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Heat transfer and heat sink

  1. Feb 17, 2015 #1

    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 compared to the fins being submerged in a cold environment and we would be cooling the hot environment that the heat sink is mounted on (normal use of a heatsink). A diagram for a better understanding is below.

    Thank you for your answers :) Kotel.png
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 17, 2015 #2


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    The heat transfer will depend on the temperature difference across the boundary. So in this situation, the fins will speed up heat transfer. The heat transfer will eventually slow as the temperature of the cold water warms up to the temperature of the hot water.

    In other words, the fins will help increase heat transfer efficiency. But you still have various other things like energy conservation and heat conduction and so on.
  4. Feb 17, 2015 #3
    Yes this will work. It's common on the pipes within shell and tube heat exchangers (Trane chillers).
    Google image "tubes finned"
  5. Feb 17, 2015 #4


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    Staff: Mentor

    It does depend a bit on the particulars of the system. When you flip the hot and cold, you flip the convection direction.
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