Thermal interface materials are used to reduce the interfacial thermal resistance between contacting surfaces inside electronic packages, such as at the die-heat sink or heat spreader-heat sink interfaces. In this study, the change in thermal performance was measured for elastomeric gap pads, gap fillers, and an adhesive throughout reliability tests. Three-layer composite structures were used to simulate loading conditions encountered by thermal interface materials in actual applications. The thermal resistance of the thermal interface material, including contact and bulk resistance, was calculated using the Lee algorithm, an iterative method that uses properties of the single layers and the 3-layer composite structures, measured using the laser flash method. Test samples were subjected to thermal cycling tests, which induced thermomechanical stresses due to the mismatch in the coefficients of thermal expansion of the dissimilar coupon materials. The thermal resistance measurements from the laser flash showed little change or slight improvement in the thermal performance over the course of temperature cycling. Scanning acoustic microscope images revealed delamination in one group of gap pad samples and cracking in the putty samples.

This content is only available via PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.