The present work considers the compact modeling of unshrouded parallel plate heat sinks in laminar forced convection. The computational domain includes three heat sinks in series, cooled by an intake fan. The two upstream heat sinks are represented as “porous blocks”, each with an effective thermal conductivity and a pressure loss coefficient, while the downstream heat sink, assumed to be the component requiring the most accurate characterization, is modeled in detail. A large parametric space covering three typical heat sink geometries, as well as a range of common inlet velocities, separation distances between the heat sinks, and bypass clearances is considered in the development and evaluation of the compact models. The current study uses a boundary layer-based methodology, accounting for both the viscous dissipation and form drag losses, to determine the pressure drop characteristics, and an effective conductivity methodology, using a flow bypass model and Nusselt number correlation, to determine the effective thermal conductivity, for the porous block representation of the heat sink. The results indicate that the introduction of compact heat sinks has little influence on the pressure drop of the critical heat sink. Good agreement in pressure drops, typically in the range of 5%, is also obtained between “detailed” heat sink models and their corresponding porous block representation. The introduction of the compact models is found to have little influence (typically less than 1°C) on the base temperature of the critical heat sinks. For the compact heat sinks, the agreement is again within a typical difference of 5% in thermal resistance. Dramatic improvements were observed in the mesh count (factor > 10X) and solution time (factor >20X) required to achieve a high-fidelity simulation of the velocity, pressure, and temperature fields.

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