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Air cooling is a process of lowering air temperature by dissipating heat. It provides increased air flow and reduced temperatures with the use of cooling fins, fans or finned coils that move the heat out of a casing such as a computer case.
The technique involves increased airflow over the target that needs to cooled, or increasing the surface area of the object to help disburse heat. Sometimes both techniques are used.
There are various techniques used that include cooling fins, fans or finned coils. Components in many electronics produce mass amounts of heat that can cause damage. A central processing unit (CPU) uses a cooling fan or heat sink to disperse heat that is clipped or mounted on top of the CPU. CPUs also add fins as part of their heat sink.
Air cooling is limited by heat density. It has low density and cannot sufficiently cool a small overheated component. Because air has limited mass, it can heat up in confined areas. Air cooling is ideal with components that have a larger mass and bigger surface area.
Heat density can be fatal for electrical components. In a PC, it can cause a shorter lifespan, data loss, system crashes and sometimes permanent damage.