Thermal Interface Solutions

A majority of designers position various thermal interface materials in electronic assemblies between the component and heat sink to rapidly transfer energy. This reduces the operating temperature of components and prolongs the service life of the device to meet warranty specifications.

Thermal interface materials (also referenced as a “TIM”) are mostly thermally conductive, ceramic-filled systems with organic or silicone binders added to make them flowable for dispensing and processing. TIM products typically range from an uncured compound or grease, to two-component cure-in-place products, or to pre-cured gels and elastomer pads. TIM performance is usually graded using both thermal conductivity and thermal resistance specifications. Thermal Conductivity (Watts per meter Kelvin or W/mK) is a bulk property of a material where the higher value indicates better heat conductance and performance. Thermal Resistance (Degrees C-inch square per Watt or °C-in2/W) depicts the rate of heat transfer through mating surfaces in which lower values indicate higher performance. The best solution is highly dependent on the device design and thermal gradient limits or “budget” at operating temperature.

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