Component Management

Challenges of high-performance electronics addressed by gel range

24th November 2014
Barney Scott

As more and more high performance electronics are utilised across a wide range of applications, there is a growing need to provide innovative thermal materials that can effectively manage heat dissipation challenges. In line with this need, Parker Chomerics is constantly evolving its range of THERM-A-GAP thermally conductive dispensing gels in order for customers to maintain both system performance and reliability.

Parker Chomerics has recently extended its range of gels to offer thermal conductivity up to 6W/m·k. Typical applications include high performance devices requiring minimal thermal resistance, ranging from automotive ECUs, power supplies and semiconductors, through to memory/power modules, MPUs/graphics processors, flat panel displays and consumer electronics.

Heat generated by high performance devices must be removed to the ambient environment to maintain the junction temperature of components within safe operating limits. Often this heat removal process involves conduction from a package surface to a heat spreader that can more efficiently transfer the heat away. The spreader has to be joined carefully to the package to minimise the thermal resistance of this newly formed thermal joint.

Typical thermal interface materials include THERM-A-GAP gels, which are supplied as pre-cured, single component compounds that can be dispensed over the heat generating package or component. These materials are silicone-based formulations loaded with conductive fillers, which are cross-linked to form a low modulus gel.

The latest additions to the innovative THERM-A-GAP family are setting benchmarks in performance, as they need only ultra-low compression force to conform over irregular interfaces, and can be applied to single devices with minimum bond-line thickness as well as to multiple devices with variable Z-axis tolerances. The gel structure provides superior long-term thermal stability and reliable performance over conventional greases, which suffer from pump-out and dry-out issues.

Offering low thermal impedance and high bulk thermal conductivity, further advantages of the gels include the elimination of a cure cycle and the ability to be readily reworked, thus offering a highly attractive performance-to-price ratio. They require no refrigeration, no mixing and have no filler settling issues. THERM-A-GAP also eliminates time consuming hand assembly, and reduces installation costs and customer manufacturing and purchasing (logistical) complexity.

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