Mar 28, 2020 - 06:31 AM
Single-phase Liquid Immersion Cooling Tanks can be made from steel, aluminum, stainless steel and acrylic, polycarbonate sheets. Our Dielectric Coolants are compatible with all of these materials.
The type of material you choose is based on your application and preference in terms of size, cost, and who will be fabricating your tank.
Steel, aluminum and stainless are great for large tanks, but you'll require a skilled welder for construction, they are heavy, and they radiate a lot heat when in operation.
Acrylic sheet is the easiest material to use for the DIY builder as it is easy to cut and to chemically weld together using solvents. You can also have TAP Plastics make tanks for you if you provide them with full schematics.
We've done a lot testing with acrylics as we build tanks and containers out of this material for testing, demonstration units, and displays units for our customers. While acrylic and polycarbonate can be used to make tanks, we find that while polycarbonate has a higher temperature rating, it is harder to bond and also scratches easily so our go to material for demo and lab tanks is always high-grade acrylic sheet. You must watch your coolant operating temperature to make sure it remains below a maximum of 70C or you could experience your tank "ballooning" as you approach the thermoset temperature (80C) of the acrylic sheet!
Another consideration for tank materials is the thermal expansion characteristics of the material you are using. Here is a good general reference calculator for materials coefficient of thermal expansion.
Note that the coefficient of thermal expansion for Extruded Acrylic Sheet is about 1.2% for a delta T of 50C, or about 1CM for each meter, this expansion can cause significant stress on the tank welds in larger tanks.
Here is a good FAQ about working with and using Acrylic Sheet.
If you are going to use acrylic or polycarbonate for large tanks, you can use the same recommendations in terms of thickness and strength that the manufacturer provides for use with water at the operating temperature you specify. Our Dielectric Coolants are 20% lighter than water, so you'll have an added safety margin in your design.