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The Xperia Z2 has liquid heat-pipe cooling technology

Posted: , by Luis D.

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The Xperia Z2 has liquid heat-pipe cooling technology

A DigiTimes report revealed that Sony is the second smartphone vendor to adopt liquid heat-pipe cooling technology for its products, namely the Xperia Z2. The first company to move on from the mainstream graphite carbon fiber solution used for heat dissipation was Japan's NEC, with its MediaS X06E Snapdragon 600-powered smartphone. Around that time, Samsung and Lenovo were also looking up the technology together with Taiwan-based thermal module makers. While specialized heat pipes for smartphones are already available for mass production, the two technological giants decided against adopting them for the time being.


Compared to PC and laptop heat-pipes, which range from 0.003 inches (0.8mm) to 0.08 inches (2mm) in diameter, smartphone pipes measure only 0.02 inches (0.6mm). They are said to have better heat-dissipation effects than graphite carbon fiber sheets. Although cooling technology doesn't seem to be an obstacle for device performance right now, heat pipes could become common in next year's flagship models. It goes without saying that, as chipsets and basebands grow increasingly powerful, they will be emitting larger amounts of heat.


The Sony Xperia Z2 was delayed until June in Hong Kong and other markets. Meanwhile, it is speculated that Verizon will launch the smartphone in the US as an exclusive in the second half of 2014. Over at the UK, it seems the new Xperia flagship won't be coming in May, as previously reported. Allegedly, it's not the heat-pipes, but a shortage of specific parts that contributed to the postponement. The smartphone was revealed at this year's MWC in Barcelona, and was supposed to arrive on time to spar with Samsung and HTC's new contenders.


Update: Ironically enough, it's possible that overheating and build problems with the Xperia Z2 have contributed to its delayed release in broader markets. Users in Singapore, where the smartphone has been selling for about a week, reported that the Z2 is overheating while recording 4K-video, to an extent where the camera app gets shut down. In addition, owners have found a small gap between the phone's display and body, which could compromise the phone's waterproofing. Both issues are being investigated by Sony at the moment.


Meanwhile, here's more about how each cooling method works. This information is brought to you by Panasonic and CoolerMaster.


Carbon fiber sheets:


You can hold a smartphone without feeling it hot, because the circuits inside the smartphone are covered with special thermal diffusion sheets. These thermal diffusion sheets, the primary component of which is carbon, have excellent thermal diffusion characteristics -- much better than those of copper, which has high thermal diffusion characteristics and has been used for radiating heat.


This sheet is only several 10 μm thick. It looks like a single sheet, but actually consists of several tens of thousands of layers of highly conductive carbon crystal membranes. The carbon in each membrane is closely bonded with each other in a plane. The membranes convert heat into vibration energy and very quickly diffuse it.


As a result, when a carbon crystal membrane is heated, it diffuses the heat very quickly. Therefore, a graphite sheet made of carbon crystal membranes thoroughly diffuses and radiates heat even if its thickness is several 10 μm.


Heat-pipe cooling:


Heat pipes are hollow metal pipes filled with a liquid coolant that moves heat by evaporating and condensing in an endless cycle. As the lower end of the Heatpipe is exposed to heat, the coolant within it starts to evaporate, absorbing heat. As the coolant turns into vapor, it, and its heatload, convect within the heatpipe.


The reduced molecular density forces the vaporized coolant upwards, where it is exposed to the cold end of the Heat pipe. The coolant then condenses back into a liquid state, releasing the latent heat. Since the rate of condensation increases with increased delta temperatures between the vapor and Heat pipe surface, the gaseous coolant automatically streams towards the coldest spot within the Heat pipe.


As the coolant condenses, and its molecular density increases once more, gravitational forces pull the coolant towards the lower end of the Heat pipe. To aid this coolant cycle, improve its performance, and make it less dependant on the orientation of the Heat pipe towards earth gravitational center, modern Heatpipes feature inner walls with a fine, capillary structure. The capillary surfaces within the Heatpipe break the coolants surface tension, distributing it evenly throughout the structure.


As soon as coolant evaporates on one end, the coolants surface tension automatically pulls in fresh coolant from the surrounding area. As a result of the self organizing streams of the coolant in both phases, heat is actively convecting through Heat pipes throughout the entire coolant cycle, at a rate unmatched by solid Heat spreaders and Heat sinks.


References: "The Wonder of Smartphones That Do Not Become Hot" and CoolerMaster's ODM website


source: DigiTimes, Xperia Blog

28 Comments
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posted on 09 Apr 2014, 03:42 11

1. MacWiNux (Posts: 74; Member since: 07 Jan 2014)


Good for Sony I think the others should follow as well :D

posted on 09 Apr 2014, 06:50

18. hung2900 (Posts: 821; Member since: 02 Mar 2012)


The copper cooling in HTC One and GS5 is more than enough.

posted on 09 Apr 2014, 03:48

3. TheMeaTree (Posts: 8; Member since: 20 Mar 2014)


i am so disappointed with sony, not because they have made a bad phone but quite the opposite i have stuck with the same old LG Town C300 for 3 years but this phone is simply the best one on the market so far and it WAS going to be the one to break my fast.
With this 6 month period between there flagships im just going to get a Nokia 1520 or just wait for the next one in 4 months.:( speaking of which will they be releasing Z3 6 months from the announcement date or the actual release date?

