Category Archives: How to Select a Heat Sink

“Heat Sink Selection Made Easy” Free Technical Webinar on June 13

PCB from Tellabs- smaller sige


Advanced Thermal Solutions, Inc. (ATS) will present Heat Sink Selection Made Easy, a free technical webinar for engineers involved in the thermal management of electronic components. The hour-long webinar begins at 2:00 ET on Thursday, June 13.

The heat dissipation needs of todays components are more challenging than ever. Choosing the right heat sink the first time is essential. With so many application requirements and heat sink options, this can be a daunting task, but it is made easier by having an informed approach.

In this webinar, attendees will learn the importance of system airflow and its impact on heat sink design; attachment methods and how to solve thermal and mechanical design challenges; and how to make the right off-the-shelf or custom heat sink choice for your application and budget.

Presenting Heat Sink Selection Made Easy is Dr. Kaveh Azar, president, CEO and founder of Advanced Thermal Solutions. Dr. Azar is an active participant in the electronics thermal community and has served as the organizer, general chair and the keynote speaker at national and international conferences sponsored by ASME, IEEE and AIAA.

How to View the June 13th Webinar:

  • The webinar starts at 2PM ET and will be available for 24 hours, until 2PM ET Friday the 14th.
  • ATS felt that this approach would help engineers in other time zones to be able to watch the webinar.

How to Ask Questions?

  • Today’s webinar speaker, Dr. Kaveh Azar, is happy to take your questions via email.
  • Please send email to and write in the email’s subject, “Heat Sink Selection Webinar Question”




Why Temperature is Critical in Thermal Management

Last week in this series on How to Select a Heat Sink for an OEM Project, we talked about why thermal management is a challenge to design for. This week we want to talk about why temperature is critical in Thermal Management.

The fact that temperature is critical in thermal management would seem self-evident, but, as with many things in thermal management, there’s more here than meets the eyes.

Power dissipation from electronics is on the rise, and so is its consequence on temperature. As a result, accurate temperature measurement is playing a larger role in the successful launch of new products.

Figure 1 shows a typical flow chart for a products design cycle [1]. Thermal engineering is required in three distinct areas: Concept, Prototype, and Verification.

The Role of Thermal Management in the Product Design Cycle

At the Concept level, thermal analysis is performed to ascertain the design feasibility and move the product to the Prototype stage. Here, the product is assembled and temperature measurements are taken to ensure the design meets the intended specs while there is a level of system functionality. If the design passes this stage, the product is fabricated. Then, the fully-functional system is checked for adherence to its intended design features while it is stressed at elevated temperatures. This is part of the Verification stage.

At all three stages, accurate knowledge of temperature is needed to ensure the system meets expected performance levels. An engineer designing an MRI system certainly wouldn’t want to include non-existing, extra features in the digital image as a result of excess temperature. Nor, by analogy, would someone transferring funds in a bank transaction want their electronics to place extra zeros in the transfer amount because of temperature overshoots in the system.

Equally important is the expected life of an electronics system. Every company wants to ensure that its products will successfully function in their intended environment. And every company wants their products to be first on the market. To support these goals, a fair amount of reliability calculations must be performed.

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How to Select a Heat Sink: Why Thermal Management is a Challenge

Today we are kicking off a series of articles on how to select a heat sink for an OEM project. The principles are the same for overclockers building their own systems with one difference. In OEM projects, mechanical engineers usually (but not always) have a chance to simulate the design before hand and suggest changes to chassis and layout to help with airflow.

So, let’s get started with some basics. First, why is thermal management a challenge? There’s a few reasons and many of these are only getting worse if you consider them from the world of thermal engineering.

First on our list is higher frequency circuits. The International Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors notes that, “projected power density and junction-to-ambient thermal resistance for high-performance chips at the 14 nm generation are >100 W/cm2 and <0.2°C/W, respectively.” In other words, semiconductors are simply getting hotter as their clock speeds are increased.

Second, generally, semiconductors are being assembled into smaller packages. The packages are smaller, the circuits are denser and this combination means that they are warmer.

Third on our list of why thermal management is a (growing) challenge is low acoustic noise requirements. End users don’t want to be deaf just for using electronics. The result is many specifications that set a reasonable acoustic range for their equipment, often in the 100LFM to 400LFM range. This relatively low airflow is great for end users but creates a real challenge for mechanical engineers and systems integrators trying to create a solid system that meets end users needs and still operates at its optimal levels.

Fourth, circuit designers determine component placement. On the surface of this, this is how it should be. Electrical engineers have alot of pressure on them to reduce board latency and design for performance. While they often consider the thermal needs of the systems and circuits, it’s not their primary design point. For mechanical engineers that is what we do and so our challenge is the balancing act of working with EE’s to insure great placement, but also great airflow.

Fifth and finally, thermal management is a challenge because EMI shielding. Higher frequency components require better shielding and that shielding can restrict airflow.

When we pick this topic up next, we’ll cover why temperature is so important to manage. If you have any questions in the mean time about heat sinks or thermal management, contact us and lets see how can make your next project a success! Email us at ATS thermal , call us at 781-769-2800 or visit our heat sink catalog at