Heat Sink Design for IGBT Cooling

Figure 1. Simulated Heat Sink Temperatures

Advanced Cooling Technologies (ACT) was selected by a leading company to develop an innovative design that would cool twelve IGBT modules below their maximum juncture temperature.  In addition to the junction temperature requirement, ACT had to work within strict size, noise and temperature uniformity requirements as well.  As is often the case with paralleling IGBTs, load sharing can be difficult to achieve without intelligent thermal designs.

Using ACT’s in-house code and CFD simulations, the design team paired a custom heat sink design with a fan that easily integrated into the customer’s assembly.  The wide fin pitch selected for this design allowed for higher air flow rates from the fans, which was critical to achieving the temperature uniformity requirement.  After running thermal simulations on heat sinks with and without heat pipes, it was decided that at this time, the customer would be able to meet their thermal requirements with a custom heat sink without heat pipes.

Utilizing its engineering experience and thermal software capabilities, ACT was able to design the customer a low-cost heat sink with excellent thermal performance.  The analysis was also able to show that if IGBT power levels increase in the future, the benefits gained by upgrading this heat sink design to include heat pipes, are already known, and the change can be affected without needing changes to the rest of the system.

The key benefits for the customer of this production ready, fully integrated solution provided by ACT, are the temperature uniformity, low operational noise, and small footprint. Providing guidance for the next level thermal solution, for when power levels rise, is the type of added value gained from working with ACT’s experienced engineering staff.

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