Reading time ( words)
IPC’s fall committee meetings were held in conjunction with SMTA International, as has been the case for several years now. I sat in on some subcommittee meetings, including one on laminates, where I met up with Ventec COO Mark Goodwin for a discussion on thermal management from a laminate supplier’s perspective.
Patty Goldman: Good to see you, Mark. How about we talk about thermal management?
Mark Goodwin: Yes, let’s. From our perspective, there are really two material sets that we consider for thermal management. There's the IMS (insulated metal substrate) materials, the metal-back materials, which started off as an LED lighting story. But it's much, much more than an LED lighting story now, particularly with the development in e-vehicles and hybrid vehicles. There's a lot of e-powertrain, so heavy current moving power around in cars.
The second strand is a new direction for us and the technology is a thermally conductive thin core material, thermally conductive prepreg for building multilayers with thermal conductivity or using those layers and those prepregs in standard multilayer constructions, but as a hybrid, so only putting the thermal management where you need to put it.
Goldman: So, is it sort of somehow self-cooling, then?
Goodwin: The materials have a thermal capacity. They can take heat away from embedded components. For example, people using coin technology (embedding a metal inside the PCB under the high-power components so that heat can be dissipated) may not need to use that, or maybe they can use it in conjunction with thermally conductive prepregs, thermally conductive cores. As a company, we’re publishing an eBook through I-Connect007 on thermal management and the materials for thermal management. It's predominantly an IMS story, but there is some discussion in there about the new materials, thin cores and prepregs, and our thinking about thermal management. So that's thermal resistance and thermal impedance compared with thermal conductivity. There's a lot of confusion, particularly at the design stage, I believe.
Goldman: Thermal management seems to encompass a rather broad area. You must separate the parts.
Goodwin: When we talk about thermal management, we're talking about getting the heat out of components, be that an LED chip, or be that an embedded ‘whatever’ in a multilayer circuit board.
Goldman: Does this facilitate embedding?
Goodwin: Yes, the new materials do.
To read this entire article, which ran in the December 2017 issue of The PCB Design Magazine, click here.