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The project

Cyclone Lighting provides superior quality luminaires for outdoor environments. As part of their continuous search for innovative and efficient products, Cyclone teamed up with Creaform to optimize the heat sink of a LED luminaire model. The project consisted of using CFD simulations and optimization algorithms to find the perfect heat sink design for this model.

Pareto optimization (multi-objective) was employed to completely characterise the behavior of pre-set heat sink dimensions for two competing objectives: the minimisation of the LED’s temperature as well as the minimisation of heat sink volume. As much as 13 parameters were varied through 400 simulations in order to define the “Pareto front” and direct the design towards much lighter weight and efficient heat sinks. With so many optimal designs identified, Cyclone had the opportunity to weigh the impact of heat sink size reduction on  maximal temperatures in the electronic components. Specifically, Cyclone’s choice was narrowed down to two optimal designs: one that would keep the same heat dissipation performance compared to the baseline, while reducing the heat sink volume by 32%, or one that would produce a 2% temperature increase in the components but provide a 43% volume reduction. The project fulfilled and even exceeded Cyclone’s expectations, allowing a much better understanding of the driving parameters of heat dissipation, a significant cost reduction for the serial-produced heat sink, and greater flexibility for the design of a slick and lightweight heat sink.

Services provided:

  • Preliminary analysis of geometry and simulation strategy;
  • Geometry preparation using CAD software;
  • Volumetric meshing using polyhedral cells, prism layers and thin plates mesher for the finite volume method;
  • Recovering of all the thermal properties of LEDs, PCB, heat sink and glass;
  • Contact resistance calculations for solder and thermal paste interfaces;
  • Setting of physical models and numerical parameters;
  • Test case for parameter validation and mesh independency;
  • Simulations monitoring;
  • Post-processing of solutions: visualisations of flow and temperature distribution, “Pareto front” plots;
  • Results and recommendations presentation to the end customer and production of all methodology and substantiation reports.

Tools and Methods Used

Based on the client’s needs, Creaform used the following tools and methods:

  • StarCCM+
  • Optimate+ 
  • HEEDS

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