A heat sink (or heatsink) is an object that absorbs and dissipates heat. Heat sinks are used in a wide range of applications (such as LED design) wherever efficient heat dissipation is required. Heat sinks are made of metal or alloy, which usually includes a combination of aluminum and copper. Heatsinks may also consist of one or more flat surfaces to ensure good thermal contact with the components that need to be cooled, and an array of comb or fin like protrusions to increase the surface contact with the air, and thus the rate of heat dissipation.
The performance specification for any heat sink would be thermal resistance or thermal sensitivity, which is typically expressed in C° / W as the temperature increase per watt of heat. When comparing ratings, thermal resistance is a nominal specification. The main factors that affect thermal resistance or thermal sensitivity include increased airflow (aerodynamics), forced air or water-cooling, mounting method, and ambient temperatures. Frequently, on datasheets for heat sinks, thermal resistance is presented as a performance curve.
To increase thermal transfer between component and heatsink, a thermal adhesive (also known as thermal grease) can be added to the base of the heatsink.
Heatsink surface treatment can be Anodized Aluminum (colored) or Copper heatsinks can be plated with Silver or Gold.
Choosing the Right Heat Sink:
When you are looking for the right heat sink, with FutureElectronics.com parametric search, no matter the application, you can filter the results by various attributes: by Thermal Resistance (2 °C/W, 5 °C/W, 13.4 °C/W), by material (Aluminum, Aluminum Black Anodized, Matte Tin), by mounting style (Adhesive, bolt-on, omni-directional) and dimensions to name a few.
Applications for Heatsinks:
Typical applications include thermal management of electronics, often computer central processing unit (CPU) or graphics processors. You can also find them on transistors, power mosfets, or on any component that may dissipate high heat. Sometimes you will find fans used in conjunction with a heatsink to increase overall airflow. This is known as active heatsink cooling. Heatsinks are also important in LED design because they provide a path for heat to dissipate from the LED source to an outside medium.
Heatsinks in R&D Quantities or Production Ready Packaging
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