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Apple looks at cooling electronic devices using airflow dividers

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Apple is always looking for ways to make its Macs run cooler. Now a company patent (number 7,764,493) for systems and methods for cooling electronic devices using airflow dividers has appeared at the US Patent & Trademark Office.

An electronic device can be provided with a heat-generating component and a cooling module for dissipating heat. In some embodiments, the cooling component may include a fan configured to produce an outflow of air, and a divider configured not only to direct a first portion of the outflow between a first surface of the divider and the heat-generating component, but also to direct a second portion of the outflow along a second surface of the divider. In other embodiments, the cooling component may include a divider and a pressure clip. A first portion of the pressure clip may be configured to exert a pressure on a first surface of the divider such that the pressure may hold a portion of a second surface of the divider in contact with the heat-generating component. The inventors are Ihab A. Ali, Dinesh Mathew, Thomas W. Wilson Jr. and Keith Hendren.

Here’s Apple’s background and summary of the invention: “As electronic components of various electronic devices (e.g., laptop computers) evolve into faster and more dynamic machines, their power requirements often consequently increase. With this increase in power consumption, an increase in power dissipation in the form of heat results. For example, in a laptop computer, chipsets and microprocessors, such as central processing units (CPUs’) and graphics processing units (GPUs), are major sources of heat. Heat dissipation is an important consideration in the design of such electronic devices. If this heat is not adequately dissipated, the electronic components may fail and/or cause damage to the electronic device. Accordingly, what is needed are systems and methods for cooling an electronic device.

“According to some embodiments of the invention, there is provided an electronic device that may include a heat-generating component, a fan configured to produce an outflow of air, and a divider. The divider may be configured to direct a first portion of the outflow of air to flow between a first surface of the divider and the heat-generating component. The divider may also be configured to direct a second portion of the outflow of air to flow along a second surface of the divider.

“According to other embodiments of the invention, there is provided an electronic device that may include a heat-generating component, a pressure clip, and a divider having a first surface facing the heat-generating component and a second surface. A portion of the pressure clip may be configured to exert a pressure on a portion of the second surface of the divider. The pressure may be configured to hold a portion of the first surface of the divider in contact with the heat-generating component.

“According to yet other embodiments of the invention, there is provided a method of cooling an electronic device having a heat-generating component and a divider with a first surface and a second surface. The method may include exerting a pressure on a portion of the second surface of the divider. The pressure may be configured to hold a portion of the first surface of the divider in contact with the heat-generating component. The method may also include directing a flow of air between the first surface of the divider and the heat-generating component.”

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