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Developments for Copper-Graphite Composite Thermal Cores for PCBs for High-Reliability and High-Temperature RF Systems
Keywords: Thermal Conductivity, CTE Matching, Thermal Core
Target values for development of a CTE-matched, isotropic and highly thermally-conductive thermal composite will be outlined. The manufacturing process developments undertaken for manufacturing a composite material in large, very thin sheets to conform to IPC standard PCB manufacturing requirements will be described, as implemented at a US Navy facility and at major PCB suppliers. This material and process development program successfully offer a new composite thermal core material that replace heavy copper thermal ground planes within high-reliability and harsh environment organic PCBs, to provide a (typically) layer two thermal plane to remove and dissipate heat from high heat flux RF and power semiconductor components, while also offering critical CTE matching to specific materials and semiconductor device materials. Examples of potential applications will also be described for these materials, along with the PCB manufacturing criteria which have been met in order for this to become a commercialized, practical addition to the available CTE-matched materials for high-reliability, harsh environment applications. This development program was undertaken with support from Lockheed Martin, TTM Technologies, and Naval Surface Weapons Center. Assistance in preparing testing and data collection has been provided by Al Pergande, Staff Engineer, Lockheed Martin; Janice Rock, Research Engineer, US Army AMRDEC (Redstone Arsenal AL USA); John Vesce, Vice President, TTM Technologies; and Ross Wilcoxon.
David L Saums, Principal
Amesbury, MA

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