Why Is Aluminum Extrusion Mostly Used In Heatsinks?
Electrical equipment generates a lot of heat while working, so a heatsink is very important to help to reduce the heat energy arose. The extruded aluminum heatsink is the most popular one and also the primary choice for engineers. To understand this, we will explain this by several questions.
Which metal is the best option for heatsinks: Aluminum or Copper?
If we just look at metal conductivity, copper is much better than aluminum, and it is 40% more conductive than aluminum. So we may have a question: Copper has a higher conductivity, why aluminum is much more popular than copper on heat sinks?
Actually, silver, copper, gold and aluminum are all considered with good conductivity in metal. But we never see any heatsinks made by gold or silver in the market, because they are too expensive. So, you can see the cost is a very important factor in heat sink production. Instead, copper and aluminum are at much less cost on the material price. There’re many factors on a popular product, not only one. Feature, cost, decoration, durability are all the reasons that being reasons to this popular.
Weight & Material Cost
When you look at the density of aluminum and copper, you will find that aluminum has only 30% of the density of copper. This means aluminum can be obviously light in weight. When you look at the price of aluminum and copper in LME, you will find the aluminum has only 1/3 of the price of copper. So under the same measurement of the two metals, aluminum has a big advantage of lighter weight and less cost.
Production Method & Cost
The production method for copper heatsink is machining. This is an expensive production process for batch production. Higher material cost and higher production cost make the copper heat sink price higher.
Aluminum heatsink can be produced by extrusion, die casting or CNC machining. CNC machining is with a higher cost for batch production. The product performance by die casting is not so good. The extruded aluminum heat sink is the best production method among them, and many aluminum heatsinks in the market are made by extrusion.
When you want more options on colors, aluminum heat sink can be anodized to many colors. You have more choices to fit for your project on aluminum heatsink, but not copper heat sink.
Which aluminum alloy is better for heatsinks?
There are many options for aluminum alloy for the extrusion production process. The heat conductivity is the highest one of 1050A, so is it best for heatsinks? Actually, NO. Because it is too soft, the mechanical properties are not good, it is not suitable for a heat sink. 6063 and 6061 are the most popular alloy for the extrusion process, its high mechanical performance makes the heatsink durable on use.
All the above makes extruded aluminum more advantages on heatsinks, like good conductivity, lightweight, low cost and easy production. When considering a heat sink for its best application in the project, engineers always have any questions on:
What is my budget for this heatsink?
How much weight is on this heat sink?
What are the dimensions that can fit my overall design?
What is my target temperature?
In addition, when designing the heatsink, engineers prefer more fins and higher fins to enlarge the area for heat dissipation. But sometimes, this is just an ideal situation, but not workable for production.
So, it is best to discuss with a professional aluminum extrusion manufacturer on its production feasibility. Welcome your contact on these questions! For existing heatsinks, CLICK HERE to fit your design.