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Electric devices generate heat due to operation processes. Every device has a maximum operating temperature. The usable life cycle of a device decreases quickly being operated at a higher temperature. In order to prevent failure the heat must be removed efficiently to the ambient environment.

To disspate the harmful heat the devices are connected to a cooling element, regularly a heat sink.

The performance of a heat sink is definded by:
  • the thermal conductivity of its material
  • the dimension of the heat dissipating surface
  • the mass of the heat sink
  • the homogeneity and direction of the microstructure
  • the ambient heat capturing medium ( air, water )
Other influencing parameters are:
  • speed and temperature of the ambient medium
  • the mounting situation and direction
  • fastening of the heat sink
  • the interface material in application
The most common heat sink technologies are extruded profiles, limited by the two dimensional setting of forming (silouette, cut-out), and die-casted heat sinks, limited by the poor thermal conductivity of its material.

Die-casted pin-fin heat sink are a very common cooling solution in the automotive Segment. The outperformance by pure-aluminium pin-fin heat sinks was first stated in a comprehensive basic study by the Technical University of Aachen the Institut ISEA under Prof. Rik De Doncker.

The thermal conductivity of pure aluminium ( > 220 W/ms ) as well as the new processing technology show a clear higher performance to casted as well as extruded heat sinks. For circumstances of natural convection as well as for set ups of forced convection.

A guideline for a comparative improvement to thermal performance could be:

+ 40 % to die-casted heat sinks
+ 30 % to extruded heat sinks
+ 15 % to forged heat sinks

Imprint PINBLOC 2005