Lowering Aluminum Heat Sink and Liquid Cooler Thermal Resistance with Friction Stir Welding
. by Mike Tozier, Technology Development Manager at Sapa Extrusions North America,
Aluminum heat sinks and liquid coolers are the most common cooling components in the cooling system for Power Electronic Modules. Given the increasing demand for handling higher power dissipation as well as for cost reduction, it is very important to further optimize the design for aluminum heat sinks and liquid coolers. In this paper, we present new cost effective methods to manufacture aluminum heat sinks and liquid coolers using Friction Stir Welding (FSW). The thermal performance of friction stir welded heat sinks and liquid coolers is evaluated and compared with others made by conventional manufacturing methods. Initial indications show that the thermal performances of heat sinks and liquid coolers made by both the new and the conventional methods are similar, with FSW methods lowering thermal resistance 8% at effective costs.