December 12, 2012
General Electric Creates New Way To Keep Laptops, Mobile Devices Cool
Michael Harper for redOrbit.com — Your Universe OnlineGeneral Electronics (GE) wants to cool off some of your future super-slim laptops and mobile devices by letting them breathe. As these things often happen, GE created a new way to cool these devices as they were looking for ways to keep jet engines from over-heating.
The result is Dual Piezoelectric Cooling Jets (DCJ). These cooling plates act as diaphragms, taking in the hot air and blowing out the cool. Like the devices GE hopes to one day keep cool, these jets are quite thin and can be configured to fit any package or design used. This means even the slimmest of devices could make use of these cooling jets, all without adding extra weight or noise. GE claims these jets “can be made so quiet that users won´t even know it´s running.”
“DCJ was developed as an innovative way to dramatically reduce the amount of pressure losses and loading characteristics in aircraft engines and power generation in gas and wind turbines,” explains Peter de Bock, the lead electronics researcher for GE Global Research in a statement.
“Over the past 18 months we have addressed many challenges adapting this technology in areas of acoustics, vibration, and power consumption such that the DCJ can now be considered as an optimal cooling solution for ultra-thin consumer electronics products.”
GE engineers looked to the human body to find inspiration for its new cooling jets. Just as the lungs take in air and blow out “exhaust,” this device also breathes as it cools.
These jets consist of two plates with micro-fluidic films. These plates rest very closely together and when a current of electricity is sent to them, they begin to essentially inhale and exhale, moving air between the two plates. GE claims its electronic lungs can transfer heat 10 times better than natural convection.
While real estate is a rare commodity in these new slim devices, many of which measure less than a quarter-inch in thickness, power is also a resource which should be conserved.
GE boasts that the new DCJ technology is also very efficient when it comes to power consumption, using less than half the power consumed by the fans used in today´s portable electronics.
“With new tablet and netbook roadmaps moving to platforms measuring less than 0.25 inches high, it is clear that consumers are demanding thinner and more powerful electronic devices,” said Chris Giovanniello, the vice president of micro electronics and thermal business development at GE Licensing.
“GE´s patented DCJ technology not only frees up precious space for system designers, but it consumes significantly less power, allowing as much as 30 minutes of extra battery life. Best of all, DCJ can be made so quiet that users won´t even know it´s running.”
As engineers themselves, the team at GE wanted to put the DCJs to the test. They cracked open a “popular ultra book laptop” and replaced the existing fan with the new jets.
Once inside, they noticed that not only was there plenty of room leftover after the DCJs were installed, but that any device bearing these jets could be made even smaller than they already are. While GE maintains the cooling jets could work in any electronic device, it seems they may be leaning more towards having them installed in Apple devices, such as iPads and iPhones.
GE may get that chance as they´re currently showing off this technology to OEMs who are looking for new ways to cool off their super slim devices.