What is Heatsink: Definition and 13 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. KyleGranger

    Heatsink and Fan Design/Simulation

    I would like to do a simulation comparing the cooling performance of a heatsink with various parameters such as fin length, fin thickness, fin spacing, etc. I have Ansys Icepak available for this simulation. From what I see, I can set the inlet pressure or velocity. The fan gives me CFM so I'm...
  2. Ramazan Duzgun

    What is the design methodology of a Heatsink for a high-power diode?

    In reference of Ned Mohan's book, I have designed a heatsink, firstly natural convection taken into account, but laboratory test results and theoretical calculations are not matching. The test results: For 40 A (means 62 W), 30 Celsius ambient temp, it raised up 51 Celsius. So, Rs-a =...
  3. 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...
  4. P

    Calculate thermal resistance of heatsink required

    Homework Statement Q4) Calculate the thermal resistance of the heat sink required for the regulator of Q3 above given the information below [from the datasheet] and the data in the table. Q3 FIGURE 2 shows an adjustable voltage regulator using the LT1083*. The LT1083 develops a 1.25V reference...
  5. fredey

    What would happen if? you heatsink earth and space

    It is a thought I just thought of with all the wonderful attention that climate change has been getting recently. The thought goes as follows: The world has ever increasing entropy as the whole universe has so. With humans adding to this effect even if green house gases curbed due to this...
  6. P

    Does the Exposed Copper Affect the Temperature of the Center of a Heatsink?

    i need some help understanding this not-so-simple heatsink model. lets say i have a length of copper wire, say 8ft long, and i put tubular insulation around the wire for just a section of it, say a 4ft length and it is co-centered on the wire (2ft on each side is in ambient air), for giggles...
  7. S

    Can a Warped Heatsink be Straightened for PCB Mounting?

    Hi, I need advise on a heatsink warpage(see attached), the heatsink is deflected in the middle about 2mm off, i need to mount pcb on it and might cause cracking over time, I was wondering if any experienced engineers have a good approach to straighten it? Thanks Seth
  8. N

    Thermodynamics: 2 heatsources together and a heatsink

    I am going to create a model, with two heatsources closely spaced (Cables with a current) Covered with dirt and at a distance 1.3m from each cable there are a heatsink surround them. My problem is when I am going to create the model, I am not sure at what temperature i need to calculate the...
  9. B

    Copper sulfate build up on copper heatsink?

    I came home from a vacation to find my computer conpletely dead, I am assuming it's lightning from major storms that rocked south ontario last week. I have noticed that I have deposits of copper sulfate on my copper heat sink and cpu cooler made by zalman. I am wondering what would cause...
  10. W

    Choosing the Right Heatsink for Your Project

    Hello again I'm trying to decide on the correct heatsink for my project, but I'm not sure exactly what I'm looking at. On Digikey, each heatsink has values for Thermal Resistivity and Power Dissipation. This is the datasheet information for the MOSFET: Tj = -55 to +175 C Rds(on) = .02...
  11. A

    Figuring power dissipation increase w/ heatsink

    Hello! I'm trying to make sense of what is probably simple. Imagine I have an IC package that is rated to dissipate at most 1 Watt. The thermal resistance from case to ambient is not known (could maybe be generalized). I have a heatsink that has a thermal resistance of 20°C/W. Can I...
  12. J

    Seeking Heatsink for 8-Pin DIP IC

    Hello All, I have a circuit with an 8-pin DIP IC mounted in an IC socket. I am looking for a snap-on heatsink that I can put on it to keep it from overheating but I am having some trouble finding one. I checked Mouser/Digikey and neither one seems to have anything (for an 8-Pin DIP anyway)...
  13. dink

    Heatsink Recommendations for xp-3000

    Having problems with stability on new xp-3000. I just realized my cpu is cruising at a 'cool' 75 C. Fan I'm using is a YSTech something or other 47 CFM. I figure the fan is fine thinking 47 CFM is quite high. Any ideas for heatsink? Right now I'm using a boxed aluminum heatsink from a 1.3...