Heat dissipation is the job aluminum heat sinks perform. Heatsinks are typically used in locations where heat needs to be dissipated such as in hydraulics and more typically in electronics applications. In hydraulic applications, heatsinks use air cooling or water cooling to assist in extracting the heat from the protected device. In electronic applications, heatsinks are more commonly expected to work using air-flow to extract heat.
Aluminum heatsinks are commonly made using aluminum die casting. Aluminum die cast heat sinks are manufactured near net shape, meaning these heat sink parts require very little additional machining to use in the desired application. These aluminum heatsinks can be produced at the rate of thousands each day. In many cases, these heat sinks can be installed and used without any additional finish such as powder coat or anodize.
Some heatsinks have been used in computers to remove heat from the electronic circuitry, this extends the life of the “motherboard”. One of the early applications of a heat sink was the aluminum shroud on the television picture tube to extend the life of the picture tube. Now, aluminum heatsinks are designed in most electronic applications to protect the devices from the heat that is naturally generated when electricity interacts with electronic circuits. Many times these heatsinks are incorporated in the enclosure or housing that holds and protects the electronic circuits. This would take advantage of incorporating two devices into one, thus saving money doing so.
When fluids are placed under extreme pressure, heat is generated. Heatsinks are used to prevent damage to the bearings or other moving parts in the hydraulic device.