In a design competition by the mechanical engineering students at Carnegie Mellon University, which was the design of heat sinks for electronic cooling applications, twenty seven heat sinks were designed and tested for thermal performance. A heat sink with three rows of 9, 8, and 9 dimpled rectangular fins (staggered configuration) demonstrated the best performance in the test. This heat sink even had the least total volume (about 25% less than the set value). This paper reports on an effort made to verify and quantify the role of dimples on heat transfer enhancement of the heat sinks. This includes measurements and simulations of the thermal fluid properties of the heat sinks with and without dimples. Results of both the measurements and simulations indicate that dimples do in fact improve heat transfer capability of the heat sinks. Albeit, dimpled fins cause more pressure drop in air along the heat sink. Keeping the total volume of the heat sink and the height of the fins constant and changing the number of the fins and their arrangement show that there exist an optimum number of fins for the best performance of the heat sink. However, this number of fins is different for inline and staggered arrangements. To check the role of the roughness type on the heat transfer behavior of the fins, a heat sink with twenty-seven bumped fins with inline arrangement was also simulated. Results indicated that bumps increase both thermal resistance and pressure drop relative to that of the heat sinks with plain fins.

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