LORD Corporation's thermal interface materials offer improved reliability for advanced laminate technologies

Assembly Automation

ISSN: 0144-5154

Publication date: 22 February 2008



(2008), "LORD Corporation's thermal interface materials offer improved reliability for advanced laminate technologies", Assembly Automation, Vol. 28 No. 1. https://doi.org/10.1108/aa.2008.03328aaf.004

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

LORD Corporation's thermal interface materials offer improved reliability for advanced laminate technologies

LORD Corporation's thermal interface materials offer improved reliability for advanced laminate technologies

A leading supplier of thermal management materials, adhesives, coatings and encapsulants to the electronics industry, LORD Corporation has announced the acceptance and growth in use of advanced laminates to meet the increased requirements for heat dissipation, especially in the automotive industry.

“Although electronics engineers have been successful using thermal pads or cushions in the past, as devices get smaller yet experience higher speeds and outputs, the industry needs better solutions in the form of advanced laminate technology” said George Sears, Product Development and Technical Service Manager at LORD Corporation. “The fine-feature multilayer laminate is ideal for dual-sided surface mount components, is compatible with through- hole components, and can be used in the passenger compartment, under the hood and near/on the engine.”

According to Sears, today's tiers 1 and 2 suppliers are challenged to develop products that withstand harsher environments at higher temperatures. Furthermore, components must efficiently perform in their operational environment compared to yesteryear's remote environment.

“For example, many devices are now designed to be in the transmission or in the exhaust gas recirculation system; thus, they are forced to operate in extreme temperatures and environments,” said Sears. “In traditional ceramic technology, the heat dissipation to the baseplate is typically of a low stress design. However, with smaller devices, the ability to use both surfaces of circuitry is ideal if not essential. This is where advanced laminate circuitry can give added functionality in situations where constraints on module size are required.”

Although advanced laminates have been available for several years in other industries, such as the laptop market, application in the automotive world is in its infancy largely because of end-use operating conditions. For example, while a laptop is typically found in an office setting, protected from the elements, automotive electronics are exposed to a variety of harsh factors ranging from higher temperature environments and ambient weather conditions to road debris and automotive chemicals.

While the double-sided feature of advanced laminates offers new flexibility and freedom of design, they also lead to new demands regarding heat dissipation. Materials must now offer higher thermal performance and lower stress on devices. Thermally conductive materials need to act as the thermal path between active devices mounted on the laminate circuit and the metal housing which acts as the heat sink. These materials will need to be sandwiched between the sensitive silicon IC's that are rigidly attached to the laminate and the aluminum baseplate or housing. Thermal interface materials (TIM) have shown to be the solution of choice if matched correctly with the electronics design. To be able to maximize the thermal dissipation, however, the materials have to be highly conductive yet offer very low modulus to prevent stress on the circuitry and components.

Although widely accepted as a solution in other microelectronics sectors, the use of gels as a TIM in the automotive arena is still a relatively new concept. For years, thermal pads and greases were the norm because the automotive industry did not yet demand the processor speed and high-heat output found in other markets. Available as a solution for the electronics industry for almost a decade, some gels offer higher heat dissipation along with better conformity, which gives the electronics longer life and higher reliability. For example, some products offer a range of thermal performance in low-modulus silicone gels that do not age-harden in continuous high- temperature environments.

LORD offers a range of gels to suit varying customer applications which provide the user with different bond line thicknesses, modulus and electrical resistivity.

For more information, please visit: www.lord.com