Subject: Heat Sink Design Problem
By: heatsinkn00b (IP: 129.97.8.*)
Written on: 17-01-2005 23:09

Howdy hey!

We are a group of Mech Eng students, designing a heat sink out of stock aluminum parts: L Channel, C Channel, pipe and slab. We have to maximize heat dissipation and minimize volume and weight (< 200g).

We have a good understanding of fin spacing and conduction and convection.

Any tips? We'll let you know if our team wins!

By: Tillmann (IP: 84.57.34.*)
Written on: 18-01-2005 17:33


that's a really cool project! As mechanical engineering students, I suppose you're familiar with typical metal workmanship.

- Make sure you're lapping the contact area to the heat souce as flat as possible
- If you are assembling a heatsink from several parts, lap all parts that are in contact with each other
- If rules permit it, use good quality thermal compound on all contact areas

If you are dealing with a small, high-powered heat source, invest a good part of the allowed weight in the base plate. If your heat source is large with a lower power-per-surface-area, a thinner base plate will do.

One possible low-weight design could be:

Use a thick base plate, and drill holes into it. Cut threads into the holes; cut threads into the pipes, and screw the pipes into the holes. If the base plate is not entirely covered by the heat source, you can get good airflow by using hollow pipes (as opposed to solid aluminum sticks) and drilling through the base plate. Depending on the size of the pipes, the "chimney effect" will help you get good airflow through the pipes.

By: heaksinkn00b (IP: 129.97.68.*)
Written on: 31-01-2005 22:17

Thanks Tillman,

Those are great tips. However we forgot to mention that the sink is mounted vertically, not horizontally which your design assumes. So the standard design is a square base with fins aligned vertically to aide the free convection fluid flow.

We'd like to deviate from the standard (to be different, y'know?), but we're afraid that being too far from the norm will knock down our efficiency, or use too much material.

Thanks again!
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