Mineral Oil Cooling

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Mineral Oil Cooling

Postposted on Sun Jul 06, 2014 10:57 am

I had mentioned on another board that I intend to either use a closed-loop mineral oil cooling system, or even go so far as immersion cooling. Basically, everybody thought I was a numbnut for that.

Am I wrong in thinking that since it's electrically non-conductive, it would be safer than water-cooling? I swear I saw some teams use mineral oil immersion (and even Veg oil immersion in a re-purposed commercial deep fryer).

What's the verdict, cooling experts?
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Re: Mineral Oil Cooling

Postposted on Sun Jul 06, 2014 11:00 am

My verdict is, why bother?
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Re: Mineral Oil Cooling

Postposted on Sun Jul 06, 2014 11:16 am

excession wrote:My verdict is, why bother?



I'm loathe to use a cooling system with an electrical conductive liquid, in case of leaks.

As far as immersion cooling, why not? We're all nerds here. What's the fun in NOT pushing the envelope?

And if you go the veg oil/deep fryer router, you can make french fries afterwards. Win/Win.
Last edited by Hz so good on Sun Jul 06, 2014 11:17 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Mineral Oil Cooling

Postposted on Sun Jul 06, 2014 11:17 am

I've looked into this in the past and I would not use oil to cool. There are a lot of pitfalls, mineral oil eats rubber and synthetic rubber seals, vegetable oil decomposes and harbours bacteria which eventually coats everything. If you go the immersion route it's also incredibly messy and any cables going into the oil will wick oil out of the case.

On top of that oil just isn't as good at moving heat away as water is.

The most promising form of immersion cooling seems to be HFEs, but they're very expensive.
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Re: Mineral Oil Cooling

Postposted on Sun Jul 06, 2014 11:19 am

puppetworx wrote:I've looked into this in the past and I would not use oil to cool. There are a lot of pitfalls, mineral oil eats rubber and synthetic rubber seals, vegetable oil decomposes and harbours bacteria which eventually coats everything. If you go the immersion route it's also incredibly messy and any cables going into the oil will wick oil out of the case.

On top of that oil just isn't as good at moving heat away as water is.

The most promising form of immersion cooling seems to be HFEs, but they're very expensive.


$200 per GALLON?!? I think I'll wait on that, for a while... :o
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Re: Mineral Oil Cooling

Postposted on Thu Jul 10, 2014 6:05 am

Everything Puppetworx said! Mineral oil eats stuff and Veg oil breaks down or grows stuff, especially under the constant heating. It's an extremely messy solution, and PSUs + hard drives can't go into it generally.

I've been watercooling for quite a few years and have admittedly had the occasional leak. I've never lost any hardware or had anything get damaged from it though. I will confess to even inadvertently dumping a Route44 drink across a running laptop (hey, once in 10 years is excusable!), but some careful disassembly and drying to all the individual components fixed that too. And that's keeping in mind the soda got under the BGA packages for the CPU + chipset and every key in the keyboard as well as the CPU VRM area. Said laptop still works fine today if I can stand using it, the thing predated the SATA migration so no SSD upgrade for it.

Basic distilled water is fairly non-conductive in of itself, but if you want to use a closed loop system and fill it with HFEs then you shouldn't need a lot of it... around half a gallon depending on the size of the loop. Given how much you wish to ensure the system can survive any leaks as well as how little you'd need to buy, the price is manageable enough. For my loop I stick to distilled water and a few drops of anti-microbial stuff though!
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Re: Mineral Oil Cooling

Postposted on Thu Jul 10, 2014 8:52 am

As Kougar said distilled water is pretty non conductive, add a non conductive preservative.....I know I recall seeing many brands out there. So stay away from the mineral/veggie/canola oils and you will be fine. Just make sure you use the right sized clamps so when you tighten them they do not egg shape your connections. If you do that the chances of a leak is very minimal and damage none since its non conductive stuff.
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Re: Mineral Oil Cooling

Postposted on Thu Jul 10, 2014 9:22 am

Keep in mind distilled/de-ionized water will not stay that way very long inside a computer, it will quickly dissolve some tiny amount of metal and become conductive again.
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Re: Mineral Oil Cooling

Postposted on Thu Jul 10, 2014 4:30 pm

Every time I see that Subject go by I see "Mineral Oil Cooking" then I see people talking about cooking fries... so I was not far off :-)

It is a case of why bother doing it?
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Re: Mineral Oil Cooling

Postposted on Thu Jul 10, 2014 6:48 pm

I used to be okay with distilled water and a dash of water wetter - the downside being that 12 months was about the limit before I though it could use an anti-algae flush

If you're serious on the NCF, variations on mineral oil are the long-term answer but I'd stick to filling your loop with it. Every submerged PC article I read looks messy and is very very high maintenance.

Your options are EK, PrimoChill, Feser One, Fluid XP+, and gasoline*




* - Just checking you were paying attention.....
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Re: Mineral Oil Cooling

Postposted on Thu Jul 10, 2014 6:55 pm

Mineral oil immersion is a reasonably effective cooling method (commonly used on high-voltage electrical equipment) but also messy and requires appropriate containment. If you want to experiment with it, an aquarium has been done before, and is recommended. And, obviously, don't use any hardware that you value highly because it may never be the same again :o
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Re: Mineral Oil Cooling

Postposted on Thu Jul 10, 2014 11:19 pm

Chrispy_ wrote:I used to be okay with distilled water and a dash of water wetter - the downside being that 12 months was about the limit before I though it could use an anti-algae flush


Water-wetter won't stop anything from growing, that wasn't what it was designed for. It's just a fluid viscosity changer, and results are debated whether it even helps or hinders cooling performance at watercooling temperature ranges! I quit using the stuff fairly quickly just because I didn't care for the inside of the case to smell like a car engine/radiator.
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Re: Mineral Oil Cooling

Postposted on Fri Jul 11, 2014 4:28 am

I know, that's why I had to flush it (roughly every couple of terms at university). If you could smell the water wetter in your case you had a leak, that's just one reason for adding it.

The second reason is that it slows down corrosion and if you have different metals in your loop it pretty much eliminates electrolytic erosion of you connectors.
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Re: Mineral Oil Cooling

Postposted on Fri Oct 03, 2014 10:04 pm

Dude just do a leak test before turning on your system.

Distilled water has SUPER LOW conductivity.

This is one of those things where people who have never done it before just worry too much, to the extent of submerging a system in mineral oil. (that is nutty btw)

I advise just take deep breaths, build your loop outside of your case first (buy extra tubing) and once you gain the confidence that you know what you're doing, put it in your system.

Do a leak test before turning on your system by using an independent molex power source ($18) using that to fill the loop with coolant and running it, check for leaks, if there are small leaks just dry them up and fix the leak.

Again, a little bit of distilled water spillage during a leak test isn't the end of your system.
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