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September 2016 – Heat Sink Types

Published on: 02/09/2016

Discover the main types of heat sink available  

Heat Sink Extrusion


A heat sink is a thermal device that dissipates heat from another object. It transfers heat generated by a mechanical or electronic device to a fluid medium which is normally air or liquid coolant where it is dispersed away from the device.  Heat sinks are used with high-power semiconductor devices where the heat dissipation ability of the component itself is insufficient to moderate its temperature.

Types of Heat Sinks


Heat Sink


Heat sinks are classified in to different categories based on the product criteria.

There are two main types of heat sinks: active and passive.


Active Heat Sinks

Active heat sinks are usually fan type and utilise power for cooling purposes. They are often described as fans, which are classified as either a ball bearing or sleeve bearing type. The preferred type is normally the ball bearing motor fans because their working span is longer and the heat sink is more cost effective when it comes to long span usage. These heat sinks provide an excellent performance and are cost effective for short term applications.


Passive Heat Sinks

Passive heat sinks do not possess mechanical components and are made of aluminium finned radiators. They dissipate thermal energy or heat by using the convection process. Passive heat sinks are commonly known to be more reliable than active heat sinks. It is recommended to maintain continuous air flow across the fins when using passive heat sinks.


Aluminium Heat Sinks

Heat sinks are normally made of metals; aluminium is the most common metal used in a heat sink. Thermal conductivity of each metal is different, it is proportionate to the heat transfer within the heat sink. If the thermal conductivity of the metal was to increase, then the heat transferring capacity of the heat sink would also increase.

Other heat sink categories include: stamped heat sinks, machined heat sinks, bonded-fin heat sinks, folded-fin heat sinks, forged heat sinks, single-fin assembly heat sinks and swaged heat sinks.


GD Rectifiers are the UK’s leading manufacturer of standard and custom made heat sinks, heat sink accessories and heat sink assemblies. We stock and machine the largest range of heat sinks suitable for stud, modules and capsule semiconductors plus high power LED applications. Offering a full service from design to production, technical support and fast delivery, GD Rectifiers is the No.1 heat sink provider in the UK.

GD Rectifiers are experts in thermal management, standard and custom made heat sinks, cold plates, liquid cooling solutions and thermal assemblies. Offering an extensive range of air cooled and aluminium heat sinks, they have a wide selection of high quality heat sinks readily available in stock at unbeatable prices and offer a next day delivery service.

Browse the complete heat sink range by device type, part number or comparison guide here.

GD Rectifiers offer technical support on all heat sinks including specific heat dissipation requirements.

For further information on all heat sink products click here or alternatively call our friendly sales team for a quote today on: 01444 243452.

Find out more about the latest GD Rectifiers product range here.


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