Heat Sink Cooling Performance for Different LED Packages

LED package

A heat sink is a passive heat exchanger that transfers the heat generated by an electronic or a mechanical device to a fluid medium, where it is dissipated away from the device. This way, the heat sink plays a crucial role in the temperature regulation for the device, preventing overheating. Heat sinks are commonly used in electronics, where cooling is one of the most important aspects.

A light-emitting diode (LED) is a semiconductor device that emits light when an electric current passes through it. Common in consumer electronics, LEDs need to have a proper cooling mechanism, and they usually include a heat sink.

To assess the cooling efficiency of heat sinks, the classical approach of Design – Build – Test – Redesign is time-consuming and expensive. Designers are now turning to CFD, FEA, and thermal analysis to virtually evaluate, test, and optimize designs before they are built, saving production time and cost. Providing them with online simulation software helps cutting down costs even further since there is no need for high computing power for performing those simulations.

Thermal simulation is the computerized method to study the heat dissipation efficiency of a heat sink both in conceptual and detailed design stages. SimScale allows engineers to quickly analyze heat sink designs for thermal resistance and conductivity, 100% in the web browser. Moreover, they can also compare various types that may include active, passive, stamped, single fin, forged, and more.

Studying the Heat Sink Cooling Performance for Different LED Packages

This heat transfer analysis was performed on three different Light Emitting Diode (LED) packages used in consumer electronics. Its focus was to evaluate the cooling performance for different LEDs array placement.

The highest temperature for the LED packages with a pitch of 1 cm (left), 5 mm (middle), and 1 mm (right) on different operating power were compared to experimental data.

LED packages

The comparison clearly shows a major difference in the results of 1 mm pitch package. This is a key indicator that the narrow placement of LEDs resulted in a poor cooling performance as shown in the figure above. In conclusion, if a narrow placement is required, the design of the heat sink needs to be optimized.

For detailed study, visit the Thermal Effects in High Power LED Packaging documentation. To learn more about heat sink simulation with SimScale, visit this dedicated page.

To learn more about how engineering simulation can be used in electronics design, download this case study for free: Thermostructural Analysis of a Chip. 

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