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Silver Water Block

post #1 of 50
Thread Starter 
After looking over a lot of cooling discussions and thermal properties of metals, it seems that (a) liquid cooling is one of the most cost effective methods of cooling, and (b) silver has the best thermal conductivity of any metal. Having done silver casting myself, it seems that it would be fairly easy to cast a silver heatsink for a water cooling loop.

The idea is to take a negative of high performing commercially available water block, remake a mold in casting sand then add liquid silver. If you did this with an open surface and hot mold, then not only should the heatsink cast easily, but it'll also have a near perfect level contact surface.

Considering that this has many complicated issues, I was wondering about several things.
(1) Many contemporary waterblocks are completely enclosed and thus harder to separate without damage. What's an "open" heatsink with a removable cover?
(2) Different metals interact with each other differently. What radiator would be safe with such a heatsink?
(3) Heavier water blocks would add substantial cost. What's a lightweight block that performs well.

I'm thinking of using the CPU-370SA, but I'm a novice to water cooling and am unsure about it's quality.

Also, with the increased ability of silver to take on heat, would I need to increase the flow rate of the water to increase the water's ability to carry away the heat?
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post #2 of 50
Good Idea but silver is way too expensive for this idea unless you have a lot of money
post #3 of 50
It would work but casting is a terrible idea for what you are thinking of doing. You will get a terrible negative of the details inside of modern waterblocks. You are better off with milling from a blank or rough cast blank. It'a big can of worms for someone that is just getting into water cooling unless you have a bottomless wallet.

Silver plating a copper block would be your best bet if you are trying for the antimicrobial property that silver brings to water cooling loops.
Edited by animal0307 - 12/12/12 at 8:09pm
post #4 of 50
My swiftech GTZ is able to be opened, maybe use one of those? The top portion is Acetal (I think) and the bottom is copper. You could maybe get the bottom portion re made in silver pretty easily.
post #5 of 50
You could always just buy one of these.
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post #6 of 50
Thread Starter 
I understand that the cost is a huge deal. However, as I've casted before and expect to only need about 8oz, I can collect various sterling silver pieces from yard sales. You'd be surprised how quickly and cheaply you can get silver that way. Also, since I have all the casting tools at home, it's easy for me to re-cast a mistake.

As for the volume of silver, I noticed that a lot of water blocks have metal on both sides of the block, i.e., both the hose attach and CPU surface have metal. I would only need to replace the CPU side to achieve strong results; changing both might further improve performance but I expect diminishing returns.
Quote:
It would work but casting is a terrible idea for what you are thinking of doing. You will get a terrible negative of the details inside of modern waterblocks.
I was planning on using moulage to get the negative; it tends to capture details, especially if I force it into the grooves. I also planned on refining things by hand after each step. Do you think this would avoid the issues, or would a rough cast followed by machining still be required?
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post #7 of 50
Turbulence in flow will increase the heat transfer to the fluid, it also increase the pressure needed for flow and makes it more likely to get dirty so there is a trade off.
Luckily copper and silver are very close to each other in electromagnetically, Silver is 1.87 and Copper 1.85, so they wont eat each other, you can get higher end copper radiators. Aluminum is 1.613 so you might run into some problems but its unlikely. From my experience silver is pretty much inert unless you put it in strong acid or compounds with potassium in it.
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post #8 of 50
At the very minimum, I would think you'd need to machine the mating surfaces where the plate would seal against the rest of the block, and the back face where it interfaces with the chip. This will be necessary to achieve a precise fit. The internal geometry should be able to be cast. Sounds like a fun experiment.
post #9 of 50
I've looked into that too and decided that the thermal conductivity of silver is really not that much better than copper. And if you are talking .925 sterling the gap closes even more. Those charts are based on pure alloys. The formula for heat conductance is proportional to the cross section the heat has to travel through so the thinner the better. Casting (I'm a goldsmith) silver inevitably will result in a rough crystal structure and almost def. voids, cracks, flaws, etc. Pour an ingot close to the size you want, then hammer it on an anvil till it's closer to the thickness you want - that will harden it - then get it milled. -- IMHO

Sounds like fun!
post #10 of 50
You're not going to be able to do this with cast metal, you need to use forged metal. Pure silver will be too soft for this application. You need 90% or sterling. If you can simply use a hammer to forge it close to your desired thickness, the metal is going to be too soft. Since you need to alloy it, this makes no sense other than the microbial part of it, and then you could just plate it. Even if you made this work, the cost doesn't outweigh the little or zero benefit it will reap. If you're doing it purely as proof of concept, money should never be an obstacle.
 
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