Thermal Management

heatsink design

The application of effective thermal management techniques is important for insuring a product's overall efficiency and longevity. When developing a cooling strategy for any electronics component, it is of the utmost importance to set realistic goals of how to properly carry through with heat dissipation - from its source component all the way through to the ambient, cooling air. For the purposes of successful heat reduction, the use of heatsinks is indispensable. Yet deciding which type of heatsink design to use depends largely on the application's thermal requirements. If, for example, a consumer or engineer wishes to overclock his or her computer, then one option to consider is the use of copper either wholly or partially in the heatsink design. This is because copper achieves two times the thermal conductivity of aluminum, and can be applied directly to the heat source while being connected to aluminum plate fins used for cooling. Positioned against the source like that, a copper base is best able to quickly carry heat out and deliver it directly to the cooling fins.

Another aspect of thermal management involves the type of innovative thinking that brought heat pipes into the picture. Used either externally or internally to the heatsink itself, a heat pipe is a rapid conductor of thermal energy that works through the physical properties of condensation. Like the copper base, it can operate inside the heatsink by moving heat directly from its source to the cooling fins. Outside of the heatsink, heat pipes are especially useful in limited space environments, such as that of a CPU cooling system in a notebook computer. Here, the highly effective thermal management has involved the heat pipe being attached to the CPU and connected to the remote heatsink placed in the nearest available space. In addition to these methods, there are many more creative solutions to managing components' thermal requirements.