Finned heatsinks have long been used as a passive means to cool electronic components. However, the demand for smaller, high power density products, packaged near one another, has led to the need for a different solution. One such solution is to utilize a material such as paraffin wax and its high latent heat as a phase change material (PCM). A material with high latent heat allows the components to be held at a lower temperature for a period time until all the PCM has melted. The biggest drawback of these materials is their low thermal conductivity, which does not effectively transfer the heat away from the heat source. This paper presents the experimental and numerical results of various fin geometries effectiveness at overcoming this issue. A 15.24cm × 7.62cm × 5.08cm aluminum housing was fabricated and commercially available fins were modified and inserted into the housing. Pure paraffin wax was melted and poured into the enclosure to act as the phase change material. A heater was attached to the bottom of the housing. Temperature and melt time data was collected. A computational study was then conducted using ANSYS Fluent and the results of the experiment were used to validate the model. The model was then used to study the effects of different fin geometries and heat loads.

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