Posted on 26 April 2019

Heat Dissipation Using Cooling Plates


Heat dissipation is extremely important, particularly for power semiconductors. The right application of cooling plates enables the dissipation of small amounts of heat loss. Therefore the mounting position of the plate and the size of contact surfaces of components have to be considered.

Cooling plates are suitable in order to dissipate small amounts of heat losses. For a bigger power dissipation, heat sinks and special fans are necessary. Small power semiconductors (up to around 15 A mean forward current) can be mounted onto cooling plates in order to dissipate heat losses. If a terminal is electrically connected to the component case, the cooling plate has to be electrically insulated. If, however, the case is isolated from the electric connections, the cooling plate may be, for example, a part of the equipment case or of the assembly chassis. Printed circuit board (PCB) copper laminating can be seen as a cooling plate of sorts. In large-area designs with sufficient layer thickness, this can contribute substantially to heat dissipation.

The mounting position of the plate plays a lesser role, provided just one stream of air can develop along the plate. Generally speaking, vertical mounting tends to have a lower thermal resistance, while a horizontal position would obstruct the airflow and thus increase the thermal resistance. The use of a fan can improve the cooling effect considerably. The only way to obtain reliable data on the thermal resistance of a given cooling plate for enhanced air cooling is to perform measurements on a device in an application-like setup.The problem, however, is that many components have relatively large contact surfaces. This results not only in a low thermal transfer resistance, but also a lower thermal resistance for the cooling plate than is the case for punctiform heat sources.

The optimum use of cooling plates enables the dissipation of heat load amounting to just a few watts. Here the cooling plate mounting position is important, as is the contact surface areas of the components. The bigger the area, the better the heat dissipation, since the outer edges of the plate are also involved in the heat removal process.


For  information, please read the following articles:

Improve Current Carrying Capacity by Proper Heat Sink Selection

Cooling Low Power Components


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