Xiaomi's Loop LiquidCool Tech Aims To Double The Chill Of Regular Vapor Chambers

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Ever since their introduction in the PC market during the mid-1990s, heat pipes have been a central fixture in the cooling of hot computer processors. Whether in the form of actual 'pipes' or as a planar heat spreader—more commonly known as a 'vapor chamber'—you probably have at least one in the device you're reading this on right now.

The use of heat pipes to remove heat from processors became a necessity as thermal design power specs crept ever upward, just as they continue to do even now. That's true not just in desktops and laptops, but also in more mobile devices, like smartphones. Removing heat from the system-on-a-chip in such a device can be a bigger challenge than supplying power to it, owing to limited surface area in thin and light devices.

The idea of using heat pipes and vapor chambers in smartphones isn't novel in and of itself, but Xiaomi thinks it has a trick up its sleeve with its new "Loop LiquidCool" vapor chamber tech. Rather than using a single chamber where liquid and vapor can intermingle, the Loop LiquidCool system is more like a traditional liquid cooler, with a circular design that separates hot vapor from cool fluid.

The key to making this work without having mechanical pumps is apparently the implementation of a Tesla valve structure in the refill chamber. First conceptualized by Nikola Tesla over a century ago, the Tesla Valve is a specific geometric shape that allows the free flow of fluids in only a single direction. This forces the loop to circulate in a specific direction without needing any moving parts.

Supposedly, this design offers as much as double the cooling efficiency of a standard planar vapor chamber. Xiaomi claims that after retrofitting one of its MIX 4 phones with the new Loop LiquidCool system, the device's SoC remained under 48°C even after a half-hour of playing popular open-world 3D mobile game Genshin Impact. The company says that's an 8.6°C improvement over the temperature with the device's original vapor chamber.

Even though it's still in the testing phase, Xiaomi says it won't be that long before this concept finds its way into its phones. The Chinese firm expects to implement Loop LiquidCool tech in its phones by this time next year.