Plasma Actuator for Low-Power Cooling System

Technology #16228

Questions about this technology? Ask a Technology Manager

Download Printable PDF

Subrata Roy
William E. Lear Jr
Managed By
Lenny Terry
Assistant Director 352-392-8929

Needle Actuation Device Employs Corona Discharge for Temperature Reduction in Heated Systems

This plasma actuating device employs a needle electrode for extremely low-power cooling capabilities. Corona discharge is popularly utilized for solid-state cooling components for computer chips and is known to manifest in everyday devices such as photocopiers and electrostatic precipitators. However, a major disadvantage of these current devices is that their energy conversion efficiencies are extremely low (less than 1 percent) due to the significant amount of energy lost to dielectric heating and light emission. Researchers at the University of Florida have crafted a plasma actuator device connected to a needle electrode that improves maximum efficiency from less than 1 percent to 2.8 percent. This efficiency is one order of magnitude larger than the efficiency of a surface plasma actuator and is about twice the efficiency of a wire to cylinder configuration. This device may be utilized in for various surface and internal cooling problems in which application of traditional fan/blower system is limited.


Plasma actuator device generates corona discharge for production of cooling flow and enhancement of convective heat transfer


  • Power consumptions for the DC needle actuation device do not exceed mW level, significantly decreasing energy necessary for operation
  • Lack of moving parts optimizes energy conversion efficiency, thereby reducing overall heat loss
  • Low-power needle has capability to control flow, cooling, and drag reduction, increasing versatility of device


This plasma actuator is comprised of an electrode surface and a needle electrode connected to a voltage source. The voltage source attached to the needle generates a corona discharge at the tip of the needle via application of a DC signal. This corona discharge produces an airflow that is introduced to the surface of the plate electrode. The plate electrode is then positioned adjacent to a circuit component so that the circuit is cooled by the air flow produced by the corona discharge. As a result, the overall temperature of the circuit surface decreases at a significantly low power input.