'Optimize Electronics Package Cooling with CFD' simulation project by vaibhav_s


I created a new simulation project called 'Optimize Electronics Package Cooling with CFD':

A problem of interest of the electronics industry is the cooling of equipments in electronics package and the associated ventilation system project to guarantee the optimal operational conditions. The relevance of the proper operation of electronic equipment increases considerably when high economical costs, performance reduction and safety are involved. The appropriate operational conditions of the electronic components happen when the working temperature of the equipment installed in the rack is inside a safety project temperature margin. Therefore, the analysis and modelling of conjugate heat transfer processes for electronics package design becomes mandatory. This project presents a parametric study considering optimization of fresh air inlet flow rate in electronic equipment.

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Optimize Electronics Cooling with CFD


The Engineering Problem

The trend for densely populated electronics packages and high processing speeds of power electronics and telecommunication systems has created a real challenge to develop sustainable thermal management solutions. The problem resides in finding efficient ways of temperature control and heat removal both at the chip and rack level of packaged systems for the safe and reliable operation.

Over-reliance on intuition and trial-and-error prototyping to predict the cooling of complex electronic systems is a certain guarantee for bad results and failure. This ultimately affects the products by decreasing the profit margins, delaying product time to market, and increasing product and repair cost. Do not rely only on physical testing as it can limit your innovations in terms of product up gradation. Temperature is also one of the crucial factors due to which there is a limiting factor in electronic devices and as devices move to higher power density, the higher temperatures reduce component efficiency and product life.

Four Primary Cooling Mechanisms

Natural Convection applications do not rely on a specified local air velocity for heat dissipation.Typical natural convection heat sinks are passive in nature and manufactured from copper or aluminum sheet, extruded aluminum, machined or cast alloys.

Forced Convection applications require forced air velocity generated through the incorporation of either a dedicated or system level fan(s) in order to increase thermal efficiency. Fan heat sinks, high fin density assemblies, as well as board level coolers are manufactured and configured for either impingement or cross flow environments.

Fluid Phase Change applications, also known as re-circulating, typically employ closed loop heat pipes which allow the rapid exchange of heat transfer through evaporation and condensation. Heat pipes are integrated into other heat sink technologies to further increase the thermal efficiency when greater density is required or physical size restrictions exist.

Liquid Cooled applications comprise channeled cold plates along with a heat exchanger and pump system in order to circulate fluids past a heat source.Generally, liquid cooled technologies are reserved for applications containing high heat flux density where forced convection or phase change systems are unable to dissipate the power demands.

CFD for design optimization study

CFD simulation has become a routine design tool for predicting accurately thermal performance of electronics cooling systems. The simulation can be a fast and cost effective method to evaluate and optimize heat transfer processes in a wide range of prototype geometries and working conditions. For example, CFD can be used to map temperature distribution on a mounting surface of a PCB with a varied heat generating components and highlight areas where the junction temperature of the semiconductor components could be above the maximum safe temperature specified by the manufacturer.

Computational Fluid Dynamics has been adopted over the past decade for evaluation of thermal electronic designs with the above in mind. Early, design-stage optimization of component locations allows for fewer physical prototypes and a shortened design cycle. Models, as would be expected, are continuing to grow in complexity as tools and knowledge develops.

Project Overview

The aim of this project is to investigate the performance of air cooling of an electronic cabinet including a heat sources by forced convection. The steady state 3D viscous flow problem involving coupled heat transfer between the solid-fluid medium is solved by the conjugate heat transfer solver in SimScale.

This enclosure measures overall dimensions W x L x H = 1.5m by 2m by 0.5m

Figure 1: Electronics Cabinet Model

A hex-dominant parametric mesh was created in SimScale. Mesh for conjugate heat transfer simulation requires all the solids to be meshed as separate regions. So, a multi-region mesh is created with interfaces automatically detected between the different regions.

Figure 2: Mesh

Simulation illustrates the trade-study focusing on a system’s level approach to using CFD to examine “cause-and-effect” scenarios in electronics cooling. The CFD simulations presented herein utilized fully 3-d conjugate heat transfer with forced external air convection and solid conduction. The results for temperature distribution, flow vectors and streamlines in our simulations are illustrated in Figures 3-7.

The parameters for the simulation are as follows:

Material Thermal Conductivity:

Heat Sources:

Results and Conclusions

Case 1 - Fresh Air Inlet Flow Rate = 0.303 m^3/s

Case 2 - Fresh Air Inlet Flow Rate = 0.606 m^3/s

Case 3 - Fresh Air Inlet Flow Rate = 1.01 m^3/s

Figure 3: Temperature Contours at different fresh air inlet flow rates

Figure 4: Plot - Fresh air inlet flow rates vs Maximum Temperature

Case 1 - Fresh Air Inlet Flow Rate = 0.303 m^3/s

Case 2 - Fresh Air Inlet Flow Rate = 0.606 m^3/s

Case 3 - Fresh Air Inlet Flow Rate = 1.01 m^3/s

Figure 5: Overall System Temperature comparison at different fresh air inlet flow rates

Figure 6: Velocity Vectors comparison at different fresh air inlet flow rates

Case 1 - Fresh Air Inlet Flow Rate = 0.303 m^3/s

Case 2 - Fresh Air Inlet Flow Rate = 0.606 m^3/s

Case 3 - Fresh Air Inlet Flow Rate = 1.01 m^3/s

Figure 7: Velocity Contours at different fresh air inlet flow rates

This project clearly demonstrates how we can appropriately optimize the fan inlet flow rate for an electronics package resulting in reduced maximum temperature inside the cabinet. And, clearly managing heat is a critical factor in the design of power electronics. The expected life of any component is affected by the temperature at which they operate. In fact, reducing the temperature by 10 degrees can double its expected life.


[1] https://www.electronics-cooling.com/category/cfd-software/


[3] https://www.researchgate.net/publication/267647723_Analysis_of_Liquid-Cooled_Heat_Sink_Used_for_Power_Electronics_Cooling


Hi…i am a new user here. As per my knowledge there are three fundamental geometry classifications of electronics analysis: Component, Board, and System. Each has different objectives and analysis strategies.

low cost pcb