GE jet cooling tech could enable thinner, more energy-efficient gadgets

GE jet cooling tech could enable thinner, more energy-efficient gadgets

Summary: The same approach used to optimize air flow for jet engines could be used to replace the fans traditionally used in notebooks, tablets and electronics devices.


The same technology that optimizes air flow through jet engines could be applied toward enabling a new generation of thinner, cooler, more energy efficient gadgets.

That's the focus of an innovative project at GE Global Research, which is evaluating applications that would replace the cooling fans traditionally found in computers and electronics devices with "dual piezoelectric cooling jets."

The technology is just 3 millimeters thick (about the size of two stacked quarters). It works like a miniature bellows or set of lungs, contracting and expanding to suck in air and then expel it at high velocity. The technology gets its energy as alternating current flows through a computer's innards.

GE scientist Peter deBock, lead thermal systems engineer at GE Global Research, estimates that the technology could help add as much as 30 minutes of extra battery life to laptops or other devices, while allowing them to be much thinner than they are today. His observation is based on his team's tests on a retrofitted notebook computer.

"We had a lot of space left over," deBock said. "It can make the laptop thinner or allow adding more electronics."

GE got its first patent on this technology back in 2004. So far, it has licensed the concept to Fujikara LTD, a Japanese vendor of cooling devices. It also is using the same idea to keep things cool for its LED lighting technology.

For more information about the project, see the video below:


Tablet computers

Topics: Emerging Tech, Mobility

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  • Cool

    Thinner, cooler is better.

    Nice article, thanks!
  • Jet

    Right now they vibrate whatever they are attatched to and make a buzzing noise.
    Looks like the very fast flexing of the bellows will cause it to break fairly soon.
    • Fans are louder

      The alternative... a fan... is loud and vibrates. Anything that reduces the acoustic profile is an improvement.

      GE says it is using this technology in aviation, which would mean the sizes are of a larger scale, and the tolerance for failure would be less. I don't think the breaking of the bellows would be an issue in the lifespan of a phone.
  • GE jet cooling tech could enable thinner, more energy-efficient gadgets

    new application of an old technology, that's what we call innovation of highest degree. as noted above, the high frequency buzzing might cause premature failure of pcb interconnects just like the premature failures observable in switched mode power supplies around the transformers, which is primarily caused by the high frequency vibration of the transformer coils ...
  • Oh great...

    Now were'g going to have panting electronics to match the sweating panting geek holding it!

  • current?

    does it works with ac current ?
    Anil Kocakurek00