GE unveils piezoelectric fan replacement technology

GE unveils piezoelectric fan replacement technology

GE's Dual Piezoelectric Cooling Jet technology promises all the performance of a fan in half the size, half the power envelope and near-silent operation.

A new cooling technology developed by General Electric - yes, the Minigun company - based on electric cooling elements originally developed for use in jet engines promises to provide extremely compact, efficient cooling for future electronic devices.

Dubbed Dual Piezoelectric Cooling Jets, or DCJ, the system works as a system of of bellows providing high-velocity jets of air to cool components down far more efficiently than just convection alone. So far, so like the high-tech wizardry known as a 'fan' - but DCJ coolers are half the thickness and use half the energy while operating in almost complete silence.

'DCJ was developed as an innovative way to dramatically reduce the amount of pressure losses and loading characteristics in aircraft engines and power generation in gas and wind turbines,' explained Peter de Bock, lead research in the electronics cooling arm of GE's Global Research division, of the technology. 'Over the past 18 months we have addressed many challenges adapting this technology in areas of acoustics, vibration, and power consumption such that the DCJ can now be considered as an optimal cooling solution for ultra-thin consumer electronics products.'

Current DCJ coolers measure just 4mm thick, less than half that of the thinnest cooling fans, while drawing under half the power of fan-based coolers. GE also claims the design is inherently more reliable than complex fan assemblies, resulting in a longer device lifespan.

'With new tablet and netbook roadmaps moving to platforms measuring less than 6mm high, it is clear that consumers are demanding thinner and more powerful electronic devices,' claimed Chris Giovanniello, the man at GE responsible for convincing OEMs and ODMs to license the technology for use in next-generation gadgets. 'GE's patented DCJ technology not only frees up precious space for system designers, but it consumes significantly less power, allowing as much as 30 minutes of extra battery life. Best of all, DCJ can be made so quiet that users won't even know it’s running. Thermal management is becoming a big problem for many companies trying to miniaturise their electronics, and as a result we are getting strong demand to evaluate the DCJ technology in many markets, from consumer electronics, to automotive, to telecom and industrial sectors.'

GE claims to have the technology ready for production, and has already licensed it to Fujikura, one of the largest providers of thermal management systems to telecommunications, automotive, energy and electronics manufacturers. The company is also offering demonstration kits to OEMs who want to try the technology for themselves, ahead of placing a nice juicy order.

If you're wondering just how the heck the system works, GE has kindly provided a demonstration video for your delectation and edification:


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liratheal 13th December 2012, 13:42 Quote
When can I get some in servers?

I come away from some customers partially deaf.
Flibblebot 13th December 2012, 16:46 Quote
Originally Posted by Article
cool components down far more efficiently than just convention alone
I wasn't aware that cooling was so hung up on the accepted wisdom for its cooling :p ;)

It's an intriguing idea, it'd be interesting to see how they perform against standard (that's conventional convection :D) fans.

Should we be worried, though, that everyone in the video was wearing safety goggles - even the besuited VP?
Bazz 13th December 2012, 17:08 Quote
General Electric - yes, the Minigun company

So they only make the Minigun then?

Quite strange that we use a lot of GE stuff at work which aren't miniguns, suppose we aren't blinkered like some.
Originally Posted by Flibblebot

Should we be worried, though, that everyone in the video was wearing safety goggles - even the besuited VP?

Also I work in a research lab, and most of the time we have to wear safety gear, so I do not understand you're question, its just basic health & safety.
Roskoken 13th December 2012, 17:26 Quote
Originally Posted by Bazz
General Electric - yes, the Minigun company

So they only make the Minigun then?

Quite strange that we use a lot of GE stuff at work which aren't miniguns, suppose we aren't blinkered like some.

Easily in the top 5 largest corporations on the planet.
PingCrosby 13th December 2012, 19:29 Quote
I'd rather have the Minigun meself like
Landy_Ed 13th December 2012, 22:09 Quote
"down far more efficiently than just convention alone"

Convention? do you mean convection?
Gradius 14th December 2012, 00:19 Quote
The prob with GE is they have almost everything you can image, and you can't be good at everything PERIOD!
yougotkicked 14th December 2012, 01:29 Quote
Honestly, this is one of the coolest bits of tech I've seen in a while. If their performance claims hold up, and the price is reasonable, I could see these being quite a big deal.
Gareth Halfacree 14th December 2012, 08:10 Quote
Originally Posted by Flibblebot
I wasn't aware that cooling was so hung up on the accepted wisdom for its cooling :p ;)?
Oopsie - fixed, ta!
Originally Posted by Bazz
So they only make the Minigun then? Quite strange that we use a lot of GE stuff at work which aren't miniguns, suppose we aren't blinkered like some.
Blinkered, by referring to GE's most famous creation? You'll have to let me know what the view is like from up there on that high horse. Does GE make/invest in/invent other things than firearms? Yes. When you say "General Electric," does a not-insignificant proportion of the male populace, raised on a diet of films like Terminator 2 and Predator - which, incidentally, show the Minigun as man-portable, when it is not - hear the suffix "Minigun" in their internal monologue? Yes. Is that proportion even higher on a site where a large section of the readership play games with Minigun and Minigun-like weapons (from the 'chaingun' found in Wolfenstein 3D and Doom upwards?) Yes.

