In our Qpedia Thermal eMagazine we reported on whether or not thermal grease is a reliable thermal interface material. When thermal greases are operated for an extended length of time the thermal interface resistance can actually increase. The degradation mechanisms of greases are considerably different and more complicated to characterize than other thermal interface solutions. In this article we explore the failure mechanisms of grease interface layers as well as reliability testing and results.
In the meantime we thought we’d list many of the current thermal interface companies in the market today to give you a “one stop” shop to source the right thermal interface material for your next project. Here’s the list, all links worked based on testing here at QATS.
Fujipoly: Thermal putty and gap fillers.Don’t discount this stuff! Worth a look for bridging the IC to the case without a heat sink. Also useful where you need to fill in spaces with odd shapes. In some applications can be near to phase change material performance
Chomerics: One of our faves. Phase Change Material (PCM) that works almost as good as grease but with none of the mess. You must have the proper pressure over time on the heat sink to the PCM to make this work well. Obviously, we would recommend our superGRIP or maxiGRIP for that task.
To cool hotter components, engineers are turning to larger fans and heat sinks and increased surface areas. The downside is that these hardware changes add significant cost to the design. Alternatively, a cooling systems performance can be improved just by using a better interface material to lower thermal resistance at the interface of the case and the heat sink. Participants will learn to overcome related thermal challenges by making simple and cost-effective changes in thermal interface materials.
In another video from our lab, Greg, an ATS thermal engineer, demonstrates the sometimes tricky application of thermal grease. Thermal grease is among the best TIM conductors, but, it’s messy! Check Greg’s careful application for how to do it:
In our latest short “how to” video, ATS engineer Greg demonstrates the correct way to apply thermal tape to your heat sink. It’s one minute, 30 seconds in length and will help you get it right if you’ve never applied tape before: