The Influence of Material Properties and Spreading Resistance in the Thermal Design of Plate Fin Heat Sinks

[+] Author and Article Information
J. Richard Culham, M. Michael Yovanovich

Microelectronics Heat Transfer Laboratory, Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada N2L 3G1

Waqar A. Khan

Department of Mathematics, COMSATS Information Technology Center, University Road, Post code 22060, Abbottabad, NWFP Pakistan

Yuri S. Muzychka

Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science, Memorial University of Newfoundland, St. John’s NF, Canada, A1B 3X5

J. Electron. Packag 129(1), 76-81 (Mar 31, 2006) (6 pages) doi:10.1115/1.2429713 History: Received December 02, 2005; Revised March 31, 2006

The thermal design of plate fin heat sinks can benefit from optimization procedures where all design variables are simultaneously prescribed, ensuring the best thermodynamic and air flow characteristic possible. While a cursory review of the thermal network established between heat sources and sinks in typical plate fin heat sinks would indicate that the film resistance at the fluid-solid boundary dominates, it is shown that the effects of other resistance elements, such as the spreading resistance and the material resistance, although of lesser magnitude, play an important role in the optimization and selection of heat sink design conditions. An analytical model is presented for calculating the best possible design parameters for plate fin heat sinks using an entropy generation minimization procedure with constrained variable optimization. The method characterizes the contribution to entropy production of all relevant thermal resistances in the path between source and sink as well as the contribution to viscous dissipation associated with fluid flow at the boundaries of the heat sink. The minimization procedure provides a fast, convenient method for establishing the “best case” design characteristics of plate fin heat sinks given a set of prescribed boundary conditions. It is shown that heat sinks made of composite materials containing nonmetallic constituents, with a thermal conductivity as much as an order of magnitude less that typical metallic heat sinks, can provide an effective alternative where performance, cost, and manufacturability are of importance. It is also shown that the spreading resistance encountered when heat flows from a heat source to the base plate of a heat sink, while significant, can be compensated for by making appropriate design modifications to the heat sink.

Copyright © 2007 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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Figure 2

Resistance network

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Figure 3

Heat sink dimensions

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Figure 4

Spreading resistance versus heat source coverage (k=200W∕mK)

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Figure 1

Range of thermal conductivity for heat sink materials



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