Rogers Corporation Advanced Circuit Materials Division
Thermal management is a critical element in the design and manufacturing of printed circuit boards (PCBs) for a wide range of applications. Quite simply, heat can be destructive. The more effectively that heat is dissipated from a PCB, the better the opportunity for a long, reliable operating lifetime for that PCB. Attaching a heat sink to the PCB can be an important step in the thermal management process, and several methods are available for attachment, including sweat soldering, fusion bonding, mechanical press fit, and the use of thermally conductive adhesive.
Each approach has strengths and weaknesses, although the use of thermally conductive adhesive may be the simplest procedure. A number of studies performed with Thermally and Electrically Conductive Adhesive (TECA) materials may help to shed some light on the benefits of using such thermally conductive adhesives, and these studies will be reviewed in three segments: fabrication techniques and testing, thermal performance, and electrical performance.
In short, the study illustrates the complexity of achieving optimum thermal and electrical performance with any circuit, especially at higher frequencies. Tradeoffs typically involve a careful choice of PCB materials for applications at higher frequencies that must also handle higher power levels. Fortunately, emerging TECA materials are providing reliable thermal performance while also enabling electrical operation at higher frequencies, through 25 GHz.
Initially Published in the IPC Proceedings