Microchannels and micro pin fins have been employed for almost four decades in the cooling of microelectronic devices and research is still being done in this field to improve the thermal performance of these micro heat sinks. In this research, the constructal design and computational fluid dynamics code was used with a goal-driven optimisation tool to numerically investigate the thermal performance of a novel design of combining microchannels and micro pin fins for microelectronic cooling applications. Existing designs of microchannels were first optimised and thereafter, three to seven rows of micro pin fins were inserted into the microchannels to investigate whether there was further improvement in thermal performance. The microchannels and micro pin fins were both embedded in a highly conductive solid substrate. three-dimensional geometric structure of the combined micro heat sink was optimised to achieve the objective of maximised thermal conductance, which is also minimised thermal resistance under various design conditions. The micro heat sinks investigated in the study were the single microchannel, two-layered microchannels with parallel and counter flow configurations, three-layered microchannels with parallel and counter flow configurations, the single microchannel with circular-, square- and hexagonal-shaped micro pin-fin inserts and the two-layered microchannels with circular-shaped micro pin-fin inserts. A numerical computational fluid dynamics (CFD) package with a goal-driven optimisation tool, which employs the finite-volume method, was used to analyse the fluid flow and heat transfer in the micro heat sinks investigated in this work. The thermal performances of all the micro heat sinks were compared for different application scenarios.
Furthermore, the temperature variation on the heated base of the solid substrate was studied for the different micro heat sinks to investigate which of the heat sink designs minimised the temperature rise on the heated base best. This is very important in microelectronic cooling applications because temperature rise affects the reliability of the device. The heat sink design that best maximised thermal conductance and minimised temperature rise on the heated base was chosen as the best for microelectronic cooling. For all the cases considered, fixed volume constraints and manufacturing constraints were applied to ensure real-life applicability. It was concluded that optimal heat sink design for different application scenarios could be obtained speedily when a CFD package which had an optimisation tool was used.