Electronic – Copper or Aluminum Heatsink


What would be a better heatsink to buy, copper or aluminum? What does copper do that aluminum doesn't? I know it is more expensive and is heavier, so what is the advantage of copper?

EDIT: more detail about the application. I need a heatsink for a TEG peltier module, the cool side. The source of power is simply the heat of your hand, coming from the hot side. To prevent it from neutralizing both sides of the peltier, I'm using heatsinks to cool the other side. Therefore, I need the most powerful heatsink available so that the peltier will produce voltage longer.

Best Answer

You have a lot of good information from the users above! Please consider my answer significant and important bit supplimental to the advice you already have:

The thermal interface material (TIM) can matter as much and easily even more than the material you choose for your heatsink! I say this from experience and personally testing dozens of types and varieties of interface material. Your budget, attachment methods, and other design perameters will probably narrow your choices a specific type of TIM. For example: a paste requires the heatsink to be mechanically secured and an adhesive does not. Some materials are messy and difficult to use but perform well and some stuff out there is almost worthless in its performance and may or may not be easy to use.

I would say with a lot of confidence that the TIM you use can easily matter way more than if you use copper or aluminium. Not in every case but the performance differences can be surprising.

Seeking popular and well reviewed materials for CPU/heatisinks can give you some good options to choose from.

Good luck!