Flow shaping and thrust enhancement of sidewall bounded oscillating cantilevers Academic Article uri icon


  • An oscillating cantilever is employed in a vast number of applications ranging from electronics cooling to propulsion. The motion can be driven at resonance by piezoelectrics which make it an energy efficient source of flow generation from a robust solid state device. Commonly known as piezoelectric fans, they have been the topic of numerous studies, and although many applications ultimately require mounting the cantilever within an enclosure of some form, much of the literature only considers idealized conditions, with walls far removed from the beam. Although it is commonly understood that, in general, sidewalls will help direct the flow in a desired direction, there is little knowledge into what impact this has on key performance characteristics such as power consumption, thrust, or convection enhancement. In this paper, in order to develop a strategic design approach for the enclosure, the thrust produced by a cantilever operating at resonance is quantified with two sidewalls present for a range of beam to wall spacings. Additionally, the sensitivity of the thrust on the relative location of the downstream edge of the sidewalls to the free end of the cantilever (fan tip) is experimentally investigated. It is found that the sidewall gap has little effect on thrust enhancement, except for very small gaps, and that the tip location plays a very large and interesting role in power consumption. In effect, there are cantilever tip locations where one can obtain substantial thrust enhancement with little or no extra power consumption, suggesting that flow shaping has the potential to positively impact the performance. The findings in the paper provide not only a relevant basis for further study, but also a very meaningful indication of the most effective orientation when considering the enclosure design around the oscillating cantilever. 2014 Elsevier Inc.

published proceedings

  • International Journal of Heat and Fluid Flow

author list (cited authors)

  • Eastman, A., & Kimber, M. L.

citation count

  • 9

complete list of authors

  • Eastman, Andrew||Kimber, Mark L

publication date

  • August 2014