Heat sink

n. An object that absorbs thermal energy from a system through conduction, convection, and/or radiation and dissipates the energy out of the system.


  • Discussion


The common usage of the term heat sink relates to an object that dissipates heat from a system, reducing the heat content of the system, thus reducing the temperature of the system from what it would be without the heat sink. Rothermel (1972) atypically used the term heat sink to represent the heat per unit fuelbed volume required for ignition.




Typically, the heat required for ignition is represented by its contributing components: the effective mass (mass density of fuel to be heated to ignition) and the heat required to raise the temperature of that mass to ignition (see Drysdale 1998).


  • See Also

  • References

    • Drysdale, Dougal. 1998. An introduction to fire dynamics. 2nd ed. New York: John Wiley.

    • Rothermel, Richard C. 1972. A mathematical model for predicting fire spread in wildland fuels. Res. Pap. INT-115. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agricultrure, Forest Service, Intermountain Forest and Range Experiment Station. 40 p.

  • Notes

    • Author 

      Jack Cohen, Research Physical Scientist

      Rocky Mountain Research Station