(July 18, 2016) The complimenting research done by Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the University of Tennessee Knoxville has found a way to improve the heat dissipation in electronics using 3D printing.
According to 3DPrint.com, “[Oak Ridge] researchers are showing that 3D printed aluminum may be a more viable source for conducting heat than traditional materials. And at [Tennessee], a team has taken on the challenge of making genetic algorithms that combined with the customization available through 3D printing, allow for better heatsinks.”
“In comparing aluminum materials, the researchers compared thermal conductivity,” 3DPrint.com reported, “Pitting the traditional 6061 aluminum heatsink (with <1% Si and 1.5% Mg) against one 3D printed through direct metal laser sintering by Linear Mold AMS (using10% Si and 0.5% M), they found that the 3D printed model performed much better after [heat] treatment.”
The 3D printed heat sink “rose to a permanent thermal conductivity of just under 200W/mK” from 180W/mK, according to 3DPrint.com.
The researchers then tested the performance of shapes and their designs by employing “their genetic design algorithms and finite element modeling in COMSOL software, using a 50kW water-cooled silicon carbide H-bridge inverter for electric vehicles as an example,” reported 3DPrint.com. They printed another heat sink to compare with the reference, and evaluated their work through the badness function.
The results were a bit less than desirable, but the researchers concluded creating an improved 3D-printed heat sink is possible, although the “process may be changed in future work.”
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