|Surface temperatures (C) in a transistor/heat sink assembly|
Tom Eppes, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering, CETA; Ivana Milanovic, associate professor of mechanical engineering, CETA; and George Quarshie, electrical engineering student, presented a research paper at the annual COMSOL Users conference, which took place earlier this month in Newton, Mass. COMSOL performs finite-element modeling for various physics and engineering applications, in particular those that involve coupled interdisciplinary phenomena.
The paper, "Power Transistor Heat Sink Design Trade-offs,” discusses the heat transfer process in a TO-220 transistor package and the benefits of certain design features. Power transistors require heat sinks to dissipate thermal energy and keep junction temperatures below the recommended limit. A significant increase in useful life can be achieved by a small reduction in operating temperature. Parametric studies of heat sink size, emissivity and convective cooling coefficient estimate their impact on the steady-state temperature of the assembly. This work was initiated and done in part during the new course ES 591 Multiphysics Modeling.