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An ultrasonic air pump using an acoustic traveling wave along a small air gap

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6 Author(s)
Koyama, D. ; Precision & Intell. Lab., Tokyo Inst. of Technol., Yokohama, Japan ; Wada, Y. ; Nakamura, K. ; Nishikawa, M.
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An ultrasonic air pump that uses a traveling wave along a small air gap between a bending vibrator and a reflector is discussed. The authors investigate ultrasonic air pumps that make use of bending vibrators and reflectors and confirm that air can be induced to flow by generating an asymmetric acoustic standing wave along an air gap. In this paper, we proposed a novel ultrasonic air pump in which a traveling wave along an air gap induces acoustic streaming and achieves one-way airflow. Two new reflector configurations, stepped and tapered, were designed and used to generate traveling waves. To predict airflow generation, sound pressure distribution in the air gap was calculated by means of finite element analysis (FEA). As a preliminary step, 2 FEA models were compared: one piezoelectric-structure-acoustic model and one piezoelectric- structure-fluid model, which included the viscosity effect of the fluid. The sound pressure distribution in the air gap, including fluid viscosity, was calculated by the FEA because it is expected to be dominant and thus have a strong effect on the sound pressure field in such a thin fluid layer. Based on the FEA results of the stepped and the tapered reflectors, it was determined that acoustic traveling waves could propagate along the gaps. Experiments were carried out with the designed bending vibrator and the reflectors. The acoustic fields in the air gap were measured via a fiber optic probe, and it was determined that the sound pressure and the phase distribution tendencies corresponded well with the results computed by FEA. Through our experiments, one-way airflow generation, in the same direction of the traveling wave and with the maximum flow velocity of 5.6 cm/s, was achieved.

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Ultrasonics, Ferroelectrics, and Frequency Control, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:57 ,  Issue: 1 )