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Communications of the ACM


Immersion Cooling Heats Up

splash of water

Credit: Getty Images

Datacenters are both the heroes and villains of the digital age. On one hand, these facilities power the technologies that increasingly run our world. On the other hand, datacenters devour enormous amounts of energy and face growing opposition in many communities. As the world careens deeper into climate crises, finding ways to reduce power consumption is nothing less than critical.

One idea that has lurked in the background for decades is using special fluids to directly or indirectly cool computing devices and other electronic systems. While the concept may seem shocking, dielectric liquids and immersion cooling methods have come of age. These technologies, which already are making inroads in high-performance computing and cryptocurrency mining circles, bathe electronic components in a dielectric (nonconductive) liquid or coolant with strong insulation properties. The circulation of the fluid draws off heat as it comes into contact with the electronics.


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