The cooling performance of piezoelectric actuators is evaluated for low-form-factor electronics in this work. A piezoelectric actuator is a cantilever made from metal or plastic with a piezoelectric material bonded to it. Under an alternating electrical current, the piezo actuator oscillates back and forth, generating airflow. Compared to conventional fans, these actuators have the advantages of low power consumption, low noise, and smaller dimensions. The parameters investigated in the experiments are actuator orientation, actuator-to-heat source distance, and actuator amplitude. For an actuator power consumption of 31 mW, the heat source temperature was lowered by more than 25°C compared to natural convection conditions (for a 2.45 W heater power dissipation). Performance comparisons against axial fans and natural convection heat sinks show that the piezo actuators perform significantly better in terms of power consumption and cooling volume.   This paper was also originally published as part of the Proceedings of the ASME 2005 Heat Transfer Summer Conference.

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