Optimal design of a heatsink, meeting program targets for cost, weight, size, and performance, is one of the more challenging activities within most electronics engineering teams. Without a dedicated solver, designers or thermal engineers can be involved in a game of ‘opinioneering’, which typically involves overdesign, or initiate an expensive and time-consuming physical design of experiments that provides limited results
In the case study below, DfR worked to optimize an extruded aluminum heat sink for an IGBT module in a low-cost, high-volume design. Reliability requirements (10-year life), harsh environments (vibration, elevated temperature), limited ability to perform maintenance (consumer household), and cost constraints eliminated forced air cooling as a practical solution. The focus was instead to optimize the design within the dimensional constraints provided by the end-user.