Performance Measurement and Design Optimization of a Cooling Fin Array

By Roger Bond, Kelly Bray, Marcellino Valdez, and Matthew Rickard

Fin Array based on Optimal Design (left); Half Length Version of the Optimal Design (right).
Fin Array based on Optimal Design (left); Half Length Version of the Optimal Design (right).

Abstract: As part of an undergraduate mechanical engineering course at California Baptist University, we have performed a design optimization study of a fin array for cooling. We compared the heat transfer effectiveness and efficiency of nine different finned heat sink designs using theoretical analysis in order to define an optimum design. The nine designs varied by material, number of fins, and shape of the fins. Using the theoretical results, the best heat sink design was constructed. The performance of the selected fin design was measured using an electric heat source and measuring the temperature of the fin plate relative to ambient using thermistors. An uncertainty analysis was performed on the measurements and the experimental approximation of the convective heat transfer was estimated.