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Design007-Oct2020

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66 DESIGN007 MAGAZINE I OCTOBER 2020 Thermal management plays a central role in circuit and electronic assembly design, ensur- ing improved reliability and increased perfor- mance of devices. But what if you could push the boundaries even further and extend the long-term stability? To explore how this can be achieved, I'm going to touch on some of the latest advances in thermal management tech- nology. Also, in keeping with our five-tip format, I will take a closer look at options for the auto- mated application of thermal interface materi- als (TIMs) and discuss the feasibility of using a high thermal conductivity encapsulation resin instead of a TIM. There are a number of environmentally friendly thermal manage- ment materials available these days, so I will also examine ways to improve your green cre- dentials, as well as demystify the importance of bulk thermal conductivity. Without further ado, let's get started with the new advances in thermal management. Pushing the Boundaries of Thermal Management 1. What are the latest advances in thermal management technology, and how do these products differ from some of the more traditional pastes and greases? Thermal pastes and greases have been lead- ing the way in thermal management for many years and are expected to do so for many more years to come. Pastes are easy to apply and rework whilst providing a cost-effective alter- native to thermally conductive encapsulants. However, make way for the new kids on the block: phase change materials (PCMs). Once heated above their phase change tem- perature, PCMs become highly thixotropic liq- uids that perform as well as—and sometimes even better than—a traditional thermal grease. Moreover, their low phase change temperature ensures low thermal resistance over a wide temperature range and safeguards minimal bond line thickness with improved stability. With phase change technology, a key benefit is Sensible Design by Jade Bridges, ELECTROLUBE

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