The inherent advantages of forced air cooling have led to the widespread use of fully and partially shrouded heat sinks for the thermal management of high power microprocessors. The superior thermal performance that is achievable in the fully shrouded configuration is accompanied by a significant pressure drop penalty. The concept introduced in the current study, employs a thin sheet-metal “heat shield,” placed around a partially shrouded heat sink, to channel the flow directly into the heat sink. A combined numerical and experimental study has shown that the use of this “heat shield” can substantially enhance heat sink thermal performance, in a channel geometry and air flow range typical of commercial chip packages; making it comparable to that of a fully shrouded heat sink, with a substantially lower pressure drop (50%). In addition, this thermal enhancement device can be easily retrofitted into existing systems; improving performance without major channel and/or fan modifications.

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