Cooling Microelectronics via Phase Change: Advanced Numerical and Analytical Modelling

Cooling microelectronics is a major challenge and all industry majors like Intel are working very hard to prolong the lives of high-speed processors by means of better cooling. We have recently secured a major project co-funded by Industry (Selex Galileo, Thermacore, Rainford precision instruments and Sustainable Energy Systems) to develop novel ways to cool microelectronic chips used in our computers and smartphones using phase change fluids (like refrigerants). Cooling chips is essential to prolong the life of the device and retain the processing speed and current cooling methods (by air) are highly inefficient. We aim to overcome scientifically challenging problems in multi-microchannel cooling and through detailed understanding of the fundamental phenomena, develop a design model and methodologies and construct a prototype microchannel cooling system.

The project involves both experiments and modelling of flow-boiling phenomena in microchannels. In addition to industry majors listed above, the project also has links with several major international partner universities. Key highlights are:

  1. Experiments at state-of-art facilities at Edinburgh (Institute for Materials and Processes, Scottish Microelectronics Centre)
  2. Access to facilities at Brunel University and the industrial partners (Selex, Thermacore, SES and Rainford Precision)
  3. Advanced flow modelling methods using latest supercomputing facilities like HECToR (UK’s national supercomputer based at Edinburgh) and Eddie (minisupercomputer - Edinburgh Data and Compute Facility)
  4. Possible secondment at one of our several international partners (University of Maryland, Shanghai Jiaotong University China, EPFL Lausanne and University College Dublin)
  5. Publication of research in scientific journals of highest repute (Langmuir, Journal of Fluid Mechanics, Journal of Heat Transfer etc) and major international conferences (American Physical Society – Division of Fluid Dynamics etc)
  6. Possibility of wider dissemination through media and science festivals and industry trade events (like those of Intel and other micro-processor manufacturers)

Further Information: 

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Principal Supervisor: 

Eligibility: 

Minimum entry qualification - an Honours degree at 2:1 or above (or International equivalent) in a relevant science or engineering discipline, possibly supported by an MSc Degree. We are looking for one PhD student for the modeling aspect of the project to interact extensively with experimentalists in the project both at Edinburgh and Brunel (along with the industrial partners). The student must have a background in chemical/mechanical engineering, or any other relevant engineering discipline with first class honours. Physicists and Mathematicians with a first class honours degree are also welcome to apply. English Language requirements for EU/Overseas applicants.

Funding: 

Full funding (fees + stipend) is available for UK students, and EU students who meet the EPSRC eligibility requirements: http://www.epsrc.ac.uk/skills/students/help/Pages/eligibility.aspx Further information and other funding options.

Informal Enquiries: