An experimental study is performed on one of the smallest commercially available miniature fans, suitable for cooling portable electronic devices, used in conjunction with both finned and finless heat sinks of equal exterior dimensions. The maximum overall footprint area of the cooling solution is 534mm2 with a profile height of 5 mm. Previous analysis has shown that due to fan exit angle, flow does not enter the heat sinks parallel to the fins or bounding walls. This results in a nonuniform flow rate within the channels of the finned and finless heat sinks along with impingement of the flow at the entrance giving rise to large entrance pressure losses. In this paper straightening diffusers were attached at the exit of the fan, which resulted in aligning the flow entering the heat sinks with the fins and channel walls. Detailed velocity measurements were obtained using particle image velocimetry, which provided a further insight into the physics of the flow in such miniature geometries and in designing the straightening diffusers. The thermal analysis results indicate that the cooling power of the solution is increased by up to 20% through the introduction of a diffuser, hence demonstrating the need for integrated fan and heat sink design of low profile applications.

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