Thermal spreading resistance is an important phenomenon in contacting bodies and local heating e.g. laser heating. In contacting bodies, the real area of contact is typically less than 2% of the nominal contact area. In practice, due to random nature of contacting surfaces, the actual shape of microcontacts is unknown; therefore, it is advantageous to have a model applicable to any arbitrary-shape heat source. Starting from a half-space representation of the heat transfer problem, a compact model is proposed based on the generalization of the analytical solution of the spreading resistance of an elliptical source on a half-space. Using a “bottom-up” approach, unified relations are found that allow accurate calculation of spreading resistance over a wide variety of heat source shapes under both isoflux and isothermal conditions.

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