A number of modeling approaches of increasing levels of complexity for the analysis of convective heat transfer in microchannels are presented and compared. A detailed computational fluid dynamics (CFD) model is used to obtain baseline results against which the different approximate approaches are compared. These include a 1-D resistance model, a fin approach, two fin-liquid coupled models, and a porous medium approach, all of which are amenable to closed-form solutions for the temperature field. The good agreement between the exact and approximate methods indicates that with carefully chosen assumptions, these analytical results can lead to adequate descriptions of the thermal performance, while allowing easier manipulation of microchannel geometries for the purpose of optimization. Practical optimization procedures are developed to minimize the overall thermal resistance of microchannel heat sinks, using each of the five approaches.

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