Measurements and modeling of the thermal resistance of thin (< 100 microns) bond-lines are reported for composite thermal interface materials (TIMs). The composite TIMs consist of alumina particles dispersed in a polymer matrix to form six different adhesive materials. These model TIMs have a common matrix material and are distinguished by their particle size distributions. Bond-lines are formed in a three-layer assembly consisting of a substrate-TIM-substrate structure. The thermal resistance of the bond-line is measured, as a function of bond-line thickness, using the laser flash-technique. A linear variation of resistance with bond-line thickness is observed; Rbl = β · Lbl + Ro. A model is presented that predicts the effective thermal conductivity of the composite as a function of the particle and matrix conductivity, the particle-matrix surface conductance, the particle volume fraction and the particle size distribution. Specifically a method is introduced to account for a broad, continuous size distribution. A particle-matrix surface conductance value of ∼10W/mm2K is found to give good agreement between the measured and predicted effective thermal conductivity values of the composite TIMs.

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