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Companies meeting June 2-4 to collaborate on new technologies

A group of major high-tech companies, some of which are in competition with each other, will meet June 2-4 at Purdue University as part of an ongoing collaboration to develop new technologies.

Although the meeting is not open to the public, you will be able to gain access to many of the sessions or learn more about the meeting by calling Suresh Garimella. Feel free also to inquire with the other sources listed below.

The companies, members of the Cooling Technologies Research Center at Purdue, are pooling their resources to help defray research and development costs. Purdue faculty submit research proposals to address the industry needs, and the center's industry members vote democratically to rate the proposals. Purdue researchers then work on projects that receive the highest ratings.

This collaborative effort started in 1999 when the industry members joined together in a consortium. Starting in June, the consortium will be designated a National Science Foundation Industry/University Cooperative Research Center. Next week's meeting will be the first as an NSF center.

"Each company does not choose an individual project, which is one of the unusual things about the center," said Suresh Garimella, a professor of mechanical engineering who founded and heads the center. "Instead, the projects are chosen collectively. This way, every member has a vested interest in all the projects we are doing."

The consortium is funded by private industry, the National Science Foundation and Purdue. Its 10 current members include Nokia Research Center, Intel Corp., Delphi Delco Electronics Systems, Apple Computer, Sandia National Labs and General Electric Co.

"There is quite a diversity of members but they all have similar problems in thermal management, which is the cooling of hot electronics," Garimella said.

"Each member pays a fee and then they essentially identify their research needs and we propose solutions to their problems."

It is important to cool electronic circuits because heat reduces performance and can even destroy the delicate circuitry. A major obstacle to making smaller electronic devices is the need to remove heat from small spaces, Garimella said.

Researchers at the center are working on technologies that could have a variety of applications, from electronics and computers to telecommunications and advanced aircraft. Examples of the technologies being studied are minuscule "heat pipes" that cool electronics with internally circulating fluid, chips that cool electronic components by using "microchannels" as small as the width of a human hair, innovative types of tiny fans and "phase change" materials that turn from solid to liquid as they absorb heat.

CONTACTS: Suresh Garimella, (765) 494-5621,

Alexander Schwarzkopf, National Science Foundation, (703) 292-8383,

Neil Gollhardt, Rockwell Automation, (414) 382-4098,

Related releases about this center and research can be found here:
Miniature cooling technologies focus of Purdue-industry center
Engineers create tiny, wiggling fans to cool future electronics