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Component Level Testing of Application Specific Conditions for Pressure Sensitive Adhesive Thermal Interface Materials
Keywords: TIM, PSA, thermal performance
A common issue with thermal interface materials (TIM) raised by engineers is that vendor data do not match the results obtained from actual applications. Typical reasons for these issues may be vendor variations in testing, such as variances in test procedure and set up, and the test conditions of the test fixture, such as completely flat contact surfaces. This study compares vendor data with results obtained from both realistic and ideal test conditions under consistent test method and uniform test conditions. This study examines the performance of thermal pressure sensitive adhesive (PSA) TIMs, and compares the thermal impedance of various materials from multiple vendors. Both flat and non-flat surfaces are used to examine the differences under ideal condition to that of more realistic in actual applications. The test set-up contains a heater block with interchangeable 1 in Aluminum test head (any surface conditions can be machined in to the interchangeable test head) and the fan/heat sink cooler to mimic applied conditions and loading similar to the actual application. The temperature measurements are modified ASTM D 5470-95 standard based upon a calorimeter concept- 2 locations are measured on the hot side, the heater block, with well defined distance between them and material property to determine the applied power, and a third measurement is taken on the cold side, which is at the center of the heat sink base. Effects of material thickness, surface flatness, and adhesive curing will be discussed along with comparisons of performance for the different materials and the resulting discrepancies to the vendor specified data will be examined.
Herman Chu, Principal Engineer
Cisco Systems, Inc.
San Jose, CA


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