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ground to increase cooling capacity of heatsink?

Discussion in 'General Electronics Discussion' started by fatman57, Jun 5, 2013.

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  1. fatman57


    May 27, 2013
    If I were to attach a ground (as in the third wire ground as found in the UK) to a heatsink will that increase its cooling capacity?

    I'm thinking not only will it ground the item, but it will allow extra capacity due to conduction and allow the electrons that have been excited by the heat an exit that they can follow which offers less resistance than the air that would conventionally cool it...

    Only a thought experiment really...would it also work for the 'negative' ground?

    Maybe the conduction of electrons will only work if there is a difference of two metals between the heatsink and ground wire? It could be aligned such that the flow of electrons is away from the item being cooled?

    In theory would it work with a simple ground though, if at all? Just throwing out some raw ideas...
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2013
  2. davenn

    davenn Moderator

    Sep 5, 2009
    hi there

    no it wont, heat is just the vibration of atoms/electrons. They dont travel anywhere as such. That is, heat doesnt cause electrons to flow
    Since there is no current flowing in the heatsink, the electrons wont be going anywhere.
    Conduction of heat through a material, is very different to "electrical" conduction

  3. fatman57


    May 27, 2013
    Thanks Dave.

    I presume trying some difference of two metals idea would have the unwanted effect of electrically charging a heatsink even if it does cool one side down due to electron flow as found in a thermocouple?

    Even if it did cool it as far as I know it would not be a good idea to give a heatsink an electrical charge. If that is the case would it not hurt to give the heatsink a ground anyway?
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2013
  4. duke37


    Jan 9, 2011
    To get good heat conducton, you need a large area and a short distance. A wire has a small area and a long distance. It is often insulated which will impede the conduction to air.

    To get better cooling, the heat sink can be colled with a fan or the case of the equipment can be made the heat sink.

    Be very careful about connections to heat sinks, some of them in domestic equipment are at 350V.

    The Peltier (thermocouple) effect will produce much more heat than it will remove and of course need a power supply.
  5. fatman57


    May 27, 2013
    Thanks Duke...
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