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Thermally Conductive Insulators And Materials

Jun 24

Thermally Conductive Insulators

Rapid technological developments have increased the requirements for the management of excess heat in electronic devices. Excess heat can negatively affect the performance of electronics products, end-user safety, environmental sustainability and brand reputation. For example, a product that is too hot to touch poses a risk of burns and injuries and can result in negative media coverage, product liability lawsuits and loss of brand value. Hence, thermal management is an essential element of design for reliable operation, cost savings, environmental sustainability and consumer safety.

The Power of Thermally Conductive Insulators of a material is the ease with which it conducts heat, determined by the square of its density times its temperature. The material's conductivity is inversely proportional to its thickness: the higher the density, the lower the thermal conductivity. Typically, the thermal conductivity of metals is very high whereas that of ceramics and polymers is low.

To improve the thermal conductivity of an insulator, it is common to add a filler that is also electrically nonconductive. However, this increases the overall weight of the insulator and reduces its flexibility. The Bergquist SIL PAD series of insulators is designed to maximize thermal conductivity while maintaining electrical insulation. It can be used in a variety of applications requiring both thermal and electrical isolation.

Besides thermal conductivity, the insulator must have demanding physical properties, such as abrasion and chemical resistance. This is particularly important when it comes to insulators used on spacecraft, which undergo severe mechanical stresses during launch and re-entry. For instance, the failure of the Space Shuttle Columbia's insulating tiles was due to excessive re-entry temperatures that caused the airframe to overheat and break apart.

For the same reason, it is critical for automotive components and EVs that require electrical isolation from power supplies and other high-power components to have high mechanical strength and resist extreme thermal stresses. This is why Freudenberg Sealing Technologies has developed new carbon-ceramic composites, which retain high electrical conductivity and excellent thermal insulation – properties that are normally impossible to combine.

In electronic devices, advanced 3D integrated circuit (IC) technologies have pushed the limits of device scaling. As such, it is necessary to find solutions that allow for the integration of more layers in the IC without increasing the size. One way to do this is by using 3D TIMs that provide shorter paths between the processor and its memory, breaking down the “memory wall” and boosting functionality.

The TC series of TIMs from the Bergquist SIL PAD line is designed to maximize thermal and electrical insulation while providing a high level of conductivity. It is available in different sheet sizes and offers a wide range of thermal conductivity, as well as good cut-through resistance. The material can be applied in a variety of assembly processes, including soldering and robotic dispensing. It is also compatible with a wide range of adhesives.


Custom Materials, Inc
16865 Park Circle Drive
Chagrin Falls, Ohio 44023
(440) 543-8284