It was a lighthearted throwaway comment, nothing more. Don't fret: I'm sure GE's stock price will recover from my devastating hatchet job.

(Incidentally, I have a GE consumer unit powering my house. Suppose I'm not blinkered and presumptive like some.)
Zoon 14th December 2012, 09:17 Quote
When I think GE, I think jet engines for planes. So you're both wrong!
Flibblebot 14th December 2012, 11:11 Quote
Actually, when I think GE I think Six Sigma and loads of middle managers creating projects just so that they can get their black belts...:(
fluxtatic 15th December 2012, 09:55 Quote
Originally Posted by Gareth Halfacree
Blinkered, by referring to GE's most famous creation?

Going to have to disagree with you there. While every person whose played a video game with guns in the past twenty years likely is aware of the minigun, I can pretty well guarantee very, very few are aware it was invented by GE.

When I think GE, I think light bulb commercials with that 'we bring good things to life' jingle...but maybe that was a US thing.

At any rate, nice to see them actually investing in some R & D - seems a lot of corporations don't like spending money on anything if it won't make them a profit within the next two quarters.

I won't argue with the performance, since it seems to work (and damn - a design that simple nobody thought up until 2012? Humanity, I am disappoint.) But I'm not seeing how it will work to make a 200mm big boy lit up with super-bright, garish LEDs :P
Bogomip 15th December 2012, 11:44 Quote
Yeah, I didnt know GE made the minigun - however it doesn't really warrant the kind of reception that small sentence is getting... get over it, guys :)

Seems like an interesting piece of tech - I would LOVE a cheap solution to making my pc entirely silent, and since this is simply a few pieces of metal that vibrated I would imagine that it would get fairly cheap fairly quick :)

edit: also, as wireless power gets a bit cheaper I wonder if these could be powered wirelessly... then you could just stick them anywhere in your case, or all over your case, without the need for wires :) (would dramatically increase the price though I would imagine!)
tuk 15th December 2012, 12:57 Quote
By 1890, Thomas Edison had brought together several of his business interests under one corporation to form Edison General Electric.
GE was one of the eight major computer companies during the 1960s — with IBM, the largest, called "Snow White" followed by the "Seven Dwarfs": Burroughs, NCR, Control Data Corporation, Honeywell, RCA, UNIVAC and GE.

GE had an extensive line of general purpose and special purpose computers. Among them were the GE 200, GE 400, and GE 600 series general purpose computers, the GE 4010, GE 4020, and GE 4060 real time process control computers, the Datanet 30 and Datanet 355 message switching computers (Datanet 30 and 355 were also used as front end processors for GE mainframe computers). A Datanet 500 computer was designed, but never sold.

In 1962, GE started developing its GECOS (later renamed GCOS) operating system, originally for batch processing, but later extended to timesharing and transaction processing. Versions of GCOS are still in use today.

In 1964–1969, GE and Bell Laboratories (which soon dropped out) joined with MIT to develop the pioneering and influential Multics operating system on the GE 645 mainframe computer. The project took longer than expected and was not a major commercial success, but it demonstrated important concepts such as single level store, dynamic linking, hierarchical file system, and ring-oriented security. Active development of Multics continued until 1985.

It has been said that GE got into computer manufacturing because in the 1950s they were the largest user of computers outside of the United States federal government, aside from being the first business in the world to own a computer and its electronics manufacturing plant "Appliance Park" was the first non-governmental site to host one.. However, in 1970, GE sold its computer division to Honeywell, exiting the computer manufacturing industry, though it retained its timesharing operations for some years afterwards. GE was a major provider of computer timesharing services, through General Electric Information Services (GEIS, now GXS), offering online computing services that included GEnie.

In 2002, GE acquired the windpower assets of Enron during its bankruptcy proceedings. Enron Wind was the only surviving U.S. manufacturer of large wind turbines at the time, and GE increased engineering and supplies for the Wind Division and doubled the annual sales to $1.2 billion in 2003. It acquired ScanWind in 2009.

Some consumers boycotted GE light bulbs, refrigerators and other products in the 1980s and 1990s to protest GE’s role in nuclear weapons production
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