This paper discusses the “inlet temperature difference” (ITD) based heat-exchanger (and its variants) design methodology frequently used by designers of electronic heat sinks. This is at variance with the accepted methodology recommended in standard heat-exchanger textbooks—the “log-mean temperature difference,” or the equivalent ε-NTU design method. The purpose of this paper is to evaluate and discuss the ITD based design methodology. The paper shows that the ITD based method is an approximation at best. Variants of the method can lead to either under- or overprediction of the heat transfer rate. Its shortcomings are evaluated and designers are directed to the well established and accepted design methodology.

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