SEM Annual Conference on Experimental and Applied Mechanics 2011
Conference paper

Analysis and evaluation methods associated with the application of compliant thermal interface materials in multi-chip electronic board assemblies

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Increased demands on large scale server system packaging density have driven the need for new, more challenging electronic component cooling solutions. One such application required the development of a large form-factor printed circuit board assembly with multiple power transformer devices to be cooled via a common heat spreader. Thermally coupling the multiplicity of devices to the heat spreader was completed using a compliant thermal interface material. Given the mechanical tolerance range, the strain rate dependency of the interface material and the mechanical load limitations of the electronic devices, finite element analysis and empirical evaluation techniques were applied to ensure the anticipated interface gaps were established and that the initial and residual mechanical loading effects were understood. A characterization of the thermal interface material's mechanical properties was completed for analysis input. Coupling this input with the geometric and stiffness properties of the assembly's structural elements provided predictions of both the initial as well as the residual mechanical assembly loads. Once completed, experiments using pressure sensitive film and piezo-resistive film load cells were completed to correlate with the acquired analytical predictions.