Quantification of Piezoelectric Fan Flow Rate Performance and Experimental Identification of Installation Effects

Mark Kimber, Birck Nanotechnology Center, Purdue University
Kazuhiko Suzuki, Sony Corporation
Nobutaka Kitsunai, Sony Corporation
Kenichi Seki, Sony Corporation
Suresh V. Garimella, Birck Nanotechnology Center, Purdue University

Date of this Version



A piezoelectric fan is a flexible cantilever beam whose vibration is actuated by means of a piezoelectric material. Such fans have been employed for the enhancement of heat transfer by increasing the fluid circulation in regions which are otherwise stagnant. The main focus of past studies has been to describe the heat transfer achieved from these devices, as well as the flow field generated by vibrating cantilevers. In order to directly compare these fans with their traditional counterparts such as small axial fans, the present work casts the performance of piezofans in terms of a characteristic often used to represent conventional fans, namely the fan curve. The main thrust of this paper is to determine the relationship between the pressure and flow rate generated by miniature piezoelectric fans. Experimental measurements are obtained for two different fans with operating frequencies of 60 and 113 Hz. The maximum flow rate conditions yield nearly 30 l/min, while the greatest static pressure generated is found to be 6 Pa. The performance is highly dependent on both the vibration amplitude and frequency. Predictive relationships are developed to describe the experimental trends and provide insight into the sensitivity of pressure and flow rate to these operating parameters. A second thrust of this paper is to explore the effects of fan installation details on fan performance. The proximity of surrounding walls is considered through the use of three different enclosures within which the fan is mounted. Effective inlet areas from which the air enters the fan are also identified. This work provides a practical framework for determining the optimal placement and configuration for these fans in prototypical applications.


Nanoscience and Nanotechnology