On January 03, 2013, the US Patent & Trademark Office published two component patent applications from Apple that generally relate to battery technology and a new heat removal system designed for small form factor portable devices through to MacBooks.
Apple Files Patent for Battery Technology
Apple has filed for a patent for an invention concerning a pouch type lithium polymer battery. Apple's Core Technology Manager, Loren Roy, who filed this battery patent provides us with some background. He states that in conventional pouch type batteries, the multi-layer laminate sheet has a core layer that is a metallic foil. The metallic foil is substantially moisture and oxygen impervious, to prevent undesirable reactions from moisture or oxygen interacting with an electrolyte inside the case. When the case is sealed, the metal foil is exposed around the edges of the case and thus needs to be insulated to prevent corrosion of the pouch material, which may occur if the metallic foil is grounded or electrically biased as a result of unintended contact with other metal parts in the portable device.
Apple's solution to this problem is designing a battery pouch sheet that inherently insulates an edge of a core metal layer of the sheet. The multi-layer laminate sheet includes a core layer, a sealant layer, and an insulating layer. The core layer has two surfaces. One surface of the core layer is attached to the sealant layer, and the other surface is attached to the insulating layer. The insulating layer is wider than the core layer.
As shown below in patent FIG. 5, Apple states that when the sheet is folded and heat sealed to form a pouch that encloses a battery electrode assembly, the sealant layer forms the interior lining of the pouch, and the insulating layer forms the exterior lining of the pouch. Because the insulating layer is wider than the core layer, e.g., similar to an overhang, the peripheral sections of the insulating layer protect the edges of the core layer from being exposed around the edges or a side of the pouch. This inherently insulates the core layer, without the need to fold and tape the peripheral sections of the insulating layer to the side of the pouch.
Apple's patent FIG. 4 noted above is an elevation view of a closed, but not yet sealed pouch; patent FIG. 5 is a perspective view depicting the placement of an electrode assembly within a pouch; patent FIG. 7 is a flow chart of the operations performed to manufacture a battery pack.
Apple Files Patent for Small Form Factor Heat Removal System
Apple has been granted a patent titled "Consolidated Thermal Module," which relates to a small form factor heat removal system.
In their patent background Apple states that computer cooling keeps components within safe operating limits by removing waste heat. In some cases the Central Processing Unit (CPU) alone needs over 100 W of power, which must then be dissipated. Most computers remove the waste heat by using at least one of the following thermal modules: heat sinks, fans, water cooling, heat pipes, or phase change cooling. Conventional desktop computer designs have a relatively enough space for a large heat sink, and fan for regulating the operating temperature of an Integrated Circuit (IC).
Small form factor computers typically use the same processors as their larger desktop counterparts. Unfortunately all the components that are required to cool a desktop class CPU take up a significant amount of room. Space or volume is at a premium in small form factor computer environments and it is essential that any heat removal system must be able to maximize heat transfer while minimizing the space occupied Therefore a way to reduce the space taken up by the CPU cooling components in a small form factor computer is desired.
Apple's Consolidated Thermal Solution
Apple's patent relates to an apparatus for reducing the size, weight, footprint, and cost of a thermal module.
According to Apple, a low Z profile consolidated thermal module (CTM) is designed to both secure and cool an integrated circuit (IC) mounted to a printed circuit board (PCB). The CTM includes a number of components including: a heat removal assembly having a reduced footprint, a retaining mechanism; a backer plate; and at least one fastener. The heat removal assembly is disposed on a first surface of the PCB, and in thermal contact with the integrated circuit. The retaining mechanism is disposed on a second surface of the PCB. The backer plate is disposed between the retaining mechanism and the PCB. At least one fastener is used to secure the heat removal assembly to the retaining mechanism, where the retaining mechanism causes a substantially uniform retaining force to be applied across the backer plate thereby minimizing an amount of torque applied to the IC.
Apple credits Senior Product Design Engineer Brett Degner and Greg Tice as the inventors of this patent which was originally filed in Q3 2011 and published today by the US Patent Office. For more details on this invention, see Apple's patent application 20130003292.
NOTICE: Patently Apple presents a detailed summary of patent applications with associated graphics for journalistic news purposes as each such patent application is revealed by the U.S. Patent & Trade Office. Readers are cautioned that the full text of any patent application should be read in its entirety for full and accurate details. Revelations found in patent applications shouldn't be interpreted as rumor or fast-tracked according to rumor timetables. About Comments: Patently Apple reserves the right to post, dismiss or edit comments.