Forced convection air-cooled electronic systems consist of fans to provide fluid flow through the enclosure. Typically axial flow fans, radial impellers, and centrifugal blowers fall into this category. In numerical computations of flow fields in electronic enclosures, axial fans have most commonly been abstracted as planar (2-D) rectangular or circular surfaces. In some cases, these abstract or lumped models may be used to mimic impellers and centrifugal blowers as well. All of these models rely on an experimentally derived “pressure head-flow rate” (P-Q) curve (also called “fan curve”). The experiments to obtain the fan curve should conform to the test codes published by ASME and/or AMCA.

Convenience and accuracy of abstract fan models are dependent on the specific application/cooling method and the acceptable error margin. The latter for the thermal design of electronics has recently diminished considerably which led to the need of using more accurate and robust fan modeling techniques such as Multiple Reference Frame (MRF) model. The authors validated this method for different types of fans against relevant experimental data previously [1,2]. As a continuation of this earlier effort, an attempt is made to examine the thermal field computed by various fan modeling techniques including MRF for air-cooled enclosures in the present work. The results show that the temperature values obtained from lumped fan model and the MRF technique differ considerably.

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