In this paper, a compact modeling method for predicting the thermal characteristics of vertical plate fin heat sinks under natural convection is presented. The plate fin heat sink is modeled using the volume-averaging approach. The solutions for velocity and temperature distributions are obtained by solving the averaged governing equations. In order to validate the model proposed in this paper, experimental investigations are performed. The resulting effective heat transfer coefficients of heat sinks are compared with those obtained through the compact modeling. Under comparison, the analytical solutions based on the compact modeling are shown to predict the heat transfer characteristics of plate fin heat sink quite well. Comparisons with other studies are also conducted. Using the validated model, the thermal resistances of heat sinks are obtained. The heat transfer characteristics of the heat sink under natural convection are compared with those of the heat sink subjected to forced convection. And finally, thermal optimization of heat sink is performed.

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