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Old 03-21-2012, 04:15 AM #17
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Default Re: I want copper copper copper! (well... maybe not)

Or better yet, thermal fit I have been thinking about using thermal fits lately. Basically, it is as it sounds - stick the outside part in the oven, the inner part in the freezer. Then the inner part will shrink and the outer part will expand. You then rapidly remove them from wherever they were (after a sufficient time) and then put them together. Once they both reach ambient temperature, their fit will be amazing.

Anyway, it is looking like copper is going to be the best option for most heatsinks. It is up there with steel and iron (very close) in specific heat due to its high density, and it has the second best thermal conductivity. Because we both expect the heatsink to dissipate some of its heat to the host but also to sink it, I would think we would want the best of both worlds, i.e. copper.


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Old 03-21-2012, 04:26 AM #18
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Default Re: I want copper copper copper! (well... maybe not)

Right! A direct pressfit (for the diode) head with a TON of surface area (thin, deep fins) and a LOT of mass would be ideal. Next best would be thermal fit, but you have one problem - it is hard to thermal fit temperature sensitive parts (the LD would be in there!). Then solid copper would probably perform best (aside from silver, $$$), but the head's thin fins would be easy to damage, so aluminium might be a better practcial option.
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Old 03-21-2012, 04:29 AM #19
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Default Re: I want copper copper copper! (well... maybe not)

Who says the diode has to be in the module before you do the fit? Why not stick thermally stick the heatsink in the head, THEN press the diode into the heatsink?
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Old 03-21-2012, 04:32 AM #20
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Default Re: I want copper copper copper! (well... maybe not)

You might need a specialised press tool then, I don't think the standard one would work in that case, especially if the heatsink is deeper than an aixiz module back half (length of the press tool).
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Old 03-21-2012, 04:34 AM #21
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Default Re: I want copper copper copper! (well... maybe not)

Well certainly. But we are talking about completely maximizing heatsinking here. A lengthened pressfit tool isn't that far-fetched.
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Old 03-21-2012, 04:46 AM #22
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Default Re: I want copper copper copper! (well... maybe not)

Thermal fit is another good idea. I forgot about that although I shouldn't have. lol Repacking a nose strut on an aircraft isn't fun in cold weather. You have to heat up the outer portion so you can slide the other part in. That's a messy job.
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Old 03-21-2012, 04:49 AM #23
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Default Re: I want copper copper copper! (well... maybe not)

^ It's easier if you heat up the outer portion and cool the inner portion.
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Old 03-21-2012, 05:40 AM #24
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Default Re: I want copper copper copper! (well... maybe not)

That would be true if it is at least 50F. I'm talking about 20F and colder weather. There isn't a real easy way to cool something at least 2 feet long that a softball could fit in. The job would be easier if the aircraft was in a hangar. There wasn't a hangar big enough to put a C-17 in where I was at though.

Cooling the inner part would be a lot easier on something small like what we're talking about here. Plus you don't have to worry about breaking an expensive part if you use liquid nitrogen to cool it.
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Old 03-21-2012, 06:49 AM #25
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Default Re: I want copper copper copper! (well... maybe not)

it comes down to mass and $$$ and the amount of heat we move is less than I could care about, if you use the right amount of aluminium to match the copper 's mass you get a huge heat-sink. We need airflow gentlemen to see any benefit for copper, even then its small, copper it corrodes and work hardens, the corrosion is a resister of heat. our fins on the better hosts I have seen this month are not going to help much without more air pressure. IF we need to move 100W or 250W of heat this would be good to know, be we still ok with lasers and aluminum. A good connection from the diode to the heat-sink is what has got me, could a diode be any worse of a surface to get a good thermal contact with the heatisnk? lol

neither are better for what we need at it they all shine at variable temps and airflow that we don't control, one is cheaper though.

