Back in February we posted a report about Google eying the desktop market. In that report we pointed to the Android OS being the one being aimed at the desktop market. We didn't err on that point because that's what the patent application stated – Android, not Chrome. In late May, Google's vice president of engineering Linus Upson has told TechRadar that the company expects a slow convergence with the Android mobile operating system and Chrome OS. So what's next from Google on this front? Well, it now appears that Google is interested in a new cooling system for future blade servers. While it sounds a little off-the-wall, there it is in black and white and published by the US Patent and Trademark Office. One of the noted inventors listed on this patent application is Michael Lau, a mechanical engineer at Google. So it's not a patent that they've acquired but rather one that they invented in-house. At the end of the day, Google's plans for the PC sector may be larger than any of us ever thought.
Blade Servers Retrofit with Thermal Transfer System
Google's invention relates to systems and methods for providing cooling for electronic equipment and, more particularly, to systems and methods for cooling electronic devices on server racks in computer data centers.
In Google's patent FIG. 1 we're able to see a server rack and an example server rack assembly configured to mount within the rack, including one or more heat generating devices. For example, in some implementations, the server rack assembly 110 may be a "tray" or tray assembly that could be slidingly inserted into the server rack 105. Google at one point in the patent application refers to this tray as a possible "blade" server.
Google goes on to state that alternatively – the server rack assembly may be a hard drive cage, a server chassis or server container (e.g., server box).
Furthermore, a particular server rack assembly may be retrofit with a sub-assembly including a thermal transfer system replacing an existing sub-assembly that didn't include a thermal transfer system. Accordingly, the retrofitted server rack assembly may be able to address problems associated with heat generated by the computing devices on the sub-assembly better than a more conventional server rack assembly/sub-assembly combination.
Server Rack Sub-Assembly Including a Thermal Transfer System
Google provides us with an example implementation of a server rack sub-assembly 300 including a thermal transfer system in patent FIG. 3 below. For the sake of convenience, we've highlighted certain numbered points illustrated on patent FIG. 3 that match points made in the descriptions noted below.
The server rack sub-assembly has a heat sink 320 mounted to the motherboard 305 via one or more retainers 325. The heat sink, as illustrated, includes a planar portion on which multiple fins 327 are integrally mounted thereon.
The Thermal Transfer System's Thermal Mesh
In the illustrated implementation of Google's patent FIG. 3, the wings 335 may be in the form of thermally conductive strips of material (e.g., aluminum and/or copper) that are adhered to or integral with the thermal mesh 330. In the forms of strips, the wings may have greater flexibility and thus, a greater spring force.
As shown in patent FIG. 4 above, the thermal mesh may include a curvature such that edges of the mesh from which the wings extend curve upward. In such implementations, when the wings are constrained by the lips 311 of the brackets 310, a downwardly directed force may be applied to the wings. When such force, F, is applied, the thermal mesh may be urged downward to create more physical contact between the mesh and the planar portion of the heat sink. Further, in some implementations, the thermal mesh may also have a slight interference fit with the heat sink in order to increase a contact force between the fins and the mesh.
A View of an Alternative Implementation
Google's patent FIGS. 2A-2C illustrate top and bottom views of an alternative implementation of a server rack sub-assembly 200 including a thermal transfer system.
Google's patent application was originally filed in December 2010 and published by the US Patent and Trademark Office in Q2 2012.
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