Estimation of Effective Thermal and Mechanical Properties of Particulate Thermal Interface Materials (TIMs) by a Random