Heat sinks are used for electronic equipment and components to provide auxiliary cooling required to prevent overheating of components. These components are designed and optimized to ensure that the electronic equipment operates within the temperature range provided by the manufacturer.
Factors of radiator design
1. Thermal Resistance
Thermal resistance refers to the sum of resistances to heat flow between the die and the coolant fluid. These heat flow resistances include the resistance between the die and the component casing, the resistance between the casing and the heat sink (thermal interface resistance), and the resistance between the heat sink and the fluid in motion.
Although the thermal resistance value is an approximation, it enables the modeling and analysis of thermal characteristics of semiconductor devices and heat sinks. Analyses of different heat sink designs are used to determine heat sink geometries and parameters that enable maximum heat dissipation.
Heat sinks are designed using materials that have high thermal conductivity such as aluminum alloys and copper. Copper offers excellent thermal conductivity, antimicrobial resistance, biofouling resistance, corrosion resistance, and heat absorption. Its properties make it an excellent material for heat sinks but it is more expensive and denser than aluminum. Diamond offers a high thermal conductivity that makes it a suitable material for thermal applications.
3. Arrangement, Shape, Size, and Location of Heat Sink Fins
The flow of the coolant medium is greatly impacted by the arrangement of fins on a heat sink. Optimizing the configuration helps to reduce fluid flow resistance thus allowing more air to go through a heat sink. Its performance is also determined by the shape and design of its fins. Optimizing the shape and size of the fins helps to maximize the heat transfer density. Through modeling, the performance of different fin shapes and configurations can be evaluated.
4. Thermal Interface Material
Surface defects, roughness, and gaps increase thermal contact resistance thereby reducing the effectiveness of a thermal solution. These defects increase the heat flow resistance by reducing the thermal contact area between an electronic component and its heat sink, and therefore the heat sink efficiency. Thermal resistance is reduced by increasing the interface pressure and decreasing the surface roughness. In most cases, there are limits to these resistance reduction methods. To overcome these limits, thermal interface materials are used. The electrical resistivity of a material, contact pressure, and size of the surface gaps should be considered when selecting a thermal interface material for a given thermal application.
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