This paper investigates heat transfer enhancement of an air-cooled plate-fin heat sink by introducing actively-driven agitating plates within its channels. The investigation was computationally conducted with a single actuated plate in a single channel constructed as two fin wall surfaces and one fin base surface. As air flows through the channel, the plate is vibrated transversely to agitate the channel flow and thereby enhance heat transfer. The channel flow and the actuated plate are considered to be driven by a fan and a piezoelectric stack, respectively. A Coefficient of Performance (COP), ratio of total heat dissipated from the fin channel to total electric power to drive the fan and the agitator plate, is employed to evaluate overall heat transfer enhancement. A short plate, i.e. a plate is only placed at the entrance of the channel, has been shown to possess higher COP than a longer plate, i.e. a plate that is extended to be over most of the channel. For the short plate, COP is higher when it is actuated than when it is stationary. Detailed turbulence-kinetic-energy contours indicate that the higher COPs are due to turbulence generated along the plate edges and streamwise acceleration and deceleration of the bulk channel flow; both are induced by the vibration of the plate. Within regions where the plate is present, the generated turbulence and the acceleration and deceleration augment heat transfer. For a short plate, the turbulence and unsteadiness are transported downstream of the actuated plate to increase heat transfer in that region. However, such turbulence and unsteadiness are drawn out of the channel without full benefit of agitation and heat transfer enhancement when the plate is long, as the plate’s trailing edge is already close to the channel exit. This leads to a conclusion that the short plate is a better choice for active heat transfer enhancement.

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