Heat Sinks (Heat Spreaders & Heat Exchangers) for LED Lighting and Electronics

Mike Burkhart / August 2, 2017
Heat Sinks (Heat Spreaders & Heat Exchangers) for LED Lighting and Electronics

Heat Sinks (Heat Spreaders & Heat Exchangers) for LED Lighting and Electronics

If you’re a seasoned manufacturer of electronic devices or their parts, you know that a heat sink is a crucial component for keeping processors cool. This simple yet imperative piece of equipment incorporates a fan or peltier device to bring temperatures down and allows computers and other automated machines to work at their optimal levels. You probably are also aware of the challenges in finding a heat sink manufacturer for your lighting or electronics products that can maintain quality standards for materials and the actual die casting process. This article discusses the various types of heat sinks we can help to develop as die castings, and why you should consider PHB for everything from designing the heat sink dies to machining, assembling and meeting finishing requirements for the final part.

Active vs. Passive Heat Sinks

There are two types of heat sink: active and passive. Active heat sinks generally have a fan or peltier cooling device attached to pull heat away from the computer chip. Fittingly, these fan style heat sinks are referred to as HSFs, or heat sink and fan. To ensure high quality, PHB generally recommends a heat sink with a ball-bearing motor, as the lifespan of this construction is much longer than that of the sleeve bearing model.

While active heat sinks can be extremely effective at cooling machines, they do have a downside: the fan and/or peltier cooling device requires a connection to a power supply, and because of this dependence on electricity, active heat sinks are more prone to failure than passive heat spreaders.

Conversely, passive heat sinks have no motor, moving parts, and don’t require a power supply.
They’re simply a solid state solution for pulling heat away from a device. In fact, passive heat sinks are made to dissipate heat through convection, making them 100% reliable without electricity.

Finding a Quality Heat Sink Manufacturer

Although there are design differences, the purpose for active and passive heat sinks remain the same: to transfer heat generated by electronic or mechanical devices and turn it into a fluid medium (air or liquid coolant). In order to find a heat sink that can continually work at full bore, you need to find a manufacturer that can produce die castings that allow for steady airflow and are composed of quality materials.

The Importance of Testing the Design

To understand the importance of design, it’s helpful to understand how heat is transferred. There are four main ways that heat sinks can control temperature:

  1. Conduction
  2. Convection
  3. Radiation
  4. A combination of all three

To ensure the highest performance from heat exchangers, it’s critical that manufacturers utilize simulation software to determine thermal energy transfer, proper velocity of coolant fluid, thermal conductivity of the material used, and determine the best method of attachment. Once the design is complete PHB uses process simulation to gain deeper insights into a part’s design and help successfully create the part as a die casting.

For instance, a huge contributor to a heat sink’s performance is the shape and design of the fins. By testing different models, manufacturers can optimize the size, shape, and arrangement of the heat spreader, and ultimately maximize heat transfer density.

Analysis for Thermal Resistance

While the thermal resistance value remains somewhat of an estimate even with process simulation software, it’s important that manufacturers analyze this metric to determine the thermal characteristic of heat sinks. Once a facility has tested multiple designs, they can produce parts with maximum heat dissipation.

Quality Die Cast Materials

Experienced manufacturers know that only materials with high thermal conductivity can be used to create heat spreaders. Aluminum alloy has great corrosion resistance, mechanical properties, electrical conductivity, and most importantly, high thermal conductivity, making it a front runner for heat sink die casting material. Another plus? It’s affordable.

Moreover, the thermal interface material should be carefully chosen and meticulously examined for defects, irregularity, and gaps, as this will reduce the efficacy of the heat sink. This drop in performance is due to the increase in heat flow resistance caused by the contact area between a heat sink and the electronic device with which it is in contact. This is why quality, smooth-surfaced, thermal interface materials are carefully selected to boost and maintain high performance.

PHB’s Heat Sink Strategy

We understand heat sinks are an essential component for a multitude of electronic devices, from computer towers to LEDs. Without them, the buildup of heat would reduce performance and potentially damage the surrounding parts.

At PHB we ensure our heat sinks are manufactured with high quality aluminum alloy, are designed for superior performance, and are made to meet your exact specifications. If you’re looking for an experienced, state-of-the-art facility to help develop and manufacture your heat sinks, look no further than PHB.

choose phb for your heat sink manufacturing needs today

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