Heat sinks for welding: keep your cool

Topics: Laser welding


“I can’t possibly assemble this product with a weld.  It’s too sensitive to heat.”

Really???  Tell me more.  This is probably not the problem you think it is.

Yes, welding involves heat.  After all, we’re talking about melting the stuff your part is made of, and unless that stuff is made by Velveeta, that melting point is probably quite high – several thousand degrees.

How on earth can you possibly prevent that much heat from getting inside a delicate electronic housing?  Well, the answer is pretty simple, believe it or not.  Send that heat somewhere else. 

How do we do that?  The same way your internal combustion engine, computer CPU, and home heating systems do – with an efficient heat transfer medium, a.k.a heat sink. 

A heat sink can be as simple as a copper block which sits adjacent to the weld, or as complex as a liquid cooled, thermally regulated conformal attachment with thermal paste to ensure maximum thermal transfer.

We don’t need to discuss design specifics here, since that’s not the point.  What needs to be drilled home is that so long as it’s possible to draw the heat out of the part faster than it can transfer to the temperature-sensitive components near the weld, you can indeed incorporate a weld into your part. 

Here's that pesky disclaimer – talk to your welding professional about the details for your heat sensitive project.  They will give you part specific guidelines and help you keep your cool when the heat is on.


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