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Hot Spot Cooling and Harvesting CPU Waste Heat Using Thermoelectric Modules

[+] Author Affiliations
Soochan Lee, Patrick E. Phelan, Carole-Jean Wu

Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ

Paper No. IMECE2014-36629, pp. V010T13A082; 10 pages
  • ASME 2014 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition
  • Volume 10: Micro- and Nano-Systems Engineering and Packaging
  • Montreal, Quebec, Canada, November 14–20, 2014
  • Conference Sponsors: ASME
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-4959-0
  • Copyright © 2014 by ASME


The increasing integration of high performance processors and dense circuits in current computing devices has produced high heat flux in localized areas (hot spots) that limits their performance and reliability. To control the hot spots on a CPU, many researchers have focused on active cooling methods such as thermoelectric coolers (TECs) to avoid thermal emergencies. This paper presents the optimized thermoelectric modules on top of the CPU combined with a conventional air-cooling device to reduce the hot spot temperature and at the same time harvest waste heat energy generated by the CPU. To control the temperature of the hot spots, we attach small-sized TECs to the CPU and use thermoelectric generators (TEGs) placed on the rest of the CPU to convert waste heat energy into electricity. This study investigates design alternatives with an analytical model considering the non-uniform temperature distribution based on two-node thermal networks. The results indicate that we are able to attain more energy from the TEGs than energy consumption for running the TECs. In other words, we can allow the harvested heat energy to be reused to power other components and reduce hot spots simultaneously. Overall, the idea of simultaneous hot spot cooling and waste heat harvesting using thermoelectric modules on a CPU is a promising method to control the problem of heat generation and to reduce energy consumption in a computing device.

Copyright © 2014 by ASME
Topics: Cooling , Waste heat



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