Study and Optimization of Horizontal-Base Pin-Fin Heat Sinks in Natural Convection and Radiation

D. Sahray, H. Shmueli, G. Ziskind, R. Letan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper aims at deeper understanding of heat transfer from horizontal-base pin-fin heat sinks with exposed edges in free convection of air. The effects of fin height and fin population density are studied experimentally and numerically. The sinks are made of aluminum, and there is no contact resistance between the base and the fins. All the sinks studied have the same base dimensions and are heated using foil electrical heaters. The fins have a constant square cross section, whereas the fin height and pitch vary. The heat input is set, and temperatures of the base and fins are measured. In the corresponding numerical study, the sinks and their environment are modeled using the FLUENT 6.3 software. The results show that heat-transfer enhancement due to the fins is not monotonic. The differences between sparsely and densely populated sinks are assessed quantitatively and analyzed for various fin heights. Also analyzed is the heat flux distribution at the edges and center of the sink. A relative contribution of outer and inner fin rows in the sink is assessed, together with the effect of fin location in the array on the heat-transfer rate from an individual fin. By decoupling convection from radiation, a dimensional analysis of the results for natural convection is attempted. A correlation presenting the Nusselt number versus the Rayleigh number is suggested, where the “clear” spacing between fins serves as the characteristic length.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)012503/1-13
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Heat Transfer
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2009


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