Basics of Polymers for Thermal Management of Electronic Devices

By Claire Wemp

Overheating is the number one cause of electronic component failure and requires aggressive thermal management strategies. That’s why thermal interface materials (TIMs) have become ubiquitous in today’s electronic assemblies, working to dissipate heat from heat-sensitive components, improve device reliability and prevent premature failure.

There are two main categories of thermal interface materials, TIM1, and TIM2. When used together they create a comprehensive thermal management solution at both the chip and semiconductor package level.

TIM1 materials remove heat at the chip level, creating a thermal conduction pathway from the heat generating chip to its metallic lid. As the first line of defense against overheating, TIM1 materials are vital for long term reliability.TIM1 materials are formulated to meet rigorous requirements. They must withstand temperatures up to 150°C (in reliability cycling), effectively wet adjoining surfaces and mitigate heat induced mechanical stresses caused by CTE (Coefficient of Thermal Expansion) mismatches. CTE is a material property that describes the extent to which a material expands and contracts due to changes in temperature

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