Thermaltake iXoft Review (Page 2 of 3)

b>Page 2 - A Closer Look, Usage

Thermaltake has publicly listed on their product page that the chemical inside the iXoft is Sodium Sulfate Decahydrate (Na2SO4.10H2O). I am personally interested in seeing how Na2SO4.10H2O affects heat dissipation; and done some research into the factors and properties of this salt utilized by Thermaltake.

Above is a diagram I whipped up in Photoshop this morning, showing the polyatomic ion sulfate. SO4 itself is a covalent bond; and has 6 valence electrons each. This makes it a total of 30 electrons available for bonding. Since there's no exception element, they all have 4 bonding sites -- thus requiring 32 electrons in total. Unfortunately, you can't do double bonds for SO4. This means that it will need to acquire 2 extra electrons (Shown in red in the diagram above); giving SO4 a 2- charge.

The name is bond. Ionic bond. Taken, not shared. Yep, that's right -- it needs to take 2 extra electrons, creating an ionic bond. Two sodiums (2Na1+) are required for each sulfate. This creates the salt Na2SO4 (aq).

The 10 water molecules attaches loosely to the Na2SO4.10H2O, creating a hydrated compound that's solid at room temperature. As all bonds need energy to break, this is where the essential factor comes in. Think about phase changes such as ice to water, and water to water vapor -- what do you do? You add heat to it.

Typically speaking, from lowest energy to highest energy orders from average kinetic (temperature) change, phase change, chemical change, and... then there's nuclear, but we won't get into the latter. In this case, temperature changes, and eventually reaches a point of phase change which will require a much higher kJ/mol value -- as phase change occurs, it will 'absorb' the most heat into the system through this endothermic reaction. Temperature change will then continue but will probably occur much slower once phase change is complete.

Similarily, the energy to break this bond in our situation will be through the utilization of thermal energy (Obtained from your laptop), and while it is not good enough to break any covalent or ionic bonds -- I sure don't hope so anyway -- at approximately 33 degrees the following will happen:

Na2SO4.10H2O <=> Na2SO4 + 10H2O

Meaning that the Na2SO4 and 10H2O will begin to separate.

Usually, the water will just be released into the air and regained out of the humidity of the environment as it cools down. However, the Thermaltake iXoft is a closed system; and no water will be released out of the system to ensure the amount of water is constant. Because Na2SO4 is soluble in water, then it will turn into a liquid state -- this explains why the Thermaltake iXoft turns into a liquid state substance when in use.

When it is left alone at room temperature, the energy then can be automatically be released to the surrounding environment -- and getting itself ready to be usable again by "recharging" itself. The speed at which it would recharge, however, would be very dependent on how well Na2SO4.10H2O retains thermal energy over time -- and of course, there are limits of how much energy the Thermaltake iXoft "absorbs" from your laptop because once all bonds are broken, it will not require any more energy and the usefulness would be limited. Therefore, it is not possible for you to use the Thermaltake iXoft on a really hot laptop 24/7 due to design limits.

In fact, it might act as an insulator over time, if the Thermaltake iXoft has an overly great contact with your computer -- to a point when it cannot take in any more thermal energy -- and in turn will become a heat container under your laptop; its a design flaw I can already see. In order to minimize the effect, the Thermaltake iXoft designers put arrays of binds to create permanent bumps on this product and allow air between the gaps -- but when it's in a liquid state, well, this could be quite limiting as the peaks and valleys may not be as prominent anymore. You can check back our previous page and look at the third photo to see what I mean.

However, this type of passive cooling does not need any electricity, nor will it generate any noise -- effectively maximizing your computer's battery life and no mechanical/moving parts will definitely extend the life of this product. Besides physical aspects, you can't really 'wear out' this pad like a battery -- unless it physically breaks, of course.

To use it, there's nothing too scientific -- just place it under your laptop, and you are good to go!

In addition to that, many on-the-go laptop users usually place their computers on their laps. This may not be the wisest idea of all time, because a warm laptop could pose skin burn issues for extended periods of time. For male users, recent scientific research shows that it could affect 'reproduction abilities'. Now for this regard might be a good reason to get the Thermaltake iXoft, haha. What I am trying to say is that, since the Thermaltake iXoft is foldable in all states, weighs only 640g, and no mechanical parts, carrying it around in your laptop bag might not be a bad idea at all -- especially if you are to use your computer on your lap all the time.

Page Index
1. Introduction, Packaging, Specification
2. A Closer Look, Usage
3. Testing and Conclusion