This article is devoted to the review of the literature on optimum dimensions of extended surfaces losing heat by pure convection to the surroundings. The review covers straight (longitudinal) fins, annular (radial) fins, and spines of different profile shapes. The optimum dimensions for each shape are given both in terms of the volume of the material as well as the heat dissipation. The effects of tip heat loss, variable heat transfer coefficient, internal heat generation, temperature dependent thermal conductivity, base convection, and primary surface thickness on the optimum dimensions are discussed. The optimization procedure is illustrated with several numerical examples. Areas of extended surface technology where further optimization studies are needed are identified. It is hoped that the article would serve the dual purpose of the state-of-the-art as well as a pedagogical review.

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