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Introduction:

Convection can be determined as the transfer of heat energy by the movement of matter. There
is two type of convection that is natural and forced convection. Natural convection is the mechanism
that used to transport the heat by density differences in the fluid occurring due to the temperature
gradients. Forced convection is the mechanisms also transport the heat in fluid motion that generated
by an external source such as pump, fan and suction device. Forced convection is more efficient
compare to natural convection.

Objective:
Thermal resistance for flat plate, finned heatsink are measured under natural and forced
convection conditions.

Methodology/ Procedures:
Experiment 1 (Forced Convection)
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.
10.

The fan assembly is placed on the top of the duct.


The finned heatsink is placed into the duct.
The heater switch is turned on.
The heater power control is set to 15 Watts (the control knob is turned clockwise)
The air flow velocity is set to 0.5 m/s (the control knob is turned clockwise)
The heatsink temperature is recorded in every 1 minute. When temperature does not change in
1 minute, it can be considered that the system reached steady state.
While waiting, The finned and pinned heatsink geometry is measured and their approximate
surface areas is calculated.
Steady state and ambient temperatures is recorded.
The fan speed control knob is set to give a reading of 1.0, 1.5, and 0.0 m/s air speed.
Steps 6 and 8 is repeated.

Results:
Power : 15W
Surface areas :
Finned Heatsink : 0.125m

Pinned Heatsink : 0.055m

Flat Plate : 0.011m

Surface

Air flow
velocity, v
(m/s)

Heat sink
Temperature,
Tp (C)

Ambient
Temperature,
Ta (C)

Temperature
rise Tp-Ta
(C)

Finned heat
sink

0
0.5
1.5
0.5

68.5
60.7
57.5
70.2

25.0
25.4
25.1
24.9

43.5
35.3
32.4
45.3

Flat plat

Thermal
resistance
(Tp-Ta)/Q,
(C/W)
2.90
2.35
2.16
3.02

Thermal Resistance

Graph of Air velocity


against Thermal resistance
4

3.02
2.35

2.9

2.16

2
1
0
0

0.2

0.4

0.6

0.8

1.2

1.4

1.6

Air velocity
Finned heatsink

Flat plate

Figure 1: Graph of Air velocity against Thermal resistance


Based on the Figure 1, the graph showed the air flow velocity against thermal resistance for
finned heatsink and flat plate. By giving an air flow velocity 0.5 m/s for finned heatsink and
flat plate its showed there is different value of both thermal resistance. The higher value of
thermal resistance in 0.5 m/s air flow velocity is flat plate which give the value of 3.02C/W
which is much higher than finned heatsink by 2.35C/W.By comparing the surface area, flat
surface have smaller surface area(0.011m) compare finned heatsink (0.125m). In this
experiment, when temperature reached to the steady state is when temperature do not change
in 2 minute where there is no cooling take place in this experiment.So there is relationship
between thermal resistance and surface area.The larger surface area so the thermal resistance
becomes lower. So this experiment showed that finned heatsink have larger surface area and
lower thermal resistance compare to the flat plate.

Finned Heatsink Temperature at 0.5m/s(C)

Graph of Time (min)


against Finned Heatsink Temperature at
0.5m/s(C)
70
60
50
40
30

Series1

20
10
0
0

10

15

20

25

30

35

40

45

50

Time (min)

Figure 2: Graph of Time against Finned Heatsink Temperature


The graph in Figure 2 showed that the time against temperature rise for 0.5 m/s air flow
velocity for finned heatsink. Based on the graph, finned heatsink does not take a longer time
to reach heatsink temperature because of finned heatsink have larger surface area and lower
thermal resistance.Based on the graph also there is a liner graph showed by the finned
heatsink.

Discussion:
1. I think that the causes of the different thermal performance (temperature) for finned/pinned
heatsinks and flat plate is because when compared the thermal resistance of these three
heatsinks and plate in this experiment, it shows that for finned heatsink, the thermal resistance
is 2.35C/W which is the lowest compared to pinned heatsink(0.82C/W) and flat
plate(3.02C/W). This happened due to the heatsinks have different the number of total
surface area. We know that, when the number of surface area is increased, the number of
thermal resistance will decrease. By comparing these 3 heatsinks and plate we can conclude
that finned heatsink have larger surface area compare to other.

2. During the experiment, the heatsink temperature is changes as air velocity changes due to no
cooling take place when air temperature reached heatsink temperature. In the experiment
showed that the finned heatsink temperature changes where there is air flow velocity changes.
If the air flow velocity increased it will take a shorter time to achieve heatsink temperature.
3. By conducting this experiment, the possible causes of error in temperature measurement is the
apparatus of the experiment. This is because while conducting the experiment, the value of
the apparatus is quite changes in certain time. The sensitivity of the value of air flow velocity
changes about 0.1 m/s while conducting the experiment. Thus, we can conclude that the
value of air flow velocity changes due to the value of temperature changes. Besides that,
another possible error is human error which is that might be taking the value of the
temperatures inconsistently. Between both errors, the most significant error is from the
apparatus of the experiment which give extremely effects to the reading value of the
temperature.

Conclusion:
As conclusion, surface area of heatsink and the number of air flow velocity can affected the number
of thermal resistance. From the experiment we can conclude that if increased the number of air flow
velocity and the surface area of heatsink become larger, the lower the thermal resistance. When there
is no air flow velocity, it much take longer time to reached heatsink temperature because natural
convection take place by cooled it down. Thus forced convection take shorter time to reached heatsink
temperature.

References:
1. http://www.sfu.ca/~mbahrami/ENSC%20388/Notes/Natural%20Convection.pdf
2. http://people.csail.mit.edu/jaffer/SimRoof/Convection/