Comparison Guide: Heatspreader - Heat Sink (LAN-070e.A2)

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Comparison Guide: Heatspreader - Heat Sink (LAN-070e.A2)
Document TitleComparison Guide: Heatspreader - Heat Sink (LAN-070e.A2)
Document TypeHardware Guide
Article NumberLAN-070e.A2
Release Date15.11.2021
Is Branch ofComparison Guide: Heatspreader - Heat Sink (LAN-070e.A2) Head


The operation of electronic components generates power loss in the form of heat. The component must dissipate this heat to its environment in some way. Otherwise, it will overheat and could be permanently damaged. Normally, this heat flow occurs by convection through the component's housing to the surrounding air. However, if a component generates a lot of heat, this path is no longer sufficient and heat dissipation must be improved with the aid of additional components.

The PHYTEC modules can have several components/zones (hot spots) where heat must be especially dissipated.


This manual can be used for all PHYTEC products. The examples shown here are from the phyFLEX-i.MX 6.

Hot Spots on a Typical Embedded SOM (example phyFLEX-i.MX 6)

The following chapter briefly explains the two tools for improving heat dissipation, heat sinks and heat spreaders.

Aids to Improve Heat Dissipation

Heat Sink

A heat sink is a component for improving heat dissipation and, as a result, lowers the temperature of a heat source. A measure of the heat dissipation capacity of a heat sink is the thermal resistance RTH.

In this context, the heat sink is at the end of the heat flow and dissipates the heat to the ambient air. If it is used in a closed housing, the surrounding air will of course heat up in the long run. This reduction in the difference between the heat source and the heat sink means that the component in question can be cooled less and less effective.

Cooling an Embedded SOM with a Heat Sink (example phyFLEX-i.MX 6)


The task of the heatspreader is to distribute/convey the heat loss. Due to its shape, which is specifically adapted to the respective circuit board, the heat spreader picks up several heat sources at the same time and brings the waste heat together on a flat surface. From here, it can easily be fed to a heat sink or another heat dissipator (e.g. housing).


The heatspreader itself is not a heat sink/cooling element, but only a heat conductor. In other words, a heatspreader must always be used together with a heat sink!

The heatspreader alone is ineffective

Cooling an Embedded SOM with Headspreader and Heat Sink (example phyFLEX-i.MX 6)

Revision History

VersionChanges to the ManualRelease Date
LAN-070d_1First Edition



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