The most common heat sink is the plate fin heat sink which works best when there there is external airflow in the direction of the fins. Round pin heat sinks have omni-directional properties and are the best choice when the airflow is very low or its direction is unknown (or can change). Elliptical pin heat sinks have a smaller pressure drop than plate fin heat sinks and allow the air to approach from a direction that is not perfectly parallel. Although not fully omni-directional, it performs better than the round pin heat sinks when the airflow speed is high.
Knowing (and calculating) the optimized heat sink provides a great way to choose the right heat sink design. For any given space and environmental parameters, an optimized heat sink can be found that provides the lowest thermal resistance (and the best heat dissipation).
Choosing the right heat sink will affect the life expectancy and performance of your product.
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