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PCBD-June2017

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68 The PCB Design Magazine • June 2017 by Alistair Little ELECTROLUBE Resins Past, Present and Future SENSIBLE DESIGN I have been working with polymers and res- ins for more than 20 years now. Modesty aside, I have been involved in several significant de- velopments ranging from structural composite resin and pre-preg systems for the aerospace and automotive industries, to my current activities with a strong team of chemists, formulating new resins for the protection of modern electri- cal and electronic assemblies. Over this period, the electronics industry has witnessed an extraordinary rate of technologi- cal change, and we chemists have been hard at work keeping abreast of developments to ensure that we can supply the materials necessary to maximise the performance of high-performance electronic systems in physically and environ- mentally challenging conditions. I thought you might be interested in the progress my industry has made over these past 20 years and how resin chemistry has evolved to keep pace with the remarkable achievements of the electronics industry, such as device minia- turisation, smart mobile telephony, electric ve- hicles, and flexible display technology. Miniaturisation is a great place to begin, because this has posed some of the greatest challenges to developers of resin systems for electronic device manufacturers. As electronics real estate has gotten vanishingly smaller, the density of components has increased substan- tially and the work these components have to perform, confined as they are, has resulted in a concentration of electrical energy and an inevi- table rise in operating temperatures. You only have to compare the size and processing power of mobile phones manufactured in the 1990s with what we have today to see what I mean! The thermal performance of resins has, therefore, come under greater scrutiny in recent years, and their ability to conduct heat efficient- ly from electronic assemblies is one of several important considerations when choosing an appropriate resin system. The thermal conduc- tivity of modern epoxy or polyurethane potting

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