Improving Thermal Performance of the MacBook Air

This was a project completed for ME 103 Measurements and Instrumentation taught by Professor George C. Johnson, Professor Lydia Sohn, and Professor Marcel Kristel.

We decided to use the thermal cameras for our project to collect data on the thermal properties of the MacBook Air 2011 and apply modifications to improve thermal performance.

When computers overheat they perform less optimally due to thermal stress and strain in the processor. To minimize overheating modifications were made to the chassis of the MacBook Air.

The first modification was adding thermal pads to the hottest components and use the bottom chassis plate as a heat sink which is made of aluminum.

The second modification was CNCing new air vents to intake fresh air near the fan. In the original design the fan is constrained and is suffocating internally. The vent designs were based on the Razer Blade Pro 2017’s design.

The new modifications lowered temperatures at maximum load as well as idle due to the increase in airflow as well as increased surface area.