Component Management

Effective cooling of hot spots with liquid-cooled heat sinks

28th May 2024
Paige West

Liquid-cooled heat sinks are used in applications where passive or fan-based cooling solutions are insufficient, but effective cooling is indispensable.

However, there are major differences between liquid-cooled heat sinks. The optimal production process for a particular application depends on various factors, such as the desired material and coolant, the specified cooling capacity, and the required number of heat sinks. That is why CTX offers different processes for the production of liquid-cooled heat sinks.

There are also major differences among the elite class of heat sinks: effective cooling depends on factors such as the material, production process, and coolant. Based on more than 25 years of expertise, CTX always develops and manufactures the optimal solution for the particular application. To achieve this, the company has numerous production processes, coolants, and materials to choose from. Depending on the application, water, glycol, oil, alcohol or – in rare cases – gases flow through tubes made of copper, aluminium, or stainless steel within an aluminium or copper plate.

Different production processes for differing requirements

The classic liquid heat sink consists of an aluminium cooling plate with embedded tubes made of copper, which is easy to work with and is an excellent thermal conductor. Tubes can also be made of stainless steel or aluminium, although their heat dissipation capacity is not as good. The optimal production process for the particular application depends on various factors, such as the desired material and coolant, the specified cooling capacity, and the required number of heat sinks. CTX offers efficient and custom-designed liquid-cooled heat sinks using application-specific production processes.

Liquid-cooled heat sinks made of die-cast aluminium: This process is suitable for the cost-effective production of large quantities of cooling systems, such as those used in electric cars. The die-casting mould can be used to produce multiple heat sink plates with complex geometries in one process.

High-temperature brazed liquid-cooled heat sinks: High-end applications or complex geometries require special solutions. For such applications, CTX uses so-called brazed heat sinks. The upper and lower plates are bonded by means of high-temperature brazing, and the cooling channels are milled into the plates.

Friction stir welded liquid-cooled heat sinks: Friction stir welding is suitable for the production of one-off liquid-cooled heat sinks and prototypes, as well as for series production. One advantage of this process is that the heat sinks do not require tubes since the cooling channels are milled into the aluminium cooling plate.

Cold extruded liquid-cooled heat sinks: Cold extrusion is the ideal process for IGBTs and other electronic semiconductor components, since it ensures loss-free heat transfer between fins, cooling tubes, and plates. There is practically no limit to the possible designs for the pins and fins.

Extruded liquid-cooled heat sinks: Extrusion is ideal for manufacturing large series of liquid-cooled heat sinks. The aluminium heat sinks are produced in a step-by-step extrusion process, in which the inner cooling channel remains stable.

Perfect service

In addition to the development and production of application-specific heat sinks, CTX also offers custom service packages. Support includes the thermal solution of a potential heat sink, creation of the required CAD data and 3D models, and a consultation relating to the heat sink design and production optimisation. On request, the thermal management experts will also take care of all logistics processes for the delivery of the heat sinks and housings.

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