Compact Thermal Models (CTMs) utilize a few connected thermal nodes to represent the thermal characteristics of electronic packages. These models are preferable to highly discretized models in preliminary design and system level analysis because of their computational efficiency. Surface heat flux non-uniformities often make it necessary to subdivide the package surfaces into multiple CTM nodes. This division is often quantified as the surface area ratio. This work assesses CTM performance sensitivity to area ratio changes and variation in heat transfer coefficient boundary conditions. CTMs for benchmark TQFP and BGA packages are developed using an admittance matrix approach. While optimum area ratios are identified, a direct correlation between these optimal values and the heat flux distributions computed from fully-discretized models was not obtained. CTM performance was found to be sensitive to changes in the heat transfer coefficient used to generate the CTM parameter values. A critical generating heat transfer coefficient was determined such that the resulting CTM, when optimized for a single boundary condition, was relatively accurate over the whole set of boundary conditions considered. This single boundary condition also provided an upper bound for error. This finding could be significant in future CTM development procedures.

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