MSAM researchers win SME’s 2019 Digital Manufacturing Challenge

Gitanjali Shanbhag and Lisa Brock, graduate students with Waterloo’s Multi-Scale Additive Manufacturing (MSAM) laboratory, won the 3D Digital Manufacturing Challenge 2019 at the RAPID + TCT event for their redesign of a heat sink for cooling central processing units (CPUs) in electronic devices.

The award is sponsored by the Society for Manufacturing Engineers (SME). Winners Gitanjali Shanbhag and Lisa Brock have written an article for SME that details their award-winning and innovative design. A brief excerpt is provided:

Our project/submission was focused on the redesign of a heat sink for cooling central processing units (CPUs) to fit in with the competition theme of additive manufacturing for energy transfer and heat exchange. We designed a heat sink that featured an organic, branched fin design revolving around a circular base that was envisioned to be situated on top of the CPU. It was designed to be part of an assembly with a fan mounted above the heat sink to facilitate forced convection, making it an active heat sink system.

The small, lightweight design ensured efficient thermal dissipation and a small environmental footprint. The idea was to manufacture this heat sink with binder jetting DDM technology since it promotes low material waste by the virtue of reusing any unused powder. The material of choice for this heat sink was copper because of its stellar thermal properties.

Socially, the new heat sink design could improve global connectivity by providing efficient thermal management for servers and cores, ultimately reducing their energy footprint. This would have a large impact on high-performance computing industries and may help provide the computational resources needed for innovation. The proposed organic fin design for heat sinks could also be scaled up for other heat sink applications, apart from CPUs. The competition was judged on how well we justified choices of DDM processes and materials to be used, the social and environmental impact analysis, and cost-benefit analysis for using DDM.

The full article is available here: