The heat sink absorb the heat which is generated by the electronic devices and then it transfer this heat to surrounding.
Now, this surrounding could be either air, water or sometimes even oil. So, these heat sinks are available in the various sizes and shapes but the purpose of heat sink is to remove the heat from the components. They are widely used in the electronic devices.
So, if we talk about the computer peripheral then they are used in the graphic card CPU and sometimes even the RAM module. So in a high-performance Ram module, they are used as a heat spreader. and not only that they are also used in the LED module as well as in electronic component like high power MOSFET and the transistor.
The purpose of every heat sink is to remove heat from the electronic devices, so that they can be operated in the allowable temperature range. But then the question arises why these electronic component get heated so the answer is if you see any electronic device then not all the energy is converted into useful work.
For example if you take the case of an LED then only some fraction of applied power is getting converted into the light and remaining power is getting dissipated in the form of heat. Technically every electronic device consists of a finite number of resistor and this resistor dissipate the power in the form of heat.
Then if with talk about the processor then it consists of millions and billions of tiny little transistor and in this processor even if all the transistor are not in a used at once still they can consume some power and this energy or power is getting dissipated in the form of heat and the same is true with the other electronic component like a diode and transistor.
The electronic components have some finite resistance and the power which is getting dissipated across this is equivalent resistor is converted into the heat and due to this heat the device temperature increases which not only reduces the lifetime of the devices but sometimes it can even damage the devices and that is why it is quite important to maintain the device temperature within the acceptable range and that is the reason the heat sink are used with the electronic devices and particularly with those which generates a considerable amount of heat.
So the heat sink operation is based on fourier law of heat. That means whenever the temperature gridient exists in the body then the heat transfer from the high temperature section to the low temperature section and this it can be transfer in three different ways. That means through condution, convection and the radiation.
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