posted on 09 Apr 2014, 22:36

28. guzza (Posts: 15; Member since: 06 Nov 2012)


If they are postponing the Z2's delivery dates, I think its safe to say they will be do the same for Z3 in order to ensure enough sales cover the developmental & marketing costs for the Z2.

posted on 09 Apr 2014, 03:56 2

4. pwnarena (Posts: 976; Member since: 15 Feb 2013)


ironically, this is being reported while news of z2 having heat issues is doing the rounds elsewhere.

posted on 09 Apr 2014, 04:13 1

7. spiderpig2894 (Posts: 444; Member since: 10 Jan 2012)


Heating issues when prolong use of 4K capture PLUS the "glass-aluminum gap" issue which might compromise the waterproofing.

posted on 09 Apr 2014, 05:01 1

11. luis.d (Posts: 209; Member since: 04 Dec 2013)


Thanks for the tip guys, we updated the article.

posted on 09 Apr 2014, 07:03

20. jaytai0106 (Posts: 1462; Member since: 30 Mar 2011)


I haven't used the 4K recording on my Z2 yet... Now I really don't want to use it XD

posted on 09 Apr 2014, 08:01 1

24. jeeta444 (Posts: 135; Member since: 24 Mar 2014)


Z2 overheats when shooting 4K video for extended periods.because 4k put high demands on CPU and battery...

posted on 09 Apr 2014, 12:41

27. PunyPoop (Posts: 741; Member since: 18 Jan 2013)


Never had a problem shooting 4K video with my Z2. Maybe it's an isolated case. Or I'm one of the luckiest guy :)

posted on 09 Apr 2014, 04:00

5. marlboro (Posts: 94; Member since: 27 Mar 2014)


z2 compact...

posted on 09 Apr 2014, 04:03

6. StraightEdgeNexus (Posts: 3617; Member since: 14 Feb 2014)


Whats the image about luis d. That black slab

posted on 09 Apr 2014, 07:22

22. mixedfish (Posts: 204; Member since: 17 Nov 2013)


LOL, it's a picture of Sony's portable charger/memory card reader for Xperia phones.

posted on 09 Apr 2014, 04:41 1

9. 1701nino (unregistered)


Why do people feel the need to change their devices every year or so,i have a nexus 4 and i'm not planning to change the device,why should i?My point is that technology in mobile devices has so advanced in the last years that there is no need to change your device at least 2-3 years.

posted on 09 Apr 2014, 05:10 2

13. AliNSiddiqui (Posts: 382; Member since: 19 Sep 2012)


Because some people are technology enthusiasts and love the latest and greatest. If you wanted waterproof abilities, you'd have to buy a new phone. Although there is less reason to buy a new WP or a new iPhone every year because they are just one OEM who don't make many changes.. (Nokia especially).

posted on 09 Apr 2014, 05:52 3

17. RuiBacelar (Posts: 146; Member since: 25 Feb 2014)


Well, I can relate to some extent, I have a Z1 and no complains about it, quiet the contrary, I love it all around, except maybe the display...but that's a minor thing.

I might get a Z2 in a couple of months, when I find a good deal, trading my Z1 for Z2 and 100€ tops, thus I get the new goodies before my previous phone depreciates its value.

People, think, feel and experiment before buying what companies put in front of your eyes!

I've seen, touched, experienced the S5 in my local store, priced at 750€, pastic touch, the corners wil get scratched and paint (chrome) will come of, it has an nice vibrant screen but if you want some bat life you have to cut it down.

I'm waiting to touch, see and feel the M8 and then the Z2, but M8 camera has killed it for me.

posted on 09 Apr 2014, 05:41

15. KillerKeyboard (Posts: 307; Member since: 21 Nov 2013)


We want to experience or try the latest, a hobby if I might say.
We all have leisures that we spend on.
This doesn't really mean it's a necessity. :)

posted on 09 Apr 2014, 05:47 4

16. itsdeepak4u2000 (Posts: 2866; Member since: 03 Nov 2012)


Brilliant technology.

posted on 09 Apr 2014, 06:59

19. Killua (Posts: 270; Member since: 25 Nov 2013)


Wait what? They still got overheat even after using this tech? Makes us wonder about the point of this all ..

Let's hope the issues get solved quickly, so I can buy one of them.

posted on 09 Apr 2014, 07:06 1

21. antonioli (Posts: 188; Member since: 08 Sep 2013)


Are they using this solution because of the overheating?

posted on 09 Apr 2014, 07:52

23. vishalaestro (Posts: 60; Member since: 08 Dec 2013)


for a clear explanation about the HEATPIPE google vapour chamber as fast as possible . the tech used is actually a vapour chamber used in graphics card and cpu cooling

posted on 09 Apr 2014, 08:34

25. mike2959 (Posts: 279; Member since: 08 Oct 2011)


The G3 will be here by June. Sony late to the party again.

posted on 09 Apr 2014, 09:15

26. Chris_Bakke (Posts: 210; Member since: 23 Jan 2013)


There's the "premium" build quality that Sony is known for.

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