What is Heat sink: Definition and 29 Discussions

A heat sink (also commonly spelled heatsink) is a passive heat exchanger that transfers the heat generated by an electronic or a mechanical device to a fluid medium, often air or a liquid coolant, where it is dissipated away from the device, thereby allowing regulation of the device's temperature. In computers, heat sinks are used to cool CPUs, GPUs, and some chipsets and RAM modules. Heat sinks are used with high-power semiconductor devices such as power transistors and optoelectronics such as lasers and light-emitting diodes (LEDs), where the heat dissipation ability of the component itself is insufficient to moderate its temperature.
A heat sink is designed to maximize its surface area in contact with the cooling medium surrounding it, such as the air. Air velocity, choice of material, protrusion design and surface treatment are factors that affect the performance of a heat sink. Heat sink attachment methods and thermal interface materials also affect the die temperature of the integrated circuit. Thermal adhesive or thermal paste improve the heat sink's performance by filling air gaps between the heat sink and the heat spreader on the device. A heat sink is usually made out of aluminium or copper.

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  1. Tone L

    Heat Transfer & Cooling Capacity

    Hi, zero education on heat transfer here, need some help. I have an electronics module that generates 15 W of electrical power over a 70mm x 20mm x 15mm heat load volume (aluminum). The ambient temperature is 25° C, the maximum temperature the heat sink can be is 40° C (ΔT = 15° C). Does...
  2. FEAnalyst

    Heat sink - calculating temperature at the base

    Hi, I've checked the literature but couldn't find any formulas or examples for this particular problem involving heat sink with straight fins: As you can see, I want to assume: - power at the bottom surface - convection (known ambient temperature and heat transfer coefficient) at the...
  3. E

    Night sky cooling, cooling by transmission or as 'heat sink'

    Howdy all. Regarding the phenomenon of radiative night sky cooling, where an object (such as a blackbody) on the surface of the planet cools via radiating energy into space: can the cooling be ascribed to the transmittance of the radiation through the atmosphere (as such a clearer night with...
  4. HumanistEngineer

    A Solving the Convection-Diffusion Equation for this Pipe with a Heat Sink

    Hi Again, I try to solve the transient temperature propagation through a buried insulated pipe by means of solving the convection-diffusion equation with a heat sink that is the heat loss from the water mass to the ground. Below you can see the details of my calculation steps in my numerical...
  5. prashantakerkar

    Calculators Cooling fan for Smartphones CPU

    Is there a cooling fan with a heat sink on the Smartphones CPU - Quadcore processor and above similar to the desktop and Server CPU? If not, why?. Is it not required? Thanks & Regards, Prashant S Akerkar
  6. T

    Negative Heat Sink thermal resistance

    I'm currently developing a heat sink for a product that produces up to 150 W max power dissipation. I'm currently getting a negative thermal resistance for the heat sink. I don't think that is possible.. I'm not sure how to move on at this point to properly design a heat sink to meet the heat...
  7. Kevin Halagan

    Having trouble with a heat sink in ANSYS NLT

    Hello, I can't seem to get the great data when I am running my heat sink model through ANSYS NLT. I feel like I am overlooking something. Is anyone experienced and has some guidance. It is a simple convection problem with a certain amount of watts running through a cooper pipe into a copper heat...
  8. Y

    I A question about dehumidifiers and condensation

    Hi guys! My question is about the heat sinks (cold side) used in some dehumidifiers. It appears that thick, well spaced fins are used, as opposed to a larger number of thin fins, which I would expect to provide better heat transfer. Am I right in assuming that this is to allow space for...
  9. S

    Leaching considerations with reactive heat sink materials

    I need to cool a slow moving small flow of hydroponic plant water, at most 1000 ppm nutrients, with a pH of typically around 6. I'd like to use aluminum or copper heat sink directly in that fluid stream to drop temp 10 or 20 degrees F down to 50-60F neighborhood. My concern is I don't want...
  10. Harkaran Singh

    Calculating Heat Sink Area for 6ft Deep Heat Rejection

    Could anyone please help me with the area of heat sink required if I want to dump heat 6 feet below the surface? The heat to be rejected is 20000 kW Temperature of the fluid has to be dropped from 30 deg C to 19 deg C. I need rough estimates of the area required to lay down looped pipelines to...
  11. S

    Creating a Battery Bank with Paraffin Wax as a Heat Sink

    I'm in charge of designing a battery bank (using 18650 batteries) that will produce large amounts of heat for a short period of time. The battery bank will be in a near vacuum (~800 Pa), so convective heat transfer will not be effective. Since the operation time is only ~80 seconds, my thought...
  12. S

    Thermal Resistance of Heat Sink

    Homework Statement Calculate the thermal resistance of the heat sink required for the regulator of the question above given the information below [from the datasheet] and the data in the table. Max Load Current (Ilm)= 1A Max Ambient Temp (Ta)= 75°C Thermal Resistance Case to Heat (θchs)=...
  13. J

    Does a heat sink work equally well in both hot and cold environments?

