Design and testing of topology optimized heat sinks for a tablet

David Martínez-Maradiaga, Alberto Damonte, Alessandro Manzo, Jan H. K. Haertel, Kurt Engelbrecht*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Thermal management is fundamental to ensure that electronics components operate at their design temperatures for improved performance and lifetime. As current electronic devices become more compact and more power dense, the amount of heat to be dissipated per area also increases. Therefore, it is necessary to design heat sinks capable of maintaining a low operating temperature and a small packaging envelope. Topology optimization, due to its geometric freedom, can be a useful tool to develop passive heat sinks capable of rejecting as much heat as possible in a limited space. This paper presents the design, modeling, and testing of topology optimized heat sinks for a commercial tablet. Firstly, a numerical model of the tablet’s thermal behavior is developed. Secondly, the topology optimization problem is formulated and implemented. Two topology optimization approaches are used: the non-robust approach and the robust approach. COMSOL’s optimization module is used to conduct the optimization and the Globally Convergent version of the Method of Moving Asymptotes is used as the optimization algorithm. Finally, three heat sinks were fabricated in aluminum: the two resulting topology optimized designs (robust and non-robust), and one baseline L-shaped heat sink. The latter heat sink is used to compare the performance of topology optimized and traditionally designed heat sinks. It was shown that topology optimized heat sinks can reduce the temperature of the heat dissipating components of a consumer tablet.
Original languageEnglish
Article number118429
JournalInternational Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Experimental testing
  • Heat sinks
  • Modeling
  • Topology optimization

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