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Old 03-21-2012, 06:54 AM #26
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Default Re: I want copper copper copper! (well... maybe not)

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You have to heat up the outer portion so you can slide the other part in. That's a messy job.
You just describe my love life.
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Old 03-21-2012, 07:06 AM #27
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Default Re: I want copper copper copper! (well... maybe not)

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Originally Posted by Wolfman29 View Post
Or better yet, thermal fit I have been thinking about using thermal fits lately. Basically, it is as it sounds - stick the outside part in the oven, the inner part in the freezer. Then the inner part will shrink and the outer part will expand. You then rapidly remove them from wherever they were (after a sufficient time) and then put them together. Once they both reach ambient temperature, their fit will be amazing.

Anyway, it is looking like copper is going to be the best option for most heatsinks. It is up there with steel and iron (very close) in specific heat due to its high density, and it has the second best thermal conductivity. Because we both expect the heatsink to dissipate some of its heat to the host but also to sink it, I would think we would want the best of both worlds, i.e. copper.
Thats a good idea I think I may try that. I have to constantly retighten my modules in the heads of my Aurora SH-032 units because they work loose especially if I mess with the focus much. However don't forget about the thermal properties of Arctic Thermal Adhesive or Compound they are good stuff!!
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Old 03-21-2012, 07:12 AM #28
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Default Re: I want copper copper copper! (well... maybe not)

TIM is not that good unless it has no air bubbles and is not to think though, a really thin soft layer of metal maybe though, anyone try ahahahh whats it called that metal foil I see on ebay that is very very soft at room temp, and cost a ton. they use it in MRI and some sensors that are chilled as it stay soft at very cold temps, I don't know but if it turns to liquid from the heat of the laser it would not work I am not sure if it will though. plus TIM adhesive is a pain to get off need to.

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Old 03-21-2012, 07:33 AM #29
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Default Re: I want copper copper copper! (well... maybe not)

I use the adhesive when mating my drivers to a heatsink. If I screw that up I use the adhesive remover to redo the whole thing and yes the key is use very thin layers and try to avoid bubbles.
I have thought about using copper foil to help tighten the module in the head. I still need to order some. Stormcopper I think is where I thought I would order it from.
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Old 03-21-2012, 08:21 AM #30
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Default Re: I want copper copper copper! (well... maybe not)

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I have a running theory that there is a major misunderstanding of what we're actually doing when we create "heatsinks" for our builds. There's no doubt that the common wisdom is that copper is the ideal choice (within the realm of affordable metals) for heatsinks that need to dissipate heat away from sensitive electronics - things like CPUs, GPUs, RAM chips, etc. I agree with this common wisdom, but I propose that it does not translate into copper being a better choice for the majority the host-heatsinks that we use in laser builds. Even ignoring price entirely, I'm going to suggest that steel, iron, or nickel would be better options. Think I'm crazy?

There are two primary functions for the heatsinks we use inside our builds.
Function (A) is to transfer heat from the diode to the host walls, where the host can then dissipate the heat off to the air.
Function (B) is to absorb a whole lot of heat from the diode during your duty cycle.
For the vast majority of hosts we build in, Function (B) is more of a priority than Function (A). While transfering diode heat to the outside air is important, the amount of heat you can actually dissipate this way is limited:
  • Many of our hosts are themselves made of metals that are HORRIBLE conductors like steel. So once the heat reaches the edge of your heatsink, it hits a major bottle neck.
  • Even when a host is aluminum (and thus able to conduct fairly well), there's generally not that much surface area for it to use in transferring the heat into air.
  • The hosts themselves are generally fairly thin, and don't add substantially to the heat absorbing mass of your build. It's not rare for a heatsink to itself weigh more than your host!
In other words, given a choice between a heatsink that can conduct the heat to the host walls more quickly, and a heatsink that can absorb a whole lot more heat, in most builds you would prioritize the heatsink that could absorb more heat. Exceptions might be hosts made of highly finned copper (or maybe really really highly finned aluminum), where you realistically COULD actually dissipate lots of heat from host walls to outside air rapidly. Here's why it is ridiculous that people will create TINY builds, and then prioritize using "copper! copper! copper!" for the heatsink:

Thermal conductivity is a completely different property from a metal's specific heat capacity!

