In modern electronic components power densities are being increased continuously while the size and weight decrease. The effective dissipating of the heat produced by these components has now become a major design problem. Ordinary heat sinks often used to dissipate this heat, can in many instances no longer be used. Heat sinks therefore need to be designed and optimized for specific applications. The design of these heat sinks requires a difficult trade-off between conflicting parameters, e.g. mass or material cost, maximum temperature and pressure drop. Since these parameters influence one another, optimum designs require the use of mathematical optimization techniques. In the case of heat sinks, the thermal engineer would typically like to optimize the design simultaneously for three design parameters. The parameters are maximum heat sink temperature, mass and pressure drop. In the formulation of such an optimization problem, where more than one design criterion is important, the engineer currently has to assign the relative importance of each design criteria before starting the optimization. A better approach is to perform a range of optimization problems where the relative importance of the design criteria is varied systematically to obtain a trade-off surface of optimum heat sinks. This surface can then be used to investigate the influence of the different design criteria on each other and to select the optimum heat sink for a specific application. In this study such a trade-off surface is created for an extruded heat sink exposed to forced convection. The constructing of this surface is obtained by combining a semi-empirical simulation program, QFin 3.0 with the DYNAMIC-Q optimization method.

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