Starting from material, let’s firstly check the heat conducting efficient of several common materials:
Silver 429W/mK Copper 401W/mK Gold 317W/mK Aluminum 237W/mK Iron 80W/mK Tin 67W/mK Lead 34.8W/mK
The heat conducting efficient of copper is far bigger than that of aluminum, but this doesn’t mean that the heat dissipation of copper is far better than that of aluminum radiator, because copper could quickly bring heat away, but it couldn’t dissipate heat of itself in short time like aluminum, which is determined by their material features.
Besides the factors of copper and aluminum themselves, the artificial factors in manufacturing process also affects heat dissipation, which is the respective welding process.
Cooper radiators widely adopt tin soldering, simply speaking, it is not directly welded between copper and copper, but there is a layer of tin or lead in between, while the heat conducting efficient of tin is not 67W/mK, and the heat conducting efficient of lead is only 34.8W/mK, it could be interpreted as buckets effect, which makes the heat dissipation ability of cooper greatly decreased.
The welding process of aluminum radiator is relatively advanced, and generally brass solder without lead and without tin, simply speaking, it directly melt aluminum and direct weld onto it, there would be direct contact between aluminum and aluminum, and there would be barrel effect in copper radiator.
By integrating the factors above, the distance between cooper radiator and aluminum radiator in actual use is not that big. Due to the higher cost of copper radiator, to consider from cost effective aspect, the performance of aluminum is better.