    Hey, I have a question regarding heat transfer. I was wondering if a heat sink works in both ways equally effective. What I mean by that is if we submerge the fins of a heat sink into a hot environment, will it transfer the heat equally effective to cold environment which it's mounted on...
  14. T

    Thermodynamics problem, Heat Engine with two heat sinks

    I'm having a hard time setting up an equation for a heat engine problem with one heat source and two heat sinks given only the temperature of the heat source and temperature of the two heat sinks as: TH = 1000 K TC1 = 200 K TC2 = 300 K It is given that the two heat rejected are of equal value...
  15. T

    Heat flux with oscillating heat sink

    I am curious about the effects of oscillation in a heat transfer system. For example consider a simple system consisting of a heat source, a heat sink, and some generic material through which we will flow heat. http://tempneff.com/Hflux.png If we stack them all together, without...
  16. S

    Need opinion on a heat sink (concept)

    Hello, I want to share a very simple concept with you guys. Last night I randomly modeled a heat sink [the fan is coupled with a motor,cool air will be supplied separately(details are in the picture)], now please give your opinion on it. Will this system work? I don't know if this type of...
  17. S

    How do I calculate the heat sink value for this MOSFET design?

    Hi, i want to design a heat sink for following mosfet http://au.element14.com/vishay-formerly-i-r/irfp360pbf/mosfet-n-400v-23a-to-247ac/dp/8649359 its technical data sheet is provided here http://www.irf.com/product-info/datasheets/data/irfp360.pdf i am not sure how to design it...by...
  18. M

    Calculate Thermal Resitance from Heat Sink Geometry

    Hi all, I have a heat sink for which I know the exact geometry (have the CAD model). This heat sink was custom designed and machined from a hunk of aluminum, though it is very basic and I have a hunch I can find an extrusion or OTS part that will match its performance. Rather than trying to...
  19. M

    Help me understand how much heat sink possible with frozen H2O

    So many questions on this topic...but I guess the starting point would be to explain the reason for the question. That way, maybe someone can help me work backwards to answer the question...and thus I can apply that to other situations. I have a friend who thinks he can make a personal cooling...
  20. J

    Find the Perfect Heat Sink: Closed Four-Sided Design with Open Ends

    I am trying to find a certain type of heat sink. I am looking for these heat sinks that are closed on four sides with open ends as shown in the picture. Can anybody tell me what these are called or where I can purchase them?
  21. Z

    Square Base Heat Sink: Physics Test Q&A

    In my physics test, a question was asked why the heat sink has a square base. Anyone can answer this? i searched the internet but could not find much. Any help would be greatly appreciated. :)
  22. S

    The Optimal Heat Sink for my Lousy Freezer

    For some reason, my freezer stops its pumps once in a while and it does not start again before I turn it off and on again. I would like to increase the time interval it takes for the freezer to heat up above 0°C where the food starts to decay faster. I therefore need a heat sink. The operating...
  23. R

    Finding the Surface Area of a Heat Sink: A Homework Guide

    Hello I've been stuck with this for ever, can't find the relevant formulas Homework Statement Given that the surface area of the first heat sink, S1= 500 cm2 = 0.05 m2 2nd heat sink = ? The thermal resistance between p-n junction and case, RTjb = 0.6˚C/W The thermal resistance...
  24. K

    What heat sink is best for a peltier cooling device?

    Hey all, I am trying to construct a peltier device where the 'cold side' can cool down to about 10 degrees C. I want to be able to run the device for upwards of 30 minutes but I am not sure what heat sink to use to remove the heat from the hot side. Any suggestions on what heat sink to...
  25. J

    Best Heat Absorbing Material for an Underground Heat Sink

    In building a subterranean heat sink for a greenhouse , what would be the best material to use in the heat sink through which the hot air of the greenhouse would be travel to warm. that is what materials would absorb the most heat easily and at the same time slowly release that captured heat...
  26. Z

    Heat sink + a shunt copper tape. Why shunt copper not equal to heat sink temp?

    Hi everyone, I'm working on a project where the processor is attached to a copper tape about 8cm long where it sticks from 1 end of the processor case to the other while remaining length was insulated with a cardboard. the other end was slightly exposed for temperature measurement The...
  27. D

    How to transfer heat dissipate by heat sink into one spot

    I am trying to convert all the heat dissipate by the heat sink into electricity by using thermionic converter. I plan to put my thermionic converter at the bottom of the heat sink fins. However, my thermionic converter is not big enough to cover the entire area of the heat sink fins. Is there...
  28. T

    Thermodynamics heat sink questions

    1.Task is to maintain the temperature a device, lower than 40 C. The unit is operating for 5 minutes and then turned off for a time period that the device temperature reaches ambient temp 25 C. Suppose you have 10 heat sinks of different weights...0.1,0.2,0.3,...1.0 kg. Determine the temperature...
  29. P

    Selecting Material for Water-Cooled Heat Sinks

    Hi I need help selecting a material to make a water-cooled heatsink. The heat sink is to be attached to an integrated circuit (IC), removing 75deg Celcius heat. Ok so most heatsinks are made of Aluminum because of it's high thermal conductivity. Is it the same for water-cooled ones? What...