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Research Papers: Conduction

Modeling and Experimental Characterization of Metal Microtextured Thermal Interface Materials

[+] Author and Article Information
R. Kempers

Department of Mechanical and
Manufacturing Engineering,
Trinty College,
Dublin, Ireland;
Alcatel-Lucent,
Blanchardstown,
Dublin 15, Ireland
e-mail: kempersr@tcd.ie

A. M. Lyons

Department of Mechanical and
Manufacturing Engineering,
Trinity College,
Dublin, Ireland;
City University of New York,
College of Staten Island,
Staten Island, NY

A. J. Robinson

Department of Mechanical and
Manufacturing Engineering,
Trinity College,
Dublin, Ireland

1Corresponding author.

Contributed by the Heat Transfer Division of ASME for publication in the Journal of Heat Transfer. Manuscript received July 17, 2012; final manuscript received May 14, 2013; published online October 25, 2013. Assoc. Editor: Bruce L. Drolen.

J. Heat Transfer 136(1), 011301 (Oct 25, 2013) (11 pages) Paper No: HT-12-1374; doi: 10.1115/1.4024737 History: Received July 17, 2012; Revised May 14, 2013

A metal microtextured thermal interface material (MMT-TIM) has been proposed to address some of the shortcomings of conventional TIMs. These materials consist of arrays of small-scale metal features that plastically deform when compressed between mating surfaces, conforming to the surface asperities of the contacting bodies and resulting in a low-thermal resistance assembly. The present work details the development of an accurate thermal model to predict the thermal resistance and effective thermal conductivity of the assembly (including contact and bulk thermal properties) as the MMT-TIMs undergo large plastic deformations. The main challenge of characterizing the thermal contact resistance of these structures was addressed by employing a numerical model to characterize the bulk thermal resistance and estimate the contribution of thermal contact resistance. Furthermore, a correlation that relates electrical and thermal contact resistance for these MMT-TIMs was developed that adequately predicted MMT-TIM properties for several different geometries. A comparison to a commercially available graphite TIM is made as well as suggestions for optimizing future MMT-TIM designs.

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Figures

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Fig. 1

Metal microtextured thermal interface material (MMT-TIM) concept

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Fig. 2

(a) Unit cell model for an arbitrary MMT-TIM geometry, (b) the equivalent thermal circuit, and (c) finite element formulation of unit-cell

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Fig. 3

(a) Nominal feature geometry for baseline silver MMT-TIM Sample A, (b) photograph and SEM image of MMT-TIM Sample A, (c) representative 3D reconstructed geometry used in FE model

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Fig. 4

Experimental values (o) and model prediction results (—) of compressive deformation of reconstructed MMT-TIM Sample A geometry

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Fig. 5

The range of length-scales present in MMT-TIMs

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Fig. 6

Experimental values of the specific thermal resistance of MMT-TIM Sample A during deformation compared to model predictions neglecting contact resistance

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Fig. 7

Experimental values of the effective thermal conductivity of MMT-TIM Sample A during deformation compared to model predictions with contact resistance neglected

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Fig. 8

Measured specific electrical resistance of MMT-TIM Sample A during deformation

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Fig. 9

Relationship between estimated specific thermal resistance (RcA) and measured specific electrical resistance (RecA) for MMT-TIM Sample A

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Fig. 10

Experimental values and model predictions of effective thermal conductivity of MMT-TIM Sample A

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Fig. 11

(a) Nominal feature dimensions of MMT-TIM Sample B, (b) SEM image of MMT-TIM Sample B feature, (c) representative 3D reconstructed geometry used in FE model

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Fig. 12

Experimental values and model predictions of effective thermal conductivity of MMT-TIM Sample B using either no thermal contact resistance or contact resistance as predicted using Eq. (10)

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Fig. 13

(a) SEM Image of MMT-TIM Sample C as seen from above, (b) reconstructed geometry of a unit-cell of MMT-TIM Sample C used in FE simulation shown in a perspective view

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Fig. 14

Experimental values and model predictions of effective thermal conductivity of MMT-TIM Sample C during deformation

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Fig. 15

Comparison of measured values of the effective thermal conductivity variation with compressive pressure

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Fig. 16

Contribution of bulk and contact thermal resistance to total thermal resistance of MMT-TIM Sample C during deformation (model predictions)

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