airflow volumes in the data center may be reduced, since with the rack modifications the servers are cooled directly from the raised floor, and mixing with hot air above the floor is avoided.

“The potential computer room air-handler fan energy savings is significant, since the racks are used in large numbers in some of our client’s data centers.”

Michael Schwarz, Mechanical Engineer and Associate, KlingStubbins

Airflow Optimization Solutions

In use by 75 of the top 100 electronics companies in the world, FloTHERM® is a powerful 3D computational fluid dynamics software that predicts airflow and heat transfer in and around electronic equipment,... FloTHERM®

Embedded into major MCAD systems Concurrent CFD software FloEFD is a full-featured 3D fluid flow and heat transfer analysis package to help Design Engineers optimize product design and speed up their workflow.... FloEFD™

FloTHERM XT is an industry unique thermal simulation solution designed to be used during all stages of the electronics design process – from conceptual design to manufacturing, improving product quality,... FloTHERM® XT

FloVENT® is a powerful Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) software that predicts 3D airflow, heat transfer, contamination distribution and comfort indices in and around buildings of all types and sizes;... FloVENT®

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