Heat sinks are designed to increase surface areas that contact a cooling medium, such as the surrounding air. A few of the factors that influence heat sink thermal performance include choice of material, design of the fin surface and approach air velocity. Thermal interface materials along with heat sink attachment processes can also affect integrated circuitry die temperatures. Thermal grease or adhesives fill any air gaps that exist between the device and the heat sink to improve overall thermal performance.
Numerical, experimental and theoretical methods are used for determining the thermal performance of heat sinks produced by an aluminum extrusion heat sink company. These devices transfer thermal energy from high to low temperature fluid mediums. Although the fluid medium usually is air, it can also be other substances such as oil or refrigerants. When water is the fluid medium, heat sinks are commonly referred to as cold plates. With thermodynamics, a heat sink unit is a reservoir that absorbs heat without a significant change in temperature.
Heat sinks used for electronic items require a temperature level higher than its surroundings in order to effectively transfer heat by radiation, conduction or convection. Heat dissipation has always been an unavoidable part of electronic circuitry. Generally, a device or component temperature depends on the amount of thermal resistance coming from the device into the air. To safeguard against component overheating, a thermal engineer will always look for the most efficient path to transfer heat from inside components.
Typically, a heat transfer path runs from a device component to a printed circuitry board. It continues to the heat sink and is then cooled by a fan. Eventually, all heat is dissipated back into its surroundings regardless of the method used. The mechanical or thermal performance of a unit from aluminum heat sink manufacturers can be influenced by several design variations: