As electronics get more powerful, they also get hotter. The typical solution is to install fans and hope the gadget’s material – the metal case of a laptop, for instance – dissipates any remaining heat. GE Global Research wants to replace those bulky, noisy fans with microfluidic devices called dual-piezoelectric cooling jets (DCJ).
Made of two thin vibrating discs, a DCJ pumps air like a bellows, pulling it in and forcing it out of a tiny jet. The high velocity airflow entrains any nearby flow and pushes most of it away from the device. A DCJ is much thinner than a fan and, more importantly, requires less than half the power. – RZA
How to use it:
GE researcher Peter de Bock says tiny air jets increase the heat transfer in bulbs by more than 10 times that of natural convection.
To make laptops lighter, GE is designing DCJs that vibrate between 100 and 175 Hz to draw and expel hot air from computer processors.
Piezo discs aren’t just for cooling. On aircraft, they control the flow of air around the wings to reduce drag.