A Novel Approach to Reducing Heatsink Mass Whilst Preserving Thermal Performance, using FloTHERM

a blog by Robin Bornoff

Heatsinking is a common method to facilitate the removal of heat from a dissipating component, thus reducing source (junction) temperature. Not all portions of the heatsink work with the same effectiveness however. Some parts under perform and so there is an opportunity to identify those portions and remove them so as to save weight and cost without unduly affecting overall thermal performance. The question is how to identify those portions.

The topology of a heatsink is usually very simple. Due more to manufacturing constraints than the ease by which it might be designed. Extruded plate fin type heatsinks require parameters such as x, y, z overall size, base thickness, number of fins, fin thickness etc. Classic simulation based DoE, response surface and gradient based optimsation approaches can then be used to identify a combination of those parameters that best meet thermal design goals.

For this study I’ve used FloTHERM to pre-optimise 2 heatsinks, one for a forced convection operating environment, the other for natural convection, cooling a single heat source  read more