Category Archives: heat transfer

Fin Optimization in Heat Sinks and Heat Exchangers

(This article was featured in an issue of Qpedia Thermal e-Magazine, an online publication produced by Advanced Thermal Solutions, Inc. (ATS) dedicated to the thermal management of electronics. To get the current issue or to look through the archives, visit http://www.qats.com/Qpedia-Thermal-eMagazine.)

In electronics cooling, often separately managed Thermal/Mechanical (TM) and Software/Electrical (SE) engineering teams are finding themselves facing common challenges, as they are being driven towards similar business goals, such as product differentiation, company growth and profitability.

More so than ever today, these teams are being directed to find ways to increase component performance, particularly on highly populated boards within complex systems, at an acceptable cost of manufacturing. They are also discovering that their goals are being held back by governing specifications, environmental conditions, mechanical limitations and budget restrictions.

Heat Exchangers

Closeup of fin array on an ATS tube-to-fin heat exchanger. (Advanced Thermal Solutions, Inc.)

TM’s design thermal solutions based on airflow, envelope size, power dissipation, etc. and migrate (as expected) to the lower cost “standard solutions” whenever possible. If adequate margin is not met, reliability implications are more apparent as engineers will have to optimize solutions. This is because, in most cases, the form factor, layout, boundary conditions, etc. are set.

Thermal solutions become the gatekeeper, and in some cases, the determining factor in product deployment.

Many leading companies design their products by using technologies that will sustain long product life cycles for increased market share and brand awareness. As products are refined through the design cycle, thermal solutions may have to be optimized and this requires many investigations to be undertaken.

As the electronics industry continues to use components dissipating more and more power, new heat sink solutions must be able to accommodate large heat fluxes while keeping the same spatial dimensions [1]. Finned heat sinks and heat exchangers are largely employed in many engineering fields, and this demand spurs researchers into devising and testing new geometries for the heat sinks.

Engineers constantly try to develop new designs to enhance the performance of heat exchangers. One such effort is the design of the wavy fins to enhance the surface area.

Figure 1 shows a close up view of an extrusion type thermal solution where the profile has a feature of undulated fins. In general, a wavy fin heat sink should perform better under natural and forced convection due to the increased surface area created by the fins. This feature can easily be manufactured with a die. The “waviness” can be adjusted to increase surface area resulting in a positive impact on thermal performance.

Heat Exchangers

Figure 1. Close-Up View of Simply Wavy Fin Geometry [1]

Theoretical models have been devised to find the pressure drop and the heat transfer from wavy fin geometries. Figure 2 shows the schematic of a wavy fin.

Heat Exchangers

Figure 2. Schematic of a Wavy Fin Geometry [2]

In this figure, the fins are assumed to have a sinusoidal geometry where

λ = Wave length (m)
H = channel width (m)
S = channel height
2A = twice the amplitude of the wave

The shape of the curve is assumed to be:

The length of the curve can be found from the following equation:

Shah and London [3] came up with the following equation for the friction and Nusselt number in channels:

Where,
F = fanning friction factor
aspect ratio

The same equation applies for a wavy fin based on the correct length:

The Nusselt number for the straight fins and wavy fins is the same as long as the correct surface area is used:

The above equations are for the low Reynolds number.

For high Reynolds number Shapiro et. al [4] derived the following equations:

Where,
Dh = hydraulic diameter (m)
Reynolds number based on hydraulic diameter
L = half length of the channel (Le/2)
Pr = prandtl number
Dh = 2SH/(S+H)

The combined asymptotic for the friction and Nusselt number is as follows:

Figure 3 compares the results of the above analytical equations with the results from Kays and London [5]. In the graph, the Colburn j factor is shown and is defined as:

The results show that the experimental values of Shah and London are within 20% band of the values obtained from the above relations. The data is for the fin type 11.44-3/8W.

Heat Exchangers

Figure 3. f and j Values as a Function of Reynolds Number.[2]

Marthinuss et al. [6] reviewed published data for air-cooled heat sinks, primarily from Compact Heat Exchangers by Kays et al [5] and concluded that for identical fin arrays consisting of circular and rectangular passages, including circular tubes, tube banks, straight fins, louvered fins, strip or lanced offset fins, wavy fins and pin fins, the optimum heat sink is a compromise among heat transfer, pressure drop, volume, weight and cost.

Figure 4 shows that if the goal is to get a higher value of heat transfer per unit of pressure drop, the straight fin is the best. Figure 5 shows that when heat transfer per unit height is of concern pin fin is the best.

Heat Exchangers

Figure 4. Profile Comparisons Based on Heat Transfer/Pressure Drop. [6]

Figure 5. Profile Comparisons Based on Heat Transfer/Volume. [6]

Sikka et al. [7] performed experiments on heat sinks with different fin geometries. Figure 6 shows 3 different categories of heat sinks tested. The conventional fins, such as straight and pin fins, are shown in (a); (b) shows the fluted fins and (c) shows the wavy fin design. The tests were done for both horizontal and vertical direction of air flow at natural convection and low Reynolds number forced flow. Table 1 shows the dimensional values of each of these heat sinks.

The last column shows the values of At/Ab (total surface area/base surface area).

Figure 6. (a) Traditional Fins, (b) Fluted Fins, (c) Wavy Fins. [7]

Table 1. Geometries and Dimensions of the Heat Sinks. [7]

The values of the Nusselt number were reported based on the following relation:

Figure 7 shows that for natural convection in the horizontal direction, the pin fin has the best performance. The fluted fins have, in general, a better performance compared to longitudinal fins. The lower graph in figure 7 shows that the wavy fins are essentially the same as the longitudinal fins.

Figure 7. Nusselt Number As a Function of Rayleigh Number for Natural Convection-Horizontal Direction. [7]

Figure 8 shows the natural convection cases for the vertical direction. The figure shows that heat transfer decreases for the pin fin, but increases for the plate fin. The pin fin still is better than the plate fin, but the difference is only 4-6%. Figure 8 also shows that the cross cut heat sink has the best performance. The bottom figure in 8 confirms that the wavy fins do not have much better heat transfer compared to plate fins.

Figure 8. Nusselt Number as a Function of Rayleigh Number for Natural Convection-Vertical Direction. [7]

Figure 9 shows the Nusselt number for forced convection over a horizontal plate as a function of Reynolds number. This figure indicates that, for very low Reynolds numbers, the cross fin is better than the pin fin; but, around Re = 2000, the situation reverses and the pin fin gets better than the cross cut heat sink. For low Reynolds numbers, the longitudinal pins are better than the wavy fins; but, at higher Reynolds numbers, the performance of the wavy fins gets better by almost 12-18%.

Figure 9. Nusselt Number as a Function of Reynolds Number for Forced Convection-Horizontal Direction. [7]

Figure 10 provides the Nusselt numbers for the vertical direction for forced flow. In comparing the results with the horizontal direction, the results are almost the same, with the difference being that the wavy fin heat sinks perform better than the plate fin heat sinks, by about 14-20%.

Figure 10. Nusselt Number as a Function of Reynolds Number for Forced Convection-Vertical Direction.[7]

The results presented in this article strengthen our understanding about how heat exchangers and heat sinks can be made more compact and efficient. The results show that the design of the fin field is still an issue and much remains to be investigated for optimization, depending on the conditions and application.

Further empirical testing is warranted for the evaluation of the effects of wavy fin heat sinks, as fine meshing and a high degree of confidence is not easily obtained through simulating these profiles using commercial CFD tools.

References:

1. Lorenzini, M., “Performance Evaluation of a Wavy-Fin Heat Sink for Power Electronics” Applied Thermal Engineering, 2007.
2. Awad, M., Muzychka, S., “Models for pressure drop and heat transfer in air cooled compact wavy fin heat exchangers”, Journal of Enhanced Heat Transfer, 18(3):191-207(2011).
3. Shah, R., London, A., “Advances in heat transfer, suppl. 1, laminar forced flow convection in ducts”, New York, Academic press, 1978
4. Shapiro, A., Sigel, R., Kline, S., “Friction factor in the laminar entry region of a smooth tube,” Proc., 2nd V.S.Nat. Congress of applied mechanics, PP. 733-741, 1954.
5. Kays, M., London,L., “Compact Heat Exchangers”, Third Edition, McGraw-Hill, 1984.
6. Marthinuss, E., Hall, G., “Air cooled compact heat exchanger design for electronics cooling”, Electronics cooling magazine, Feb 1st, 2004
7. Sikka, K., Torrance, K., Scholler, U., Salanova, I., “Heat sinks with fluted and wavy fins in natural and low-velocity forced convection”, IEEE, Intersoceity Conference, 2000.

For more information about Advanced Thermal Solutions, Inc. thermal management consulting and design services, visit www.qats.com or contact ATS at 781.769.2800 or ats-hq@qats.com.

Dr. Reza Azizian Giving Nanofluid Presentation for PSMA Webinar

Reza Azizian

Dr. Reza Azizian, a research scientist at ATS and an expert on nanofluids, will speak about nanofluid technology as part of a PSMA webinar on Thursday, Oct. 6. (Josh Perry/Advanced Thermal Solutions, Inc.)


On Thursday, Oct. 6, Dr. Reza Azizian, a research scientist at Advanced Thermal Solutions, Inc. (ATS), a leading-edge engineering and manufacturing company focused on the thermal management of electronics, and an expert on nanofluid technology, nano-engineered surfaces, fluid dynamics, heat transfer and two-phase flow, will present “Nanofluids for Electric Cooling” as part of a webinar sponsored by the Power Sources Manufacturers Association (PSMA).

Dr. Azizian will join a panel of experts to discuss the enhanced heat transfer properties of nanofluids and their potential for the thermal management of compact, liquid-cooled electronics. Dr. Azizian will present an overview of the current stage of nanofluids technology, state-of-the-art research into nanofluid thermos-physical properties, convective heat transfer, and boiling heat transfer.

Prior to the webinar, Dr. Azizian sat down with the Josh Perry, Marketing Communications Specialist at ATS, to speak about his career, his interest in nanofluids technology, and the upcoming webinar.

JP: Thank you for sitting down with us. We want to highlight the work that the engineers are doing here at ATS, so I appreciate you taking a few minutes out of your schedule for this Q&A. I saw on your bio that you got your doctorate in Australia, is that where you’re from?
RA: Thanks for having me! No, originally I am from Iran and I did my undergraduate there; then I moved to Turkey and did my Master’s in Turkey. After that I moved to Australia and I did my Ph.D. in Australia. And then I ended up in Boston and did my post-doc at MIT.

JP: How did you end up at MIT?
RA: There is a very famous professor at MIT who was working on heat transfer in nanofluids back then. I invited him to Australia. He came and visited our facility in Australia and gave a talk and then he became interested in my research. Then he invited me over and during my Ph.D. I came to MIT as a visiting student and I was here for a year and then I went back to finish my Ph.D. and came back as a post-doc.

JP: How did you end up joining the team at ATS?
RA: It was four years ago as a visiting student. I have a very good friend in Australia and I was always interested in high technology, heat transfer, electronic cooling, and then he sent me the link to the ATS website and said, ‘Hey Reza, while you’re in Boston, you might want to visit this company.’ I thought, wow this is cool. I went through the website to see what ATS does and saw some fascinating projects done by ATS. So, I emailed Dr. Kaveh Azar and he responded to one of my emails and then that’s how we got in touch and then I visited the ATS facility, and coincidentally when I went back to MIT and I was talking to my supervisor and I said, ‘Oh, I went and visited this company and they’re doing a great job.’ He said, ‘Oh, the name is very familiar.’ We realized that when he graduated, something like 16 years ago, he applied here for a job and got a job offer but he got a position at MIT so now he’s a professor there. I kept my contact with Kaveh and then I went back to Australia and finished my Ph.D. After I came back to the U.S. as a post-doc, I invited them to MIT to come and visit our laboratory. So, we stayed in touch.

That’s how I came to know ATS and I realized that they are doing a great job in electric cooling and I was always interested because in electronic cooling there is no limit basically. Electronic equipment is becoming smaller and smaller every day and the only limit is thermal, at least at the moment. The only barrier is thermal issue for the advancement of electronic cooling and that’s why basically all of the funding from the Department of Defense, NASA, etc., it’s all on cooling. Because again, at this stage with all of these nanotechnologies and manufacturing capabilities, they don’t have any barrier to make things smaller except thermal. It’s a very interesting area of research and, you know, when you’re at the university you do cutting-edge research, which is cool, but it’s always nicer to do the research and then build something and use your knowledge in a more applicable way.

JP: Many of the people who read this will probably know, but what are nanofluids?
RA: Nanofluid is the term that you use when you disperse metal or metal oxide nanoparticles, which with the dimensions of 109 m, which is like .000000001 meter…very tiny, and you disperse these in your base fluid, whatever it is – could be water, oil, anything – and because they are tiny they are going to stay dispersed and at the same time because they are metal or metal oxide their thermal conductivity is going to be much higher than your base fluid. In simple language, thermal conductivity means the ability of the material to transfer heat. So, for example, for water the thermal conductivity is .6 W/mK, but for copper it’s like 400 W/mK, so you can assume that by mixing these two, again because the particles are tiny you will still have your liquid, which can easily flow, but at the same time it has higher thermal conductivity compared to the base fluid that you have.

