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Development of a Piezo-Actuator Cooling Technology with Applications to Low Power Electronics
Keywords: piezoelectric , piezo cooling , low power electronics
Typical cooling capacity of fanless and fan heatsinks has an overlap zone in the 15-40W range. The former is generally used to provide cooling for electronics at the lower end of the zone while the latter covers the higher end, albeit at a much higher cost. Today, the changing CPU market trend toward smaller form factor and lower power devices has created a demand for low-cost solutions with higher efficiency than fanless heatsinks and lower cost than fan heatsinks. We believe that the solution proposed in this study can bridge this gap. In this study, a piezoelectric actuator was integrated with a conventional heatsink to create a so-called piezo heatsink (PHS). In a PHS, a series of pre-bent blades (rake blades) attached to a piezo actuator is inserted into a heatsink's fin gaps and integrated mechanically into a single structure. The overall dimension of the PHS is maintained within 50 x 50 x 35mm3. The PHS structure also includes a piezoelectric driver circuit with “frequency-tracking” feature, designed and fabricated to convert 12V DC coming from motherboard to the resonant frequency of the piezo blades around 100 Hz. The PHS design was matured into an HVM (high volume manufacturing) solution by optimizing its thermal and acoustic performance. The shock, vibration and reliability performance was validated against a fan heatsink (FHS) which operates with the same input voltage and offers similar thermal and acoustic performances. Our analysis demonstrated that incorporating piezo blades with the fanless heatsink reduces the thermal resistance by one-half. The test results also showed that the piezo heatsink's power consumption is less than 100mW making it approximately 10 times more efficient than a normal fan heatsink operating at the same input voltage.
Parisa Foroughi, Sr. Thermal/Mechanical Engineer
Intel Corporation
Santa Clara, CA

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