In the electronic products market, intense competition from overseas has made product cost, performance and time-to-market critical factors to a company’s survival. While recent advances in manufacturing methods and material handling systems have aided in this struggle, the decisions made in the early stages of design still control an overwhelming majority of a product’s final cost and delivery schedule. These decisions affect the entire life-cycle of the product from design, through the customer’s use, to disposal.

This paper describes the development of a simple heat sink component placement optimization procedure using the Ellipsoid Algorithm. Two heat sink geometries were modelled to determine their steady state temperature distributions and the component junction temperature(s). By relocating the component(s), the Ellipsoid Algorithm sought to minimize the heat sink assembly’s failure rate. The effect of heat sink size on assembly reliability is also presented. The heat sink thermal model was formulated using finite differences and written in Fortran 77.

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