Thermal Design

LED Cooler

Finding the right thermal design is becoming an increasing necessity for electronics manufacturers of today. That's because the use of off-the-shelf heatsinks might not be enough to comprehensively deal with the complex thermal needs of many products and systems being currently being made. Fortunately, however, there are many creative solutions in heatsink design and thermal management that can be used to create the best thermal strategies possible.

A common problem faced by manufacturers is finding the right thermal design that allows for the best transfer of heat inside - or into - the heatsink. Getting heat from its source over to the cooling fins of a heatsink has often forced designers to use thicker, more conductive fins, and thereby cut back on other necessary features such as surface area. To circumvent the heatsink and maximize its surface area, some thermal designers employ heat pipes to transfer thermal energy directly from the heat source the cooling fins of the heatsink.

Heat pipes work by using liquid evaporation to pull in large amounts of heat to transfer elsewhere. They can operate as either external or internal components of a heatsink. When space is limited, they provide a vital thermal design option by carrying thermal energy from a heat source - a CPU in a notebook computer, for example -over to a heatsink located further away. As an internal feature of a heatsink, pipes can transfer heat to the cooling fins without having to disrupt the fin structure that is already optimized for a high level of surface area.

Another necessity when designing thermal efficiency is finding a good ventilation system. In order for heatsinks to function, fans must clear out heat from the surrounding area. The best cooling system is able to make use of larger fans because they make proportionally less noise for the amount of aeration they provide.