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ELECTRONICS COOLING | CUSTOM APPLICATIONS

                                                                                                 in the product design cycle to ensure

                                                                                                 high quality, virtual prototyping via

                                                                                                 multiphysics simulation signi cantly cuts

                                                                                                 the time and expenses associated with

                                                                                                 the process by reducing the number

                                                                                                 of prototypes required and allowing

                                                                                                 assessment of viability early in the

                                                                                                 design cycle.

                                                                                                 Using COMSOL Multiphysics®

                                                                                                 software, AltaSim developed and

                                                                                                 validated a multiphysics model of the

                                                                                                 heat sink shown in Figure 1, which

                                                                                                 serves as an indispensable tool for

                                                                                                 design optimization. You can get a good

                                                                                                 impression for the model setup process

                                                                                                 from Figure 2, which outlines the steps

                                                                                                 via the node order in the Model

                                                                                                 Builder window.

                                                                                                 From the validated heat sink model,

                                                                                                 AltaSim developed a custom application

FIGURE 2. COMSOL Desktop showing the Model Builder through which you de ne your model            using the Application Builder, a built-
geometry, materials, and physics. Then mesh your geometry, solve, and postprocess your results.  in feature in COMSOL Multiphysics
                                                                                                 shown in Figure 3. Their simulation

                                                                                                 app, HeatSinkSim, is shown in Figure

                                                                                                 4. By using the Application Builder,

   The overall objective in this example  the design of a heat sink to ensure the                they created an easy-to-use interface
is the timely delivery of high quality    electronics remain well below their                    that allows any user to run complex
products and services to market,          maximum operating temperature. But,                    engineering analyses, including those
through the reliable long-term            what is the best way to optimize the                   who are not simulation specialists.
operation of the power electronics that   heat sink design considering all of the                Central to the Application Builder are its
drive the automated manufacturing         variables involved?                                    Form Editor and Method Editor, which
processes behind essentially all                                                                 allow you to readily add Form objects
consumer goods. As higher production         Although physical prototyping has                   to the app’s user interface as well as
                                          and continues to hold a necessary place

yields are required, increased

performance demands of the electronics

combined with their decreasing size

results in higher power densities and

operating temperatures, which can

compromise extended operation.

To prevent higher operating

temperatures from reducing the

reliability of the control systems for

manufacturing processes, the cooling of

electronic components through passive

heat dissipation and natural convection

is necessary. Heat sinks are therefore

integrated with the electronics on

printed circuit boards (PCBs), as shown

in Figure 1. The heat sink design shown

in the gure uses an array of ns to

increase the surface area available

for heat to escape. The quantity, size,

spacing, and thermal conductivity of

the ns, for example, will affect the

performance of the heat sink for a

given applied power. Ultimately, there    FIGURE 3. COMSOL Desktop® showing the Application Builder through which you design
are many variables that need to be        simulation applications based on your multiphysics models using the Form Editor and
taken into account when optimizing        Method Editor.

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