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Alcohol Coolant

Has anybody tried using alcohol in their liquid cooled machines? Alcohol , being readily available, has a below zero freezing point that just might make it a bit cooler. Be careful of fire and watch for leakage. Have fun.
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  1. What kind of alcohol are you talking about? Ethanol? Iso-Propyl? Anyway, though it may have a freezing point below zero, it does not have a high specific heat which means that it takes very little energy (heat) to raise it one degree celsius. Therefore, it heats up very fasts and can't take all the heat energy that the processor creates. Water has the highest specific heat of all liquids (at room tempreture). It can take up a lot more heat than alcohol. I've asked this question before so you're welcome to search for my old post. (just click on my name, and it should be titled "weird water cooling question") Hope this helps some.

    Putting the laughter back in to Slaughter.
  2. Heh, you might be wrong :)
    As you know Beer heats much faster than water ;), so could you try using beer as a product :))
    Hehe...
    I think that destilated water is the best because it doesn't have any dirt and microrganisms so there is no chance of spreading fungus in the canister.
    Nevertheless you should change canister at least 2times a year.

    ______________________________________________
    My case temperature <b>IS</b> "Hell on earth"!
  3. yeah Thanks sisko. I forgot to mention that you should use distilled water because regular water has ions in it which cause corrosion on your heat sinks. Also, maybe someone could refresh my memory, but isn't it a bad idea to mix copper and aluminum water blocks?

    Putting the laughter back in to Slaughter.
  4. You are probably right about water being better because of the higher specific heat - however, realize that a lower specific heat also means that it is easier to cool down. It is the classic argument between aluminum and copper for heatsinks. My guess is that alcohol would need a much higher flow rate than water to perform the same - but whether or not, by adjusting the flow rate, you could get alcohol to perform better than water I don't know. <shrug> for what it's worth...

    oh yeah, and if you could get them to perform the same - I would use alocohol over water, since it is non-conductive and does not cause corrosion. Though it has a lower viscoscity, so "water" pumps may not like it - I really don't know.
    <P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by Drewlee77 on 03/06/02 10:54 PM.</EM></FONT></P>
  5. plus, water wont burn....hehe...which is always a plus...
    but maybe if you get one of those 770gph pumps, it could work...
    you would also have to figure out the correct ammount of time for alchohol to sit there and absorb heat from the core...because if it moves too fast, it wont absorb the heat.

    -DAvid

    -Live, Learn, then build your own computer!-
  6. Make an evaporative cooler using your favorate hard liquor!

    What's the frequency, Kenneth?
  7. True, water won't burn - but I would be more worried about the water somehow getting on parts and shorting than I would alcohol reaching a high enough temp to ignite. As to moving too fast - that's not the issue. The faster the liquid moved the quicker it would take heat away. But it reminded me of something else. I don't remember what the term for it is (maybe this is it...I dunno) but basically "heat conductivity" Specific heat has to do with how much heat it can hold, but concrete has a VERY high specific heat, but it doens't make a good heatsink - why? because it can't move heat from one place to another quickly, it can't absorb heat well. That's why some argue that copper makes a better heatsink - it can absorb heat and move heat a little better than aluminum. Anyone know what measurement that is or how alcohol compares to water in that regard?
  8. The only reason alcohol cools better that water is that fact that it has a low vapor pressure. All it needs is a little bit of heat to pop off one molecule of alcohol. The low surface tension allows for a whole lot of molecules to break off. However, since we are in a closed system (i'm gonna guess this system will use pumps and hoses), there is no place for those molecules to go because there shouldn't be any air in the system. Also, the thermal conductivity of distilled water still beats pure alcohol. HOWEVER, a methanol-water mixture works better than pure water. Also it all comes down to what kind of alcohol you are talking about. There is a gigantic post at www.overclockers.com's forums that deal w/ different coolants. Pretty much all i've said is here:
    http://forum.oc-forums.com/vb/showthread.php?s=6b2e9f4bb02488fd724ee9a1acbaa424&threadid=39039

    Sorry; i can't do html hyperlinks.

    Putting the laughter back in to Slaughter.
  9. Specific heat capacity is the quantity of heat required to raise the temperature of a mass of a substance by a unit change in temperature. Therefore, if material A has a specific heat twice that of B, then it will take twice as much energy to heat A by 1 degree then B by 1 degree.

    E=m*Cp*(T2 - T1)

    Thermal conductivity is the is the quantity of heat transmitted due to a temperature gradient. Two objects of the same thickness and surface temperatures, the one with the higher thermal conductivity will dispate the most heat.

    Q=k*(T2-T1)/(x2-x1)

    Copper has a thermal conductivity of around 400 W/mK and a specific heat of 385 J/kgK. Aluminum is 237 and 897 respectively.

    Sorry for the thermal dynamics lesson...

