# Can two IRLZ44N MOSFETs in parallel handle a current of 20 A without heat sink?

Can two IRLZ44N MOSFETs in parallel handle a current of 20 A without a heat sink?

The Vgs command is a square wave at a frequency of 70 Hz.

Do I need to attach two big heat sinks or not?

Will my two MOSFETs without a heat sink burn out after some time?

The duty cycle is 50%

• It depends solely on the duty cycle. 70 Hz is the frequency. We need to know how many micro seconds will those MOSFETs stay on. Commented Apr 12, 2021 at 13:12
• 50 percent duty cycle Commented Apr 12, 2021 at 13:23
• I guess it depends on the voltage. Look at the datasheet, at the safe operating area. If you apply 10 V V_DS I wouldn't use it without a heat sink Commented Apr 12, 2021 at 13:27
• If the voltage source that drives Vgs(t) is current limited, that is, it's not able to deliver at least 1 A to the gates of your MOSFETs you will have to take into account the "switching losses" as well. -------- I would use two MOSFETs with Rds less 0.010 Ω Commented Apr 12, 2021 at 13:46

Consider the scenario without a heatsink first: -

• The junction-to-ambient thermal resistance for the IRLZ44N is 62°C/watt
• The on-resistance of the IRLZ44N is 0.022 Ω with a 10 volt gate-source drive voltage.

This means that if each is taking 10 amps drain current, the power dissipated is 2.2 watts in each. From that power we can conclude that the MOSFET junction will warm by 136.4°. But, given you are operating them on a 50% duty cycle, the average junction temperature will warm by 68.2°C.

• The maximum junction temperature for the IRLZ44N MOSFET is 175°C (take note)

But, you have things fighting against you: -

• Ambient temperature around the MOSFETs may begin at around 25°C but will rise due to heat not adequately being taken away. Only you can determine this but, it might be sensible to assume that in an ambient of 25°C, locally it may rise by another 40°C.
• Both MOSFETs will not share current equally; you might find that one of them takes two-thirds of the current hence it will dissipate more power.

So, concentrating on the MOSFET that might have an on-resistance of only 0.015 Ω, it might take 13.3 amps and hence its power dissipation is 2.653 watts. Hence it's junction will warm by over 82°C on a 50% duty cycle. Given that the local ambient may become 25°C + 40°C, the junction might see a temperature of: -

82°C + 25°C + 40°C = 147°C and this doesn't leave a lot of comfort-factor.

Do I need to attach big heat sinks?

So, you have the math now, so you can decide.

I'd attach moderately sized heatsinks of circa 30°C/watt thermal resistance and make use of the MOSFET's junction-to-case specification of 1.4°C/watt. Net thermal resistance would be 31.4°C/watt and a much nicer scenario.

One of these: -

Is rated at 24.4°C/watt and so should be good-enough.

• RdsOn rises with Tj by 40% @ 85’C and almost 75% at Tj=125’C

• RDS(on) = 0.022Ω is rated at. Vgs=10V and 25’C so using Tj=85’C , Rds(On) = 0.038 Ω

• With Pd=I^2 * RdsOn = 400 * = 0.038 Ω = 1.52W

• with Rja= 62’C/W ! , Tj = 94’C

• Thus with two parallel FETs Pd is reduced by 50% and temperature rise above ambient is also reduced by 50%. But if the ambient is the paired FET, which rose 47’C it’s case temp will be 1.4’C/W and not much different so air temperature coupling depends on separation and convection cooling to prevent raising the mutual ambient.

50% duty cycle reduces these values to safe levels.

It is marginally Ok with two parallel FETs but far superior with a small heatsink.

This is based on my experience that users underestimate current and forget about DCR on inductive loads which increases the surge current at low speeds.

Taken to extremes for the marketing rating of 50W per device, you would need a super CPU heatsink & fan rated at <0.5’C/W and operate at Tj=125’C ( not advised )