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Materials – 3-D-printed heat sinks

Topic: Clean Energy

Temperature is represented by different colors for this heat sink for a 50-kilowatt DC-to-DC converter with red being the hottest.July 6, 2016 — Increased power densities in electronics will require more efficient heat sinks, and additive manufacturing combined with a simple thermal annealing process could help designers meet that goal. A team that includes Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s Tong Wu reported that while a 3-D printed aluminum alloy heat sink equaled or measured 10 percent worse than those manufactured conventionally, after the treatment the performance gap vanished. In fact, the optimized heat sink demonstrated a 22.8 percent reduction in junction temperature and 33 percent reduction in weight, said Wu, a member of ORNL’s Power Electronics and Electric Machinery Research Center. Additive manufacturing makes it possible to produce one-piece exchangers with complex internal structures able to efficiently dissipate heat.