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High Temperature Reliability of Thermal Interface Materials
Keywords: thermal interface materials, high operating temperatures, thermal degradation
Organic or polymer-based interface materials provide many benefits for thermal management applications. These benefits include enhanced wetting, vibration dampening, CTE stress absorption, and cost. However, depending on the temperature exposure, these polymer systems can have high temperature and/or prolonged temperature reliability issues. In this presentation, the temperature limitations of organic and non-organic interface materials are explored. Thermal impedance of various thermal interface materials were tested over 1000 hour exposure at high temperatures (>150C) and show that thermal impedance can increase significantly by over 70%. Analytical techniques such as FTIR, thermogravimetric analysis (TGA), differential scanning calorimetry were used to determine the cause for degradation. Inorganic based thermal interface materials showed an initial (1 week) shift in impedance values of up to 80%, however these values did not continue to rise over the remainder of the six week testing. Organic based thermal interface materials showed an initial shift in thermal impedance of up to 900%, with bond failure occurring in as little as two weeks at elevated temperature. FTIR analysis of inorganic interface materials showed no change after six weeks at elevated temperatures, while those of organic based interface materials showed band broadening likely do to oxidation of the base polymer. TGA results showed that after a 3hr exposure to 250C, inorganic based interface materials showed only a 6% loss in mass, while organic based interface materials showed up to 11% loss in mass, with a much less asymptotic profile than the inorganic based interface materials.
Tom Rogers, Technical Director
Westmoreland, NH
United States

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