The coating ensures that electronics stay cool when sweating, Mammals sweat to regulate body temperature, and researchers are testing whether our cellphones can do the same thing.

The authors present an electronic coating that releases water to remove heat from work equipment. This new thermal management method can prevent electronics from overheating and keep it cool from the previous strategy, and now the researchers found coating ensures that electronics stay cool when sweating.

Without an efficient cooling system, our phones can damage the system and burn our hands if we use it for a long time or load large applications.

Larger devices, such as computers, use fans to regulate temperature. However, the fan is big, loud, and consumes power so it’s not suitable for smaller devices like cell phones. Manufacturers use phase change ingredients (PCM) such as wax and fatty acids to cool cell phones.

These materials can absorb heat generated by the device during thawing. However, the total energy exchange during the solid-liquid transition is relatively low. Conversely, the liquid-vapor water transition can exchange ten times the energy compared to the solid-liquid PCM transition. Inspired by the mammalian sweat mechanism,  team studied a group of porous materials that can absorb water vapor from the air and release steam when heated.

Among these, the most promising are metal organic skeletons (MOFs), because they store large amounts of water and can therefore absorb more heat when heated.

The team chose a type of MOF called MIL-101 (Cr) for the experiment because of good water absorption and sensitivity to temperature changes.

They covered three 16 square inch aluminum sheets with MIL-101 (Cr) with different thicknesses of 198, 313 and 516 micrometers and heated them on the stove.

The team found that the MIL-101Cr coating was able to slow the rise in sheet temperature and its effect increased with the thickness of the coating. While the exposed film reaches 60 ° C in 5.2 minutes, the thinnest layer doubles the time and does not reach the same temperature in 11.7 minutes. The thickest sheet reaches 60 ° C after heating for 19.35 minutes.

To investigate the cooling effect of MIL-101 (Cr) on real devices, Wang and his team tested coolers coated with a microcomputer. Compared to uncovered coolers, the coating reduces the chip temperature to 7 ° C when the device is operated at high load for 15 minutes.

Incorporation of heat-conducting additives such as graphene into the material can help solve problems. Before the manufacturer installed this cooling system on our cellphones, cost was a big problem, according to researchers. We hope that by seeking MF for practical use, we will increase market demand and promote more MF research to reduce costs.