Trident™ Thermal Conductivity Application Highlight: Measuring Thermal Conductivity of Thermal Interface Materials with MTPS

The following Application Highlight features the use of the Modified Transient Plane Source method in the thermal conductivity testing of thermal interface materials (TIMs).

TIMs are employed as a form of thermal management used in many of today’s electronic devices. They act as an intermediate to aid in heat transfer, usually between a heat generating, temperature sensitive component and a heat sink. They can be found in various formats, including pastes/greases, adhesives, potting compounds, phase change materials (PCMs), thermal gap pads and more. Proper TIM selection will depend on a variety of factors, of which temperature conditions, material compatibility and size/space availability can be viewed amongst the most important. In all cases however, the thermal conductivity of the TIM can be used as a guiding metric to quantify the expected heat dissipation performance. It is therefore crucial to use an accurate method for thermal characterization for both performance improvement and thermal runaway avoidance.


Thermal Paste Figure 1: Thermal Interface Material (conductive paste) being applied to heat sink


Under the transient class of thermal characterization methods, C-Therm’s Modified Transient Plane Source (MTPS) method provides unique capabilities with respect to the measurement of TIMs. Many methods suitable for testing solids are not able to measure other material formats, while MTPS is capable of testing not only solids, but also liquids, powders and pastes across a broad temperature range (-50 to 200C). This allows for the testing of all listed TIM formats using a single method. The MTPS technique is available on C-Therm’s Trident platform, a modular system that can also be configured with the more traditional Flex Transient Plane Source (TPS) and Transient Line Source (TLS) methods.


Trident Thermal Conductivity Testing Heat Transfer Fluid with MTPS Figure 2 - Trident Thermal Conductivity Testing Heat Transfer Fluids with MTPS


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