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Enhanced thermal transport in soft composites through magnetic alignment and contact engineering

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Soft polymer composites with improved thermal conductivity are needed for the thermal management of electronics. Interfacial thermal boundary resistance, however, prevents the efficient use of many high thermal conductivity fill

Soft polymer composites with improved thermal conductivity are needed for the thermal management of electronics. Interfacial thermal boundary resistance, however, prevents the efficient use of many high thermal conductivity fill materials. Magnetic alignment of ferrous fill material enforces percolation of the high thermal conductivity fill, thereby shifting the governing boundary resistance to the particle- particle interfaces and increasing the directional thermal conductivity of the polymer composite. Magnetic alignment maximizes the thermal conductivity while minimizing composite stiffening at a fill fraction of half the maximum packing factor. The directional thermal conductivity of the composite is improved by more than 2-fold. Particle-particle contact engineering is then introduced to decrease the particle- particle boundary resistance and further improve the thermal conductivity of the composite.

The interface between rigid fill particles is a point contact with very little interfacial area connecting them. Silver and gallium-based liquid metal (LM) coatings provide soft interfaces that, under pressure, increase the interfacial area between particles and decrease the particle-particle boundary resistance. These engineered contacts are investigated both in and out of the polymer matrix and with and without magnetic alignment of the fill. Magnetically aligned in the polymer matrix, 350nm- thick silver coatings on nickel particles produce a 1.8-fold increase in composite thermal conductivity over the aligned bare-nickel composites. The LM coatings provide similar enhancements, but require higher volumes of LM to do so. This is due to the rapid formation of gallium oxide, which introduces additional thermal boundaries and decreases the benefit of the LM coatings.

The oxide shell of LM droplets (LMDs) can be ruptured using pressure. The pressure needed to rupture LMDs matches closely to thin-walled pressure vessel theory. Furthermore, the addition of tungsten particles stabilizes the mixture for use at higher pressures. Finally, thiols and hydrochloric acid weaken the oxide shell and boost the thermal performance of the beds of LMDs by 50% at pressures much lower than 1 megapascal (MPa) to make them more suitable for use in TIMs.

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Date Created
  • 2019

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Thermal interface material characterization under thermo-mechanical stress of induced angle of tilt

Description

Thermal interface materials (TIMs) are extensively used in thermal management applications especially in the microelectronics industry. With the advancement in microprocessors design and speed, the thermal management is becoming more

Thermal interface materials (TIMs) are extensively used in thermal management applications especially in the microelectronics industry. With the advancement in microprocessors design and speed, the thermal management is becoming more complex. With these advancements in microelectronics, there have been parallel advancements in thermal interface materials. Given the vast number of available TIM types, selection of the material for each specific application is crucial. Most of the metrologies currently available on the market are designed to qualify TIMs between two perfectly flat surfaces, mimicking an ideal scenario. However, in realistic applications parallel surfaces may not be the case. In this study, a unique characterization method is proposed to address the need for TIMs characterization between non-parallel surfaces. Two different metrologies are custom-designed and built to measure the impact of tilt angle on the performance of TIMs. The first metrology, Angular TIM Tester, is based on the ASTM D5470 standard with flexibility to perform characterization of the sample under induced tilt angle of the rods. The second metrology, Bare Die Tilting Metrology, is designed to validate the performance of TIM under induced tilt angle between the bare die and the cooling solution in an "in-situ" package testing format. Several types of off-the-shelf thermal interface materials were tested and the results are outlined in the study. Data were collected using both metrologies for all selected materials. It was found that small tilt angles, up to 0.6°, have an impact on thermal resistance of all materials especially for in-situ testing. In addition, resistance change between 0° and the selected tilt angle was found to be in close agreement between the two metrologies for paste-based materials and phase-change material. However, a clear difference in the thermal performance of the tested materials was observed between the two metrologies for the gap filler materials.

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Date Created
  • 2011