Heat sinks are a type of thermal conductor (or heat exchanger) that absorb and dissipate the heat created by electronic and mechanical devices. Heat sinks use convection, conduction or radiation to disperse heat.

What are heat sinks made of?

Heat sinks are made from metal and typically constructed from copper or aluminium. Copper is an excellent thermal conductor, helping to draw heat away from the device that you are trying to cool. Although aluminium doesnt conduct heat as well as copper, it is less expensive and lighter than copper. The heat will normally rise through a number of metal fins. Fin designs are used as they provide a greater surface area for the heat to spread across and dissipate.

What would you use a heat sink for?

Heat sinks prevent devices from overheating and are particularly important in protecting electronics such as CPUs. Components subject to too much heat can become irreparably damaged. In the most severe cases overheating components can result in fires, explosions and injury.

What devices can you use heat sinks for?

Heat sinks can be used to cool a large number of devices. For example, CPUs, LEDs, ICs and modules.

What is the difference between a heat sink and cooling fan?

Heat sinks are a piece of metal that conducts heat away from components. Fans forcibly move warm air away from components.


A wide variety of heat sinks are available. Passive heat sinks refer to those without a fan, while the term active heat sinks refer to those with an integrated fan. You may also come across the term HSF which means a heat sink with a fan. Some heat sinks can also be combined with a liquid cooling solution to move heat away from devices. Heat sinks are also frequently spelt as heatsinks.

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Description Price For Use With Length Width Height Dimensions Thermal Resistance Mounting Diameter Colour Application Finish Material Package Type Series
RS Stock No. 158-556
Mfr. Part No.TDEX6015/TH12G
Universal Square Alu with fan 60mm 60mm 47mm 60 x 60 x 47mm 0.5K/W - - Black - - - - -
RS Stock No. 158-540
Mfr. Part No.TDEX3132/100/FMF12G
Universal Rectangular Alu 100mm 101.6mm 77mm 100 x 101.6 x 77mm 0.16K/W - - Black - - - - -
RS Stock No. 158-562
Mfr. Part No.TDEX6015/TH
Universal Square Alu 60mm 60mm 16mm 60 x 60 x 16mm 2K/W - - Black - - - - -
RS Stock No. 158-578
Mfr. Part No.TDEX3132/100
Universal Rectangular Alu 100mm 101.6mm 32mm 100 x 101.6 x 32mm 0.6K/W - - Black - - - - -
RS Stock No. 158-534
Mfr. Part No.TDX3358/200FMF12G
Universal Rectangular Alu with fan 200mm 135mm 98mm 200 x 135 x 98mm 0.06K/W - - Clear - - - - -