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As part of the SAVING project, Plunkett Associates set out to design a standard extruded LED heat-sink using Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS) processes.
If heat-sinks can be manufactured from a high thermal conductivity material with geometrics that increase air flow and surface area while reducing manufacturing costs, then more electronic products could be cooled by natural convection instead of resorting to more expensive and complex methods.
Plunkett Associates designed various different geometrics based on the unique characteristics of the DMLS process. Each heat-sink was simulated using Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) software to assess the air flow characteristics and associated heat transfer. The five best performing heat-sinks were then built by 3T RPD using DMLS. All five demonstarated consistent reduction in the heat source temperature.