Apple has applied for a patent (number 20220356881) for “adhesive joint features.” Though you wouldn’t know it from the name of the patent, it involves ways to make Mac laptops even more powerful while running cooler.
About the patent filing
The patent filing relates generally to a component within an electronic device such as a Mac laptop. In particular, it involves a portable device having a motor with a reduced height that may allow for reduced dimensions of the electronic device.
Centrifugal fans are commonly used in computing systems and other electronic devices to provide cooling of the central processing unit (CPU), graphics processing unit (GPU) and/or other modules. Newer product generations typically introduce new features and/or faster processors that offer improved computing performance.
Apple notes that, additionally, in the area of portable electronic devices, reduction in the overall thickness of the computer, particularly the enclosure, is a common goal for improving portability and customer appeal. In order to compensate for a smaller enclosure, a cooling fan may include a fan having a reduced motor height, which can compromise the motor performance.
However, Apple says that, as a result of these upgrades, higher thermal loading may be imposed on the system, which consequently requires increased airflow from the cooling fan to avoid overheating or throttling of processor performance to stay within sustainable temperature ranges. Also, as enclosures of portable electronic devices continue to have reduced dimensions, airflow through enclosures becomes highly impeded, resulting in increased demands on the cooling fan while at the same time requiring that the fan conform to the dimensions of the enclosure. Unfortunately, a cooling fan with a motor of reduced height corresponds to a fan having less torque delivery.
Apple says that simply reducing the size of traditional cooling fans compromises the space needed to accommodate an electrical connection means for the fan motor. What’s more, as enclosures of the computing systems become thinner, the space allocated for the motor and bearing is reduced, resulting in less space for mechanical attachment means.
Apple wants to make powerful, cool-running Mac laptops without any compromise on “the impeller attachment to the pillow or base of the fan can result in reduced shock robustness, which is also a critical requirement of portable computing systems.”
Summary of the patent filing
Here’s Apple’s abstract of the patent filing: “A fan assembly having a reduced dimension formed by several modifications is described. The fan assembly includes a stator having stator coils positioned within a recessed portion of a pillow that receives the motor. The stator may include wire connections positioned between adjacent stator coils and designed to terminate wires of the stator coils.
“The wire terminations may be on a protrusion or a post positioned between adjacent stator coils, or alternatively, the wire terminations may be disposed on protruding features of a bushing. The protrusion may be formed from an electrically conductive material and electrically connected to a motor control circuit via a flexible printed circuit. In some embodiments, the protrusion is part of an electrically neutral stator bushing having several pins. Also, a gap region between the bushing and a flange feature is designed to improve an adhesive joint.”