This was a project completed for my first-year second term course Engineering of Distributed Systems: Modeling and Control. Commonly referred to as ModCon, the course used weekly labs and quizzes to investigate how to understand and control spatially distributed thermal and electrical systems.
This particular project tasked students to form small groups and design the best possible heat sink (in terms of specific heat conductivity) possible from a standard block of aluminum.
Brian Fahrenbach, Olin College '10
Our team chose to explore the space of multi-fin rectangular plate heat sinks and find an optimal design via analytical tools. Utilizing available on resources heat sink optimization, we developed governing equations for our problem space and used computation software to model performance at various values of multiple geometric parameters to find the best design. We then had the design fabricated and experimentally tested. Our design proved to be the best of the nearly forty designs tested by our classmates in terms of specific heat conductivity, validating our analytical approach.
IMAGE OF FINAL HEAT SINK
PDF available for viewing and download below.