8 ready-made thermal management solutionsJohn Moot
In the automotive industry and medical technology, there are ever greater challenges in the field of electronics. The heat to be dissipated poses ever-increasing tasks.
In this article we present 8 ready-made thermal management solutions:
- Standard thermal conductive foils
- Thermally conductive pads
- Thermally conductive pastes
- Phase change materials
- thermally conductive adhesive
- double-sided thermal conductive tape
- silicone-free graphite foils
- liquid gap fillers
Standard thermally conductive foils
Standard thermal conductive foils are manufactured for smooth and parallel surfaces that do not show any gap to the naked eye. The material smooths out microscopic irregularities in the contact surfaces, which improves the thermal interface and thus increases heat dissipation. They are electrically insulating and typically come in thicknesses between 0.1 mm and 0.3 mm to optimize thermal impedance.
Some films come with an optional adhesive and some use fiberglass reinforcement to improve handling characteristics.
Some silicone-free versions are also available.
Thermally conductive pads/Gap pads
Thermal contact between non-optimal surfaces requires a softer, thicker material to bridge the gaps between the active component and heat sink. They are softer than standard films and, thanks to their excellent compressibility, create optimal thermal contact while providing electrical insulation.
The thicknesses supplied range from 0.5-12.0 mm. Other thicknesses or shapes are available upon request. Some materials have fiberglass reinforcement or are dual-layered for improved handling. Silicone-free versions are also available.
Thermally conductive pastes
Thermal conductive pastes are thixotropic compounds that have good plasticity and very low thermal resistance. Due to the non-crosslinked silicones, there is no drying or leakage of the silicone components. Silicone-free versions are also available.
Phase Change Materials (PCM)
Phase Change Material consists of a combination of hot melt waxes. These films compensate for even the smallest unevenness between the power module and the heat sink, improving contact between the surfaces and increasing heat transfer. There are versions with electrical insulation based on polyimide foils or PEEK foils, as well as electrically non-insulating versions based on copper or aluminum foils.
Thermally conductive adhesive
Thermal conductive adhesives are available as two-component epoxy-based adhesives for permanent mounting of components such as CPU, GPU, BGA, heat sinks, etc., as one- or two-component versions as silicone adhesives, or as adhesive films that are applied to standard foils or gap fillers to help mount components.
Double-sided thermally conductive adhesive tape
Thermal conductive tape is a ceramic-filled, double-sided adhesive tape with excellent, permanent adhesive strength. When properly applied, no mechanical fastening is required. They also provide good thermal performance and excellent electrical insulation.
Silicone-free graphite foils
Graphite foils are based on 100% pure graphite or natural graphite. They have anisotropic thermal conductivity, with very high thermal conductivity in the XY plane and still very good thermal conductivity in the Z axis. Because of their thermal behavior, they are often used as heat spreaders, but also provide a cost-effective solution when electrical insulation is not required.
Liquid Gap Fillers
These gap fillers are two-component silicone materials that are applied through a mixing tube or poured into complex molds. Gap Filler liquids cure at room temperature within 1-24 hours, allowing wet-on-wet assembly of any component without the need for an additional heating step. Automatic dispensing systems enable cost-effective high-volume production.