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Keywords: Thermal Management, Thermal Pyrolytic Graphite, Simulation
Thermal management is an increasingly challenging problem in today’s microelectronics industry. As power requirement increases and available space decreases, innovative materials with high thermal conductivity (TC) and light weight are desired to remove the critical heat. Incorporating novel thermal management materials other than commonly used metals (aluminum, copper etc.) presents not only a challenge to the system designs, but also to the integration technologies. Many times computational methods are implemented at the early stage of the projects to greatly reduce the number of design iterations, the length of design cycles and, thus, the overall project cost. Tools like thermal simulation are gaining popularity and importance in the design work of today’s high power electronics, especially in the design of high performance thermal management systems. The study presented in this paper investigated the benefits of incorporating Thermal Pyrolytic Graphite (TPG), a unique synthetic material produced by Momentive with 4x higher thermal conductivity of copper and 1/4 of its weight, into high power LED headlight assembly. Design configuration and power performance of an aftermarket LED headlight replacement kit was used as the baseline. Based on thermal resistance analysis, two components of the LED headlight assembly were highly modified to incorporate TPG solutions. Thermal simulation was conducted in parallel and successfully predicted the performance of each experimental heat sink, which facilitated design choices for subsequent prototypes. Our bench tests on the LED headlight prototypes, which incorporated TPG in various configurations, indicated: I. Replacing aluminum fins with metallized TPG plates (TMP-FX) reduced total system thermal resistance by 27%. II. Inserting a TPG core (TC1050) underneath LED dies achieved another 24% thermal resistance reduction. Our final study demonstrated that 2x of the LED power can be loaded to the assembly with TPG at the two strategic locations. With current TMP product portfolio, Momentive has extended expertise and success from thermal management at the board level with TC1050 Heat Spreaders to the chip level with TMP-EX Heat Sinks and TMP-FX Thermal Straps. Integrating multiple TMP products together with the assistance of computer simulation presents additional opportunities to maximize the heat dissipation in high power electronics, including RF, microwave, LED and laser assemblies.
Wei Fan, Senior Materials Scientist
Momentive Performance Materials Inc.
Strongsville, OH

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