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Thermal Interface Materials Characterization and Development by Computer Modeling and in Package Testing
Keywords: Computer Modeling, in-package testing, Thermal interface material
Testing properties of newly developed TIMs has traditionally relied upon transient methods of measuring the thermal conductivity, such as guarded hot wire, laser flash, or the like. These methods allow for rapid measurement in a laboratory, which can allow many formulations to be tested quickly and lead to faster formulation optimization. However, when the user of these materials applies them to a package and evaluates the TIM under actual or accelerated conditions, significant differences between the tested thermal properties and in package properties become apparent. Computer modeling, on the other hand, is an important tool used to understand the intricacies of package construction how the thermal performance is changed by varying the thermal interface material properties. A solution to the disparity of lab testing and in-package performance can be addressed by developing a test package that is representative of a customer’s final application, and evaluate the TIM performance directly on that thermal test vehicle while concurrently modeling the system. By standardizing the test parameters between the actual package and computer model, a correlation can be developed with the developmental TIM’s expected performance in-package. This paper will discuss the development of a computer model concurrently with a new in-package thermal test apparatus for characterizing new thermal interface materials. This practice of modeling and testing allows for a more appropriate method of characterizing new thermal interface materials. Discussion will involve discrepancies in the testing and correlating the material properties to other test methods for quantifying thermal performance of materials. There is a need in the industry to better match properties data of TIMS with actual, expected performance in-package.
David Zoba, Sr. Staff Engineer
LORD Corporation
Cary, NC

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