Jet Engines allowed fighter planes to break the supersonic barrier and now, the same technology might allow IT devices to make the same quantum leap as GE Engineers have adapted jet engine technology for “cooling jets” for thinner, quieter and more efficient cooling systems.
The cooling device are called “dual piezoelectric cooling jets” and is only 3mm thick, the same thickness as a stack of 2 coins. The design is of 2 nickel discs separated by a piezoelectric ceramic. When alternating current flows through the two discs, they contract and expand as fast as 150 times per second. Each vibration sucks in air from the surrounding area and expels it at high velocity through the centre, an efficient design without any motor or bearing to reduce component wear.
Peter deBock, lead thermal systems engineer at GE Global Research, and his team had already incorporated the design on a laptap and while maintaining same cooling efficiency, allowed improvements in energy consumption as well as as space and weight savings. deBock says. “It can make the laptop thinner or allow adding more electronics.” Since it is also less power hungry, GE estimates that the cooling technology can add as much as 30 minutes of extra battery life.
GE received the first patent on the technology in 2004, and has gained a dozen more patents since. The company has already licensed the technology to Japan’s Fujikura LTD, a leading manufacturer of cooling devices.
With ultrabooks fast becoming a staple in the computer industry, this new cooling technology should give rise to even more powerful and slimmer laptops. One of the key constraints on laptops have always been due to the graphics chipset due to the significant power and cooling requirements. This should help alleviate some aspect of that constraint. As of now, it is unlikely to see this application in mobile phones or tablets, which generally operates based on heatsink cooling but options are always a good thing.