Miniaturisation of modern electronics means that future compact electronic systems are likely to be too hot to be held in the users hand. Simultaneous increases in heat dissipation will also require the development of novel compact cooling technologies. In systems such as mobile phones and palmtop computers, macro scale fans cannot be used to overcome this problem, as they are too large. As a solution, the implementation of micro fan technology is proposed. Previous investigators have shown that reduction of the Reynolds number of turbomachinery results in reduced efficiency. To experimentally investigate this predicted phenomenon, a series of geometrically similar axial flow fans have been fabricated. These range in size from the macro to the micro scale with the Reynolds numbers varying linearly with fan dimensions. Through detailed Particle Image Velocimetry (PIV) measurements and pressure flow characterization of these fans, this investigation aims to quantify the reduction in efficiency, which occurs as the Reynolds number is reduced. This paper concludes that the extent to which fan efficiency is reduced by Reynolds number is in surprisingly good agreement with relatively simple predictions developed by the authors in previous investigations. Reduced Reynolds number was also seen to alter the velocity distribution at the fan outlet. This is an important point as it indicates a change in the physics of the flow with reducing scale.

You do not currently have access to this content.