Extended surfaces (fins) have been used to enhance heat transfer in many applications. In electronics cooling, fin-based heat sinks are commonly designed so that coolants (gas or liquid) are forced to pass through the narrow straight channel. To improve the overall heat sink performance, this study investigated numerically the details of heat sinks with interrupted and staggered fins cooled by forced convection. Long and narrow flow passages or channels are widely seen in heat sinks. Based on the fundamental theory of heat transfer, however, a new boundary layer can be created periodically with interrupted fins, and the entrance region can produce a very high heat transfer coefficient. The staggered fins can take advantage of the lower temperature flow from the upstream. The tradeoff is the higher pressure loss. A major challenge for heat sink design is to reduce the pressure loss while keeping the heat transfer rate high. The effect of fin shapes on the heat sink performance was also examined. Two different shapes under study are rectangular and elliptic with various gaps between the interrupted fins in the flow direction. In addition, studies were also conducted on the parametric effects of Reynolds number and gap length. It is observed that heat transfer increases with the Reynolds number due to the feature of developing boundary layer. If the same pressure drop is considered, the heat transfer rate of elliptic fins is higher than that of rectangular fins.

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