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Electrostatic device with zero moving parts eliminates noise.
There've been a number of ideas here about muffling or canceling PC noise. Rather, let's eliminate it at its source: The fan.
So we ditch the fan. How instead do we circulate air?
You've probably seen ads for the "Ionic Breeze" air purifier ([see link below --jutta]). Essentially, there
are two conducting grids across with is applied a very high voltage. The first grid charges particles in the air, which are drawn towards the second, oppositely-charged grid; this generates an airflow.
This concept can be scaled up a LOT. Small flying machines have been developed that stay aloft by directing air downward using this principle: http://www.markwilson.com/html/ioncraft.html
In other words, this concept can generate some serious airflow, but it does so silently, without moving parts.
So rather than the CPU fan, we use this electrostatic device to circulate air.
It has the added advantage that it attracts dust particles. (Hence the concepts use in teh "Ionic Breeze.") So rather than having dust collect on and insulate heatsinks as it does now, it collects on the charged plates. Every once in a while, if desired, one can slide the plates out of the case, wipe them off, and then put them back.
As far as I know, this has never been done before. But is it baked?
no charge for this service... [po, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 05 2004]
The Ionic Breeze Test
bam [Letsbuildafort, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 05 2004]
Mark Wilson's ioncraft
Fixed link [omegatron, Jul 02 2005]
This stuff is a huge crackpot magnet, but Blaze Labs seem relatively legit. [omegatron, Jul 02 2005]
Baked (or at least patented)
Kronos Advanced Technologies [omegatron, Jul 30 2005]
InventGeek bake #1: Ion Wind Cooled 0 dB Computer
Mentioned in my anno. A big mains-powered ionic wind device modified to blow air through the whole case. Very good cooling performance. [notexactly, Jun 21 2019]
InventGeek bake #2: Ionic Wind PC Cooling
Mentioned in my anno. A simpler and easier version built from a high-voltage power supply, a CD spindle cover, and wires. [notexactly, Jun 21 2019]
InventGeek bake #3: Ionic Wind Heat Sink
Mentioned in my anno. Another homemade ionic wind device, designed for integration directly onto a heatsink. [notexactly, Jun 21 2019]
||Our Link button is baked, as our beautiful super model [po] demonstrates ... how tolerant is electronic equipment to electrostatic discharge? ... and I heard the Ionic Breeze does virtually nothing to purify air ... with link
||Bah. I just wrote up the same idea and then saw yours in the list above mine. Here is what I wrote:
||So fans are noisy because they chop through the air and create turbulence, right? (And the turbulence is a waste because it converts some of the mechanical energy into heat, although that's basically negligbile).
||Anyway, it's possible to move air by ionizing part of it in a corona, accelerating it across an electric field gradient, during which it collides with neutral air and imparts momentum, and then neutralizing it at the other electrode to create a net flow of neutral air. I think that's how they work, anyway. It's called an electrohydrodynamic thruster.
||So I propose using high-voltage ionic "fans" to replace the mechanical fans in things like computers. The flow is laminar, there is no chopping or moving parts, etc. My halfbaked hunch says that they could be engineered into suitable replacements, although I have heard that the current designs are rather low output.
||Not related to this idea, but yeah, consumer reports testing said the Sharper Image Ionic Breeze was hundreds of times less effective than traditional filters.
||Kronos Advanced Technologies has a bunch of patents for these, but the patents are pretty recent, like 2004.
||Baked three times by one person in 20062007: [links]