Longitudinal-plate fin heat sinks are optimized under natural convection conditions for the horizontal orientation of the heat sink base plate. The thermal performance of the heat sinks is numerically modeled. The fin height, thickness and spacing and heat sink width are systematically varied. The numerical results are validated by experimentation.
Results show that the thermal resistance of a heat sink minimizes for a certain number of fins on the base plate. The fin spacing-to-length ratio at which the minimum occurs is weakly dependent on the fin height and thickness and heat sink width. The flow fields reveal that the minimum occurs for the heat sink geometry in which the number of fins are maximized such that the flow velocity as the air exits the fins is fully developed. A correlation of the heat transfer with the heat sink geometrical parameters is also developed.