Contact Us

East Bright Technology Limited

ADD:4/F.Meijie Industry and Trade Center, Chenwubei District Changping town, Dongguan City Guangdong province China,523582


Home > Knowledge > Content

Heat transfer principle- The light designer must know

Edit: East Bright Technology Limited    Date: Jul 23, 2016

A heat sink transfers thermal energy from a higher temperature device to a lower temperature fluid medium. The fluid medium is frequently air, but can also be water, refrigerants or oil. If the fluid medium is water, the heat sink is frequently called a cold plate. In thermodynamics a heat sink is a heat reservoir that can absorb an arbitrary amount of heat without significantly changing temperature. Practical heat sinks for electronic devices must have a temperature higher than the surroundings to transfer heat by convection, radiation, and conduction. The power supplies of electronics are not 100% efficient, so extra heat is produced that may be detrimental to the function of the device. As such, a heat sink is included in the design to disperse heat to improve efficient energy use. 

To understand the principle of a heat sink, consider Fourier's law of heat conduction. Fourier's law of heat conduction, simplified to a one-dimensional form in the x-direction, shows that when there is a temperature gradient in a body, heat will be transferred from the higher temperature region to the lower temperature region. The rate at which heat is transferred by conduction,”qk”, is proportional to the product of the temperature gradient and the cross-sectional area through which heat is transferred.

Consider a heat sink in a duct, where air flows through the duct. It is assumed that the heat sink base is higher in temperature than the air. Applying the conservation of energy, for steady-state conditions, and Newton’s law of coolingto the temperature nodes shown in the diagram gives the following set of equations:

Using the mean air temperature is an assumption that is valid for relatively short heat sinks. When compact heat exchangers are calculated, the logarithmic mean air temperature is used. “m” is the air mass flow rate in kg/s.

The above equations show that

•When the air flow through the heat sink decreases, this results in an increase in the average air temperature. This in turn increases the heat sink base temperature. And additionally, the thermal resistance of the heat sink will also increase. The net result is a higher heat sink base temperature.

•The increase in heat sink thermal resistance with decrease in flow rate will be shown later in this article.

•The inlet air temperature relates strongly with the heat sink base temperature. For example, if there is recirculation of air in a product, the inlet air temperature is not the ambient air temperature. The inlet air temperature of the heat sink is therefore higher, which also results in a higher heat sink base temperature.

•If there is no air flow around the heat sink, energy cannot be transferred.

•A heat sink is not a device with the "magical ability to absorb heat like a sponge and send it off to a parallel universe".

Natural convection requires free flow of air over the heat sink. If fins are not aligned vertically, or if fins are too close together to allow sufficient air flow between them, the efficiency of the heat sink will decline.

East Bright Technology Limited
Copyright © East Bright Technology Limited All rights reserved.