Thermal Interface Material
As electronics become smaller and more powerful, there becomes a need to explore options for cooling and thermal dissipation of the electronic. Thermal interface materials (TIMs) are a common material used in electronics to transfer the heat away from hot components to cooling hardware. TIMs are designed to fill in air gaps, which act as thermal insulation, to provide for improved heat transfer, lower thermal resistance and overall better cooling of the electronic.
Thermal conductivity plays a vital role in the research and design of new thermal interface materials. Researchers seeking better performing TIMs create materials with high thermal conductivity values to improve heat transfer between layers.
Thermally Conductive and Highly Electrically Resistive Grease
The basis behind thermal interface materials is the use of a polymer base such as silicone oil or epoxy resin and the addition of high thermally conductive fillers such as ceramics or metals. This particular study focuses on using a gallium-alloy based filler due to its high thermal conductivity value (39 W/mK) pure & 13.6 W/mK oxidized)
Four different mixtures were tested with liquid metal fractions of 60%, 71.4%, 77.8% and 81.8%. The graph below demonstrates the experimentally obtained thermal conductivity values of the liquid metal poly greases, using the C-Therm TCi. These values show that the addition of liquid metal significantly improves the thermal conductivity of the thermal interface greases.
Mei, S., Gao, Y., Dend, Z., & Liu, J. (2014). Thermally Condutive and Highly Electrically Resistive Grease Through Homogeneously Dispersing Liquid Metal Droplets Inside Methyl Silicone Oil. Journal of Electronic Packaging, 011009.