In many of today’s high speed, high density circuits, there is a need to remove large amounts of heat. To facilitate this removal of heat, it is common to adhere a sheet of a high thermal conductivity material (such as aluminum or copper) to the substrate (which may be alumina ceramic). This can result in large expansion mismatches which cause stresses and bowing, with the possibility of delamination, cracking, stressing solder joints, loss of hermeticity, or shorting of a metal lid to wire bonds inside a cavity. One approach to this problem is to use a compliant adhesive to decouple the materials. The present paper is an experimental and theoretical study of the strains as a function of temperature from −40° C to 140° C in a trilayer structure of 0.030 in. or 0.76 mm thick aluminum, 0.006 in. or 0.15 mm thick adhesive, and 0.021 in. or 0.5 mm thick low-temperature cofired (glassy) ceramic. The strains are analyzed using E. Suhir’s theory, and they are measured using strain gages for three adhesives: an epoxy, a fabric-reinforced epoxy, and a silcone elastopolymer. If the adhesive has an elastic modulus below 10 psi or 70 kPa, theory predicts almost complete de-coupling. Between 100 and 105 psi or 700 kPa and 700 MPa, there is partial decoupling, depending on the in-plane dimensions. Above 10,000 psi or 700 MPa, the decoupling is negligible, and the same bowing results for any elastic modulus between 10,000 and 1,000,000 psi or 70 MPa and 7 GPa. For temperatures below 80° C, only the elastomer has enough compliance to provide any de-coupling. Above 80° C, the elastomer de-couples the most, and the unreinforced epoxy the least. Almost all of the observed effects are understandable in terms of the Suhir theory, along with the fact that the elastic modulus of the epoxy materials decreases with increasing temperature. In particular, when there is some decoupling of the materials, the amount of decoupling depends on the in-plane dimensions of the sample.

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