Term of Award

Fall 2017

Degree Name

Master of Science in Applied Engineering (M.S.A.E.)

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (open access)

Copyright Statement / License for Reuse

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


Department of Mechanical Engineering

Committee Chair

David Calamas

Committee Member 1

Biswanath Samanta

Committee Member 2

Marcel Ilie


When designing extended surfaces for the thermal management of electronic devices in aerospace applications it is critically important to minimize mass. However, this can be difficult to achieve as the rate of heat dissipated is directly proportional to the surface area. Fortunately, when certain fractal geometries, like the Sierpinski carpet, are utilized in the design of extended surfaces an increase in surface area and simultaneous decrease in mass can be achieved. The thermal performance of fins inspired by the first four fractal iterations of the Sierpinski carpet pattern was experimentally examined in a natural convection environment. The fractal fins were subject to a heat transfer rate of 10 W at their base and performance was evaluated for six different angles of inclination from 15° to 90°. The thermal performance of the fractal fins was evaluated based on fin efficiency, fin effectiveness, and fin effectiveness per unit mass. It was found that the angle of inclination did not have a statistically significant impact on performance. Regardless of angle of inclination, a fin inspired by the fourth fractal iteration was, on average, 6.1% more effective and 58.8% more effective per unit mass than a traditional straight rectangular fin of uniform cross-section.

Research Data and Supplementary Material