Sometimes metals will do really well or really poorly at both, but the two properties are not necessarily linked. While copper is known to a fantastic choice for finned heatsinks (for CPUs, etc), that knowledge does not automatically translate into our application, where what we really need is the ability to RETAIN or ABSORB a whole lot of heat!
  • Copper has a relatively crappy specific heat capacity, at 0.39 kJ/kg K
  • Aluminum actually does much better, at 0.91 kJ/kg K

Now, what makes up for copper's poor specific heat capacity, is that it is a really dense metal. So adjusted for volume, copper still performs about half again as well as aluminum, but it's nothing like the 2x thermal conductivity advantage that many people point to.

Here's the real kicker though. Neither copper nor aluminum are the ideal choices (even within what is reasonably affordable) for heatsinks where specific heat capacity is the real issue. I selected a handful of reasonably attainable metals (and a few that I was just curious about) and I created a chart. I researched their specific heat capacity per kg, and then adjusted based on their typical density to get their specific heat capacity per unit of volume instead of mass.



I've highlighted, in blue, the clear winners. Not copper, not aluminum. Steel, iron, and nickel. Long story short, we're doing this backwards. We should be using copper for all of our Aixiz modules, and we should be using steel, iron, or nickel for our heatsinks. The exception, being in builds where you have a host made of material that conducts really well (basically aluminum or copper) and has some sort of substantial fin structure to increase the surface area with the air. Short of that, we should be waging war on "heat absorption" rather than "heat transfer".

Spending money on Aixiz's copper 3.8mm, 5.6mm and 9mm diode modules (made by forum vet PontiacG5) to carry the heat TO your heatsink makes a whole lot more sense than trying to make the heatsink itself out of an expensive metal that can hold less heat than steel
I like copper a whole lot but I have no build experience that comes close to yours. You see and notice things when you build the different and numbers of lasers that you do and get a good feel for things that work very well and those that don't. I can't help but think you are onto something that we are missing? Like an arrangement of materials that could FORCE heat transfer for exceptional cooling that is perfect for not computer heat sinks but our solid (no air inside) laser builds.
After all who would initially have thought that ceramics would lead to the developement of superconducting materials??
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Old 03-21-2012, 11:02 AM #31
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Default Re: I want copper copper copper! (well... maybe not)

First off remember we are only moving a few watts of heat here

Second are you guys serious, steel

For this application Copper is the best choice for pressing a diode into
and for the whole heatsink for that matter IMHO, as long as the heat can
get out of the copper there is no better heat sink other than gold
plated copper.

I have made silver heat sinks and silver Aixiz modules a couple times and they work much better than brass or copper, hands down !

of course if the heat can not go away the heatsink will fill up no matter what it's made of.

This is why I have made my heat sinks, aluminum or copper, for years now with the closest fit that can possibly be made, so the heat can get out !

Any ferrous metal will corrode with the acid from your hand and from the moisture in the air, corrosion impedes heat flow.

Paint impedes heat flow.

Chrome and layers of plating impedes heat flow.

Anodizing impedes heat flow.

maybe SS could be used but it's the only one I would try to use for a heat sink, and I would not even try it as it is hard on cutting tools
and as such is a bit harder to machine than cold rolled steel.

Even brass is better at transferring heat than steel and much easier to machine than any of the steels.

I would make it my fifth choice for a heat sink.

Here's my Choices since we are talking the best.

Diamond
Gold
Silver
Copper
Brass
Aluminum
maybe SS
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Old 03-21-2012, 11:28 AM #32
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Default Re: I want copper copper copper! (well... maybe not)

^^^I think I heard Iron....
It must be the rust that helps the heat transfer....

The trick is to empty the heat holding reservoir... (the heatsink)
Or make it as large as possible to get a long duty cycle.
Copper still transfers the heat faster than Iron or Steel....


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