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steel hsf

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Mar 16, 2001
Practically all hsf i see out there are small and/or expensive. I am thinking of making my own hs in steel, since its a material that is easy to work with and i can make the hs as big as possible. I know steel conducts heat worse than aluminium or copper, but that can be compensated with size right? I'd like to know if anyone else has tried this and how it worked out.
Interesting idea,

The main point of a heatsink is to get the heat away from the CPU as quickly and efficiently as possible.

The steel is not a good idea because the transfer delay would heat up the chip too much, since steel is a very dense material the heat will take an age to transfer through the rest of HS.

You could try using a mixture of copper and steel, cut a copper plate for the base with some mixture of copper and steel rods coming off the plate. But to be honest for the sake of $40 you could have a ready made HS+F which has had all the reasearch and hard work already performed for it, and also a warrenty comeback, if your chip blows because of the HS then its your fault, and a new chip is damn more expensive then a top of the range HS+F.

If you give it a go let me know what sort of results you get. I don't mind being proved wrong!!

Good luck.

Hope this helps.
yeah, you need something to get the heat away fast, and steal won't do it. Not sure how fast and ready it is to give away heat either. Size is good, but you can't really compensate for its poor properties either. And its as heavy as copper right?

I have machined a couple of heatsinks and water blocks using 6061 aluminum, and I find it quite easy to work with. Yes, it's a soft metal (relatively speaking), but unless you want alpha-thin fins, you shouldn't have a problem. Plus, at Industrial Metal Supply (where I get my "normal" metals), it is sold by the pound. Since it is by nature a light metal, it never costs much.

A bigger heatsink would work better, but it would also be more likely to crush the core. Especially with the density of steel.
yea, aluminium is cheap, but the main problem with aluminium (and copper) is that i cant use a normal welder on them. Steel can be bent, cut and welded to almost anything and that requires no skill. I guess copper can be welded like steel if one had a copper wire for MIG-welder, but copper oxide is unhealthy so i dont think i wanna work with that.

Anyway i've ordered a surplus PEP66 now with a delta 38 cfm fan, hope that will satisfy my needs for a while.
Depending on the machining tools you have available I think steel could work but it would have to be a complex hsf. You've got my brain heading in the direction of the "fan" style coolers...can't think of the name....anyone...anyone?

If you could design extremely thin pins or fins or folds or whatever, steel just might work. However, I'm sure machining it would be a real bugger! I agree that for the time invested, you might just be better off saving up and purchasing a nice cooler. Either way...good luck.
Wunder... even if you could make a HSF large enough to compensate for the thermal loss, you would then need to make it bigger to improve on the heat disapation, by this time your HSF would be so large that the moment you place in on your board and stand it upright you would snap the lugs of your mobo.
Now a larger Ally one might be a whole different ball game.
i agree, i don't think steel is the way to go at all, it would have to be big, which means really heavy, and by then you probably could have just gotten a CAK38 and be getting better numbers.
Not a good idea if you look at the material properties

Material_Thermal Conductivity W/m-K_____Heat capacity J/g-K
Alu_____210 ________________________0.9
Iron_____76.2 ______________________0.44

Ideally you would want a Silver contact plate for its thermal conductivity, with fins made from Al for it's heat capacity. Sorry but with iron you get the worst of both worlds. hehe
OK OK!!!
I'll forget the idea of steel hsf...
Lets focus our minds on what material would be the best to make a hs of.
Osmium is the densest naturally occuring material there is on earth (me think we should not discuss proton star mass!). It probably conducts heat really good, but a hs the size of a match box weighs in at 1 kg, and that would really break any mobo...
So the perfect hs is made of a material that is lightweight and conductive, i only know one such material: aluminium.
Yet more and more copper hs are entering the market so maybe we have to get used to hs weighing XXXX kg...
Perhaps the best way is to combine copper and aluminium, but then its hard to get good conductivity in the joint between the metals.

Damn, why dont we all start lc to get it over with? no more noisy fans!
The *best* thermally conducting material is pure silver at 418W/K-m
Probably the best materal for disspating heat is Al with excellent thermal conductivity and a high heat capacity for a metal.
Osmium is pretty poor really with 91.67 W/K-m, a weight of 2250Kg/m3 and the fact it's deadly poisonous ;D
I'm still trying to find thermal properties for Eutetic alloy which is a mix of 72% silver and 28% copper, could be interesting.

How about the worst heatsink material
Silica Aerogel with 0.02 W/K-m :)
density will not have anything to do with thermal conductivity. Silver is the best conducter, and Gold is not too far behind. BUT, the gains from using them over copper are not great. Gold would not be the best, as it is really soft in pure form. Silver tarnishes over time, faster than copper. What would be ideal, would be a copper shell base, with Gold or silver sealed inside forming a heat pipe up to some aluminum fins. That would be the best i think, would also be PRICY for the amount of gold or silver you used. My question is, are there any really good thermal conducting non metalic stuff like plastics and such. Those would work well.
BP Amoco Thornel® Carbon Fiber P-75 Carbon Fiber/Epoxy Advanced Composite System has a thermal conductivity of 110 W/m-K and weighs 1700kg/m3
CoolPoly™ E200 Thermally Conductive Liquid Crystal Polymer (LCP) Composite has a thermal conductivity of 60 W/m-K, weighs the same and has heat capacity identical to Aluminum
These are the best I could find and they rate along way behind metal
That enough information for you ;D hehe
Hold the front page just found this...
BP Amoco Thornel® Carbon Fiber P-120 Carbon Fiber/Epoxy Advanced Composite System
Apparently this version has a thermal conductivity of 400 W/m-K !!!! if this is'nt a typo this could be interesting.
I guess it might be pretty expensive though :)

P.S. Have now found out this product has been turned down by many satellite companies due to it's expense !!!!!
them composites are just some hitech form of plastic me think. Just mix some melted plastic bags and voilá, you get those composites...