This paper addresses issues that relate to downscaling the height of centrifugal fans for application in low profile technologies, such as the cooling of portable power electronics. The parameters studied throughout the paper include flow rate, pressure rise and power consumption characteristics. The former two of these are measured using a fan characterization rig and the latter by directly measuring the power supplied to the fan. These are studied for fans ranging in diameter from 15 to 30mm and with profile heights ranging from 0.3mm to 15mm. It is found that all of the phenomena encountered are best described in terms of fan aspect ratio. Overall, the results show that the conventional scaling laws cannot be accurately applied when the blade profile alone is being scaled. Indeed the only parameter that was observed to be accurately predicted by the scaling laws was the pressure rise attainable but was only accurate for fan aspect ratios greater than 0.17. Below this, the measured pressure rise characteristics fell logarithmically toward zero. The results also showed that there is no advantage to using fans with aspect ratio greater than 0.3. This was because the maximum flow rate was achieved at this aspect ratio and decreased slightly as it was further increased. Overall, the scaling phenomena described throughout this paper are invaluable to designer of efficient low profile cooling solutions that are to incorporate such fans.

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