Understanding the Importance of Heat Sink Design for Antenna Performance

In 4G, the heat sink design is important because 4G antenna generates heat energy during working. If the heat can’t be dissipated efficiently, the performance and life of antenna will contribute to negative effects while working.
As 5G developing, 5G antenna must run wide-range tasks and this leads to 5G antenna will generate more heat compared to 4G antenna. Meanwhile, 5G technology is required to transmit data in high speed and low latency. To achieve these features, 5G antenna will need more high power while working.

What is a heat sink?

Heat sink is a major element that used in designing antenna dissipation, and it’s usually made from some dissipation materials, such as metal or thermal conductive plastics. They’re designed to absorb heat that produced from antenna and dissipate efficiently to surroundings to keep antenna working in regular temperatures and good performance. It’s just like human sweat to regulate body temperature when exercising under high temperature.
Heat sink is one of the common ways to dissipate thermal, especially to high power or high frequency antenna. They help antenna working in regular temperature to ensure the performance and reliability and improve service life.
The common materials used to dissipate heat are aluminum alloy or copper and these materials’ thermal conductivity (W/mK) are high enough to dissipate thermal well. Our antenna enclosures are mainly from aluminum alloy.

Why Heat Sink Design is Important for Antennas  - Grand-Tek
Materials Thermal conductivity (k)
Aluminum alloy 200~250 W/m·K
Copper 385 W/m·K
Aluminum 237 W/m·K
Water 0.6 W/m·K
Air 0.026-0.03 W/m·K

Types Of Heat Sinks

Heat sinks are separated in 2 ways, passive heat sinks and active heat sinks, and their differences are the ways to deal with heat and the designs of dissipation thermal.

Passive heat sinks: passive heat sink dissipate thermal naturally through the design of antenna or using material that dissipate thermal better. It usually relies on the structure and material to dissipate heat without additional power or cooling equipment. For example, when designing antenna, RD will consider better dissipation spaces, increase antenna dissipation surfaces or high thermal conductivity materials. Besides, passive heat sinks usually apply in low power and low frequency antenna because the heat is less under these situations.
Active heat sinks: active heat sink dissipates thermal to other places or ways to control antenna temperatures and it usually relies on additional equipment or system to dissipate the heat actively. For example, using fans, thermal sinks, thermal pipes or cooling liquid to cool down the equipment.
To sum up, active heat sinks and passive heat sinks are designed to control the temperature of antenna and to ensure the efficiency and performance of antenna.

Heat Sink Design: Thermal Resistance Calculation

To design heat sinks, we need to calculate the heat that will produce from working antenna and we can evaluate what kind of heat sinks we will need on antenna.
To determine the design of heat sinks, it’s necessary to calculate the heats and the requirement of heat dissipation.

  • To check the power of antenna. We have to make use the power (Watt; W) that produces from working antenna and this information can be collected from test data.
  • To estimate the requirement of heat dissipation. Based on the W and antenna attributes, we can get the heat data and transfer the Watt to heat by the formula.

Why Heat Sink Design is Important for Antennas - Grand-Tek

Q is heat conduction.
k is the thermal conductivity constant. Different materials will affect the k value.
A is the contact area. The larger the area, the better the heat conduction effect.
𝑻𝟐−𝑻𝟏 is the temperature change. The heat will go from high temperature to low temperature, so the heat dissipation path can be seen.
d is the thickness of the material. This affects the speed of heat transferring.

How do I know how much the heat sink area and how bid the heat sink I need?
There’s no specific answer to this question; however, we can know how much heat sinks areas we need according to below ways.
First, you have to know the heat producing from antenna and then choose how much heat we want to dissipate to. Later, the material is one of the key points to heat dissipation. As mentioned above, the thermal conductivity of material reveals the efficiency of heat dissipation. Last, when above conditions are considered, we also need to consider others, such as, the configuration of heat sinks, space limitations and the environment and so on.
Heat sink design is a complex process, and it has to consider many conditions and assumptions to compose a better heat sink. Therefore, if you need an excellent heat sink solution, you can send inquiries to Grand-Tek, and we will contact you as soon as possible.

Applications Of Heat Sinks

Our enclosures are made of thermal dissipation materials. You can check our products as below or you can send us the contact for more information.