    Oh ya, de-ionized water is an electric insulator... its the extra stuff in regular water (minerals, etc...) that make water conductive... but I still wouldn't bet my life to say that de-ionized water is 100% risk free...
  10. Both of you make alot of sense. You learn something new everyday! Although I sure thought that Al had a lower specific heat than copper. But if you're sure of your numbers I'll buy it - I haven't done alot of research on this stuff and it's been years since my high school physics class...
  11. After looking at posts concerning the Cool Project, an old idea came to mind. When I was a security guard many years ago I was really bored and calculated the cal/cc. Is there a chart out there with this information. Simple to make - density is g/cc and heat capacity is cal/g. Copper and iron had the highest cal/cc for elements. With the limited space in computers copper is the only choice when you consider amount of heat copper transmits per sec. Just a thought. Take care.
  12. What about Mercury? Other then being toxic, how would it work as a coolant?

    Never have I seen so many great minds bent on such small a task.
  13. C'mon guys, just don't try using liquid plutonium.
    Water! :)


    ______________________________________________
    My case temperature <b>IS</b> "Hell on earth"!
  14. Its too bad plutonium isn't a liquid at room temperature....

    Never have I seen so many great minds bent on such small a task.
  15. Thermal conductivity and electrical conductivity generally go hand-in-hand... so if you got the money, a gold heat sink would rule!!!
  16. The best cooler would use a refridgeration cycle. This would cost significantly more to build then a water cooler, but it would work amazing.

    Check this out if your interested in the basics http://filebox.vt.edu/eng/mech/scott/ref.html
  17. i dont know how good a diamond will conduct electricity...but that is supposed to be better, but carbon itself is even better...but i know that you said generally...but i wanted to point it out...hehe...


    -DAvid

    -Live, Learn, then build your own computer!-
  18. Ya, when I said "generally" i should have said "generally metals"... its all about the ease of metals being able to pass electrons back and forth between molecules... oh, and they have to be pure, such as copper or aluminum because when you add alloys, it increases your resistences (thermal and electric)

    i dont know that much about non-metallic compounds such as carbon when it comes to this sort of thing... they're totally different molecular structures...
  19. i dont know...some times it might lower the resistance if you make a certain alloy...couldnt it?
    but i know that gold with impurities in it will not work at its full potential.

    -DAvid

    -Live, Learn, then build your own computer!-
  20. Mercury cooling is not the best thing because A: its expensive; B: It's Heavy ;C: It's poisonous and D: It isn't that good of a heat conductor but it is a pretty good electrical conductor so this isn't really an option.

    Putting the laughter back in to Slaughter.
  21. you could use it as alcohol has a boiling point of 173.1 F and water 212 f boiling point respectively water has a freezing point of 32 f! which is not very good!!! alcohol on the other hand has a freezing point at -173.5 F !!!!! you can actually use alcohol as an antifreeze with water and will be non flammable below 100proof (50%) which freezes at -25 F so depending on your system this will expand your cooling capabilities! so if you are trying not to have a flammable fluid in your computer you now know where you can hold it at! :D I should cover that in Chemistry we separate alcohol from water by fractional distillation. which means it's boiling point (or in your case pressure point) is still the same (173.5 f) so you will need to make a good cooling system for your system I am thinking a refrigerated cooling for your fluid is in mind (or there is no sense in this here) also you should keep in mind of making it more thermally conductive (sorry but not sharing these secrets here yet:) I hope this helps you could use small nano copper/silver particles here ( have a better few in mind ;) suspended in your solution. point being is yes you could use alcohol with great results over just water if you know what your doing, with a goal in mind! God Bless have a great day!
  22. Josephisblessed said:
    you could use it as alcohol has a boiling point of 173.1 F and water 212 f boiling point respectively water has a freezing point of 32 f! which is not very good!!! alcohol on the other hand has a freezing point at -173.5 F !!!!! you can actually use alcohol as an antifreeze with water and will be non flammable below 100proof (50%) which freezes at -25 F so depending on your system this will expand your cooling capabilities! so if you are trying not to have a flammable fluid in your computer you now know where you can hold it at! :D I should cover that in Chemistry we separate alcohol from water by fractional distillation. which means it's boiling point (or in your case pressure point) is still the same (173.5 f) so you will need to make a good cooling system for your system I am thinking a refrigerated cooling for your fluid is in mind (or there is no sense in this here) also you should keep in mind of making it more thermally conductive (sorry but not sharing these secrets here yet:) I hope this helps you could use small nano copper/silver particles here ( have a better few in mind ;) suspended in your solution. point being is yes you could use alcohol with great results over just water if you know what your doing, with a goal in mind! God Bless have a great day!


    I would really hope that the original poster decided on his cooling solution at some point in the intervening 15 years since he asked the question.
  23. also if you don't realize this some times it's more important to have the middle ground accept the temperature the other hes to transfer if you do not understand what I mean take a glass of beer or whisky and refrigerate it in your freezer for a few hours then pull it out and see the frost line develop at the alcohol level the glass becomes the conductor your fluid can only cool as well as your heat-sink is able to make that thermal exchange!! so dont let any one stop you from experimenting!!!
  24. DSzymborski true I would hope so as well but for any one else this answer is given at this point ;)
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