There is an increasing need for low profile thermal management solutions for applications in the range of five to ten watts targeted at portable electronic devices. This need is emerging due to enhanced power dissipation levels in portable electronics. This work focuses upon the optimization of such a solution within certain constraints of profile and footprint area. A number of fan geometries have been investigated where both the inlet and exit rotor angles are varied relative to the heat conducting fins on a heat sink. The ratio of fan diameter to heat sink fin length was also varied. The objective was to determine the optimal solution from a thermal management perspective within defined constraints. The results show good thermal performance for low profile thermal management solutions, and highlight the need to develop the heat sink and fan as an integrated thermal solution rather than in isolation as is the traditional methodology. It is also found that while increasing pumping power generally improves the thermal performance, only small gains are achieved for relatively large pumping power increases. This is important in optimizing portable systems which are powered by limited battery life.

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