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Design007-Jan2018

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98 DESIGN007 MAGAZINE I JANUARY 2018 Over the past few months, I have been exploring the subject of thermal management materials and solutions: why we use them in the first place, what materials and methods are available to us, how we apply them, and what the limitations are of these materials, as we put them to the test in real world applications. In these columns, you may have noticed more than a passing reference to a new generation of thermal management solutions, phase change materials, which offer many advantages over more traditional, non-curing thermal pastes, such as the achievement of minimal bond line thickness with improved stability and pump out resistance. Phase change materials are also attracting the attention of specialist electron- ics sectors such as the LED lighting industry, where they are increasingly becoming the product of choice for larger sized assemblies destined for exterior and heavy-duty interior LED lighting applications. So, this month, I'm going to look more closely at phase change materials and I will cite some of the "FAQs" that our customer support teams field every day on the telephone, at exhibitions and when visiting customers' premises. I've selected five of the most common questions and hope the answers offer useful guidance for those readers who are keen to find out more about these inno - vative new thermal management products. Can you please explain exactly what changes take place in the properties of phase change materials during their use? A phase change material is designed to alter its state at the phase change temperature, meaning that it will transition from a solid material to a softer material above the phase change temperature. This allows the product to 'flow' into all the voids and small gaps that are present at an interface between two substrates, just like a paste would do on application, thus Phase Change Materials: A Practical Addition to Thermal Management Options Sensible Design by Jade Bridges, ELECTROLUBE

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