Project/Tool Scope

STEAM stands for "Simulation of Two-phase Energy and Mass balance". It is a compact thermal model for 2D and 3D ICs with two-phase cooling.

What is Two-Phase cooling?

Two-Phase cooling refers to the heat remval via the evaporation of a refrigerant flowing inside a heat sink. In the context of electronic cooling, microchannels are etched on the IC thermal package or directly on the silicon substrate and refrigerants are pumped through them. The refrigerant absorbs heat from the microchannel walls and evaporates in the process. This phenomenon is called latent heat absorption, in contrast with the sensible heat absorption in traditional single-phase liquid cooling where the coolant liquid rises in temperature when it absorbs heat from the surroundings. In general, evaporative two-phase cooling has orders of magnitude higher cooling capacities than single-phase liquid cooling and hence is an attractive long-term solution to the rising heat fluxes in 2D/3D ICs.

The STEAM thermal model

Thermal modeling of heat transfer in two-phase cooling is extremely difficult due to the complex nature of two-phase flows and the complex interdependencies of the various physical equations in fluid dynamics and thermodynamics, and the material properties of different refrigerants in the liquid and vapor states. Decades of research and development in the field of heat transfer engineering have gone into understanding this heat transfer process. In this project, we propose a simple compact model that uses the knowledge available in the existing literature to provide accurate and fast thermal analysis of ICs with two-phase cooling. The intended application for this thermal model is in electronic design automation (EDA) and the thermal-aware design of two-phase cooled 2D/3D ICs.

Download STEAM

We have finalized the development of the initial version (pre-alpha) of STEAM v1.0 (release date: March 31st, 2014) as open source software to help researchers studying two-phase cooling. It can be downloaded in the following link:


Related Publications

STEAM: a fast compact thermal model for two-phase cooling of integrated circuits
Sridhar, Arvind; Madhour, Yassir; Atienza, David; Brunschwiler, Thomas; Thome, John
2013Proceedings of the 32nd International Conference On Computer-Aided Design (ICCAD)Publication funded by Nano-Tera ()