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Differences between Aluminum and Copper Heat Sink

Views: 50     Author: Site Editor     Publish Time: 2022-01-20      Origin: Site

4If you're in the market for a heat sink, you might be wondering whether to go with aluminum or copper. Both materials have their pros and cons, but which one is right for you?

Let's find out how aluminum and copper heat sinks differ and what makes them suitable for heat sink manufacturing.

Heat sink materials

· Aluminum

Aluminum is often used in heat sinks because it is lightweight, inexpensive, and an excellent thermal conductor.

Aluminum, however, oxidizes when exposed to air, so copper is usually applied as a thin coating to protect the metal from further oxidation.

The copper does not add any structural strength to the aluminum but helps with heat transfer due to greater conductivity than aluminum alone.

· Copper

Copper is another excellent choice for heat sinks. It does not oxidize like aluminum, so copper heat sinks can be used without a coating.

Copper also has greater thermal conductivity than aluminum. While copper is more expensive than aluminum, copper-only heat sinks do not require protective coatings that add some expense and complexity to the manufacturing process.

Unalloyed copper is a better heat conductor; copper alloys are usually chosen for applications requiring copper's properties together with resistance against corrosion.

In the electronics industry, copper-zinc alloy EN consisting of 83% copper and 17% zinc is one of the most used copper alloys.

WinshareThermal manufacture Heat Sinks with different materials based on the requirements.


Definition of Aluminum Heat Sinks

Aluminum heat sinks are used in several different environments.

They are the most common choice for cooling computer chips, but they are also found in other electronics where copper would be impractical.

When exposed to air, aluminum forms a protective oxide layer, which makes it highly corrosion resistant.

It's also very lightweight and does not corrode easily under moist or wet conditions.

The advantages of Aluminum Heat Sinks

Advantages of Aluminum Heat Sinks include:

· They are inexpensive.

· Aluminum Heat Sinks have a high heat conductivity and can efficiently manage thermal energy leakage.

· The naturally produced oxide coating ensures the metal won't corrode or tarnish easily, making it appropriate for use in wet or moist environments.

· They are sturdy and durable.

· Aluminum Heat Sinks are easy to manufacture.

· They operate at a lower temperature than copper heat sinks, which means they're safer to use with the sensitive electronics found in modern devices.

1Definition of Copper Heat Sinks

Copper is another excellent choice for cooling electronic components.

It's also used in other applications because of its low resistance and good thermal properties.

Copper heat sinks are corrosion-proof due to the material itself. However, copper can be considerably more expensive than aluminum due to its higher value.

The advantages of Copper Heat Sinks

Advantages of Copper Heat Sinks include:

· They are more efficient at heat transfer than aluminum.

· Copper Heat Sinks have a higher heat conductivity and can handle thermal energy leakage better than aluminum Heat Sinks.

· Copper Heat Sinks are easy to manufacture.

· Lower operating temperatures make copper less risky to use where electronics are concerned.

· Copper is a better conductor of electricity, making copper heat sinks appropriate for use where good electrical conductivity is vital.

Differences between Aluminum and Copper Heat Sink

· Heat dynamics

Copper is a better conductor of heat than aluminum. As a result, it can dissipate heat more efficiently.

Besides, the melting point of copper is higher than aluminum, which can withstand higher temperatures.

Finally, copper is less reactive than aluminum, meaning it will corrode less over time.

· Thermal Conductivity

Copper has a much higher thermal conductivity than aluminum. Aluminum conducts heat at 90 W/mK while copper conducts it at around 400 W/mK.

Aluminum heat sinks are often used in place of copper ones because aluminum is much cheaper than copper heat sinks.

· Cooling

Both copper and aluminum provide the same cooling capacity, but copper is more thermally conductive than aluminum, which means it can transfer heat away from components much faster.

Copper-only heat sinks do not require protective coatings like aluminum ones; copper heat sinks are more durable than aluminum ones.

· Manufacturing cost

The manufacturing cost of aluminum heat sinks is lower as compared to copper heat sinks. This is because manufacturing aluminum heat sinks is simpler and does not require the use of high-grade metals.

On the other hand, copper is a more expensive metal and requires a more complex manufacturing process. Aluminum is also much lighter than copper, making it easier to ship and handle.

· Design options

Aluminum Heat Sinks require protective coatings to prevent oxidation during operation. This means copper heat sinks have many more design options open to them than aluminum-clad ones do.

Copper, on the other hand, is a good conductor of electricity, so copper-clad heat sinks can also carry electrical currents. Aluminum heat sinks cannot do so.

· Safety considerations

Aluminum is a poor conductor of electricity as compared to copper.

Copper Heat Sinks are safer to use than aluminum ones, where good conductivity is vital.

Copper's high thermal conductivity and malleability make it a better choice for heat sinks than aluminum, although copper is much more expensive.

Aluminum is often used as a substitute for copper ones because aluminum is cheaper.

· Build and extrusion

Aluminum heat sinks are simple in extrusion and design; copper heat sinks are a more complicated build.

Aluminum can be mass-produced using extrusion and designed for optimum heating conditions.

Copper heatsinks need to undergo annealing and further passivation to protect them from corrosion - this prevents copper heat sinks from being used industrially as it reduces the option of post-processing.

A copper heat sink needs copper foil and copper base plate. Copper can be drawn, roll-bonded, and brazed. These copper heat sinks are used in the electronics industry, where aluminum is not a good choice due to its poor thermal conductivity.

Things to Consider while Choosing the Heat Sink Material:

There are a few factors to consider when choosing a material for your heat sink:

· Heat Sink Size: copper is more dense than aluminum, so a copper heat sink will be smaller than an aluminum one of the same dimensions. This is important if you're limited on space.

· Thermal conductivity of the material: copper has a higher thermal conductivity than aluminum, which can dissipate heat more quickly. This is important if you need to cool down a component quickly.

· Weight of the material: copper is heavier than aluminum. This may be important if you need to keep the weight of your device down.

· Price of the material: copper is more expensive than aluminum.


The best heat sink for you is the one that satisfy your needs and comes within your budget. Above we examined some of the pros and cons of aluminum versus copper heat sinks to help you decide which option might be right for you.

We hope our insights have been helpful! Let us know how it goes or if there's anything else we can do to support your business -we're here 24/7.

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