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Advances in Fan Modeling: Using Multiple Reference Frame (MRF) Approach on Blowers

[+] Author Affiliations
Gokul Shankaran

Ansys Inc., Austin, TX

M. Baris Dogruoz

Amoeba Technologies Inc., Austin, TX

Paper No. IPACK2011-52172, pp. 259-267; 9 pages
  • ASME 2011 Pacific Rim Technical Conference and Exhibition on Packaging and Integration of Electronic and Photonic Systems
  • ASME 2011 Pacific Rim Technical Conference and Exhibition on Packaging and Integration of Electronic and Photonic Systems, MEMS and NEMS: Volume 2
  • Portland, Oregon, USA, July 6–8, 2011
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-4462-5
  • Copyright © 2011 by ASME


Forced convection air-cooled electronic systems utilize fans to sustain air flow through the enclosure. These fans are typically axial flow fans, radial impellers, and centrifugal blowers. When computing flow fields in electronic enclosures, axial fans have traditionally been abstracted as lumped fan models which may or may not be able to capture the necessary details. Under certain conditions, such lumped models may also capture some flow characteristics in the case of impellers and centrifugal blowers. These lumped models comprise a significantly simplified fan geometry, i.e. usually a planar (2-D) rectangular or circular surface with/without an inner (hub) concentric no-flow region for an axial fan or a rectangular prism/cylinder with a planar inlet for blowers/impellers, and a “pressure head-flow rate” (P-Q) curve, which may be supplied by the fan vendor or experimentally derived by the thermal designer. Irrespective of the source, the P-Q curve is obtained from laboratory experiments that conform to the test codes published by societies such as ASME and AMCA. Convenience and accuracy of lumped fan models are dependent on the specific application, cooling method and also the acceptable error margin. The acceptable error margin of the thermal design has shrunk significantly in the last decade. This has caused an interest in more accurate and robust fan modeling techniques such as Multiple Reference Frame (MRF) model which has already been commonly and successfully used in many different industries for a while. In this paper, an attempt was made to provide a validation of the MRF fan modeling applied to different types of fans. The computational fluid dynamics (CFD) model of an AMCA standard wind tunnel was used for each of the fans investigated. The P-Q curve obtained from the MRF model is benchmarked against the corresponding experimentally derived P-Q curve. Benefits and limitations of the MRF model are also discussed.

Copyright © 2011 by ASME



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