As we roll towards the end of January, many of us are struggling to keep our new year’s resolution to lose weight. However, for the design engineer faced with packaging devices with increased power and decreased footprint, heat pipe based thermal solutions offer a great way to reduce heat sink size and weight, without deteriorating performance.
In a recent case study at Advanced Cooling Technologies, embedding heat pipes into a standard 150 W finned aluminum heat sink enabled a 35% reduction in heat sink size and weight while delivering equivalent performance. Heat Pipes are rugged completely passive devices that are exceptional conductors of heat, 5-10X the thermal conductivity of copper. Embedding them into a heat sink significantly improves heat spreading.
The effect of heat pipes can be seen in the photos below. On the left is the back of an aluminum heat sink with a 150W heat source attached in the center. The thermal image is red around the heat source, showing slow heat dissipation through conduction. On the right, the three heat pipes embedded into the back of a smaller aluminum heat sink, can be easily observed moving heat away from the heat source. ACT calls this embedded heat pipe solution HiK™ technology. And moving heat away from the heat source more efficiently enables the design engineer to reduce heat sink size, 35% in this case!
So, if you’re looking to reduce the size and weight of your heat sink, heat pipes are a great way to do it. And to reward yourself for a job well done, go ahead and have that piece of cake!