SMTA International Conference Proceedings

A.R.E.A - Component Level Testing of Thermal Interface Materials

Authors: Harry Schoeller, Ph.D. and Martin K. Anselm, Ph.D.
Company: Universal Instruments Corp.
Date Published: 9/28/2014   Conference: SMTA International

Abstract: While component footprint size continues to decrease year after year, power dissipation continues to increase. Thermal interface materials (TIMs) are frequently used to increase the efficiency of heat transfer from the die to the thermal solution. However selection of a TIM can be problematic because the supplier data is often unreliable, differing considerably from what is encountered out in the field. Additionally the standard for measuring thermal resistance of TIMs, ASTM D-5470, is flawed because of unrealistic loading conditions and contact resistances.

In an effort to provide more realistic thermal resistance measurements, a variable load component level test fixture was developed for measuring the thermal resistance of TIMs. The thermal resistances of 13 commercially available gap pads were measured at 10% and 30% compression. Additionally some of the more compliant gap pads were characterized at 50% or 60% compression. Thermal resistance measurements were compared to data published by the supplier. The microstructure of each gap pad was also studied in conjunction with thermal resistance measurements to help explain the thermal performance.

Key Words: 

Thermal Interface Material, Thermal Resistance, Gap Pad

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