The nanofluid term comes into play because of the heat transfer limitations that you normally have. In very general terms, there are two ways that you can increase the rate of heat transfer. One of them is increasing the surface area and the other is to increase the flow rate. Increasing the surface area, you are normally limited by the space that you have, right, and also increasing the flow rate you should use a bigger pump for example, to have a higher flow rate, which these are all costly. The only option left is if you can play with your working fluid and see how you can improve that and one of the ways you can improve that is by dispersing these nanoparticles to increase the overall thermal conductivity of your working fluid.

JP: How did you get interested in nanofluids? How did that become the focus of your studies and work?
RA: I’ve been working on nanofluids for the past 10 years. I came to know nanofluids during my Master’s and it was for my final-year project. I was looking for something cool and, even back then, nanotechnology was everywhere and then I was looking for something in the area of nanotechnology and heat transfer. I remember, my supervisor didn’t know much and he was like, ‘If you’re going to do this then you’re going to be on your own. I can’t help you much.’ It was funny, I went to the Internet to look up nanofluids and the first thing that came up was the name of this professor at MIT that I was working with during my post-doc. Back then, I remember I was sitting in my office and his name came up and I was telling my office mate, ‘This guy is cool. I’m going to go and work with him one day.’ And he laughed at me like, ‘Oh from here you’re going to go and work with him at MIT? Such a dream.’ And I’m here now.

JP: Obviously there is quite a bit more known about them now, how much has the subject matter changed in the 10 years that you’ve been studying nanofluids?
RA: The good thing is that now there are companies that are actually making nanofluids with very good stability – the particles don’t settle, they stay stable for a long time – and they commercialized a couple of nanofluids that are available now. They even use them in car engines, in the radiators, to increase the rate of cooling. They use it for CPU cooling. Next month, I’m going to go to Europe, there’s an event for the European Union, and they’re trying to basically commercialize nanofluids by 2020. They’re trying to see what are the barriers. The field’s improved a lot. The whole term of nanofluid was invented in 1999, so it’s only 17-18 years. So, it’s a fairly new area of research and seeing this technology commercialized now…the progress was quite fast.

JP: What will you be talking about in the PSMA webinar taking place on Thursday, Oct. 6?
RA: I’m going to be talking about nanofluids in general. What are nanofluids, basically, and what are the applications of nanofluids, in particular, in electronic cooling and high-powered electronics, which is the interest to PSMA. Then I’m going to give a brief explanation about the thermo-physical properties of the nanofluids followed by how they behave under laminar and turbulent flow conditions or even boiling for immersed cooling of electronics. And then I will conclude my talk by [explaining] what is the state-of-the-art and what are the future directions we expect nanofluids are heading to.

JP: Why do you think this is an important topic? Why do you think nanofluids are important as we go forward in the world of electronics cooling?
RA: These tiny particles, you add them to your working fluid and you don’t add much to the pumping power that you’re going to use because they are tiny, but at the same time you see 15-20 percent enhancement (depending on the nanoparticles and working fluid combination) in the heat transfer coefficient without changing any hardware. So, it has a very good potential and, again, this is only for single-phase heat transfer. In the case of immerse cooling of high-powered electronics, which boiling is the main heat transfer mechanism, we were able to see 200-250 percent enhancement in the value of critical heat flux by just changing the working fluid to nanofluid. It’s a very convenient way of doing it.

JP: Do you see nanofluids as the future of the industry? Do you see this is where electronics cooling is heading?
RA: I have to highlight that there are still problems with using nanofluids. This is why there is still research going on in this area. Stability is a big issue. You can use definitely some form of surfactant, which is a polymer that covers these particles’ surfaces and that keeps them dispersed. But in general if you don’t have that these particles, because they are tiny, they are under constant Brownian motion and when they become close to each other they stick to each other and then they agglomerate and they settle. So, there are still some issues that different research groups are trying to address but definitely it’s an area that I think is very useful for electronic cooling.

JP: Is research still going on here at ATS? Are you still really involved in the research and trying to find more applications for it?
RA: Yeah, yeah…we are always trying to push more towards using nanofluids. And hopefully we’ll see more in the future.

If you are interested in the PSMA webinar on Oct. 6, contact power@psma.com no later than Oct. 4. For more information about Advanced Thermal Solutions, Inc., its thermal management products, testing equipment, and consulting services, visit www.qats.com.

ATS maxiGRIP and superGRIP Heat Sink Attachments

Advanced Thermal Solutions John O’Day and Len Alter showcase the patented heat sink attachments maxiGRIP and superGRIP. With its patented and discrete design, these heat sink attachments are well worth it for being your only choice for a cost-effective, high performing thermal solution.

Announcing our ATS Electronics Cooling Webinars for Third Quarter of 2012

ATS, Advanced Thermal Solutions, Inc. will present technical webinars on electronic cooling topics in July, August and September 2012. Each of these free events will provide engineering-level training in a key area of modern thermal management.

Here are the different webinar topics and presentation times:

Using Thermal Interface Materials to Improve Heat Sink Thermal Performance

July 26, 2012 at 2:00 p.m. ET

To cool hotter components, engineers are using larger fans and heat sinks, and increasing surface areas. These hardware enhancements can add significantly to design costs. In many cases, cooling performance can be improved by using a higher performance interface material between the case and the heat sink. Participants will learn the importance of lowering thermal resistance using thermal interface materials, or TIMs, and the different kinds of TIMs available from the market.

Air Jet Impingement Cooling

August 23, 2012 at 2:00 p.m. ET

Ongoing increases in power in devices such as processors and IGBTs mean that higher capacity cooling methods are needed to remove excess heat. One such method is the jet impingement of a liquid or gas onto a surface on a continuous basis. Lab experiments at ATS have shown up to a 40% improvement in cooling achieved using this method. This webinar will explore jet impingement cooling theory, implementation and best practices.

LED Thermal Management in Commercial and Consumer Lighting Applications

September 27, 2012 at 2:00 p.m. ET

Excess heat directly affects both short-term and long-term LED performance. The short-term effects are color shift and reduced light output, while the long-term effect is accelerated lumen depreciation and thus shortened useful life. Participants will learn how to diagnose and solve thermal issues in consumer and commercial LED applications.

Each of these one-hour online tutorials will include detailed visuals, real world examples, instructions, definitions and references. Audience questions will be answered by the presenters during and after the presentation. One or more ATS PhD-level thermal engineers will be presenting live.

There is no cost to attend these ATS webinars, but virtual seating is limited. Registration is available online at http://www.qats.com, or by calling 1-781-949-2522.

http://qats.com/Training/Webinars/7.aspx

 

Thermal Resistance and Component Temperature

To maintain operation, the heat must flow out of a semiconductor as such a rate as to ensure acceptable junction temperatures. This heat flow encounters resistance as it moves from the junction throughout the device package, much like electrons face resistance when flowing through a wire. In thermodynamic terms, this resistance is known as conduction resistance and consists of several parts. From the junction, heat can flow toward the case of the component, where a heat sink may be located. This is referred to as ÎJC, or junction to case thermal resistance. Heat can also flow away from the top surface of the component and into the board. This is known as junction to board resistance, or ΘJB.

Source: JESD51-2, Integrated Circuits Thermal Test Method – Natural Convection, JEDEC, March 1999.

ΘJB is defined as the temperature difference between the junction and the board divided by the power when the heat path is from junction to board only. To measure ΘJB, the top of the device is insulated and a cold plate is attached to the board edge (Figure 1). This is the true thermal resistance, which is the characteristic of the device. The only problem is that, in a real application one does not know how much power is being transmitted from different paths.

Due to the multiple heat transfer paths within a component, a single resistance cannot be used to accurately calculate the junction temperature. The thermal resistance from junction to ambient must be broken down further into a network of resistances to improve the accuracy of junction temperature prediction. A simplified resistor network is shown in Figure 2.

As board layouts become denser, there is a need to design optimized thermal solutions that use the least amount of space possible. Simply put, there is no margin to allow for over-designed heat sinks with tight component spacing. Accounting for the effect of board coupling is an important part of this optimization. The possibility for using an oversized heat sink exists only if the junction to case heat transfer path is considered.

To ensure a 105°C junction temperature at 55°C ambient a typical component (see Table 1) needs a heat sink resistance of 2.05°C/W (if we ignore board conduction). When board conduction is taken into account, the actual junction temperature could be as low as 74°C, assuming the board temperature is the same as the air temperature. This indicates a heat sink that is larger than necessary.

From this example, it is clear that all heat transfer paths from the component junction must be considered. Using just the ΘJC and ΘCA values can lead to a larger than optimal heat sink and may not accurately predict operating junction temperatures. Using the proposed correlation can also predict junction temperature when the board temperature is known from experimentation, as shown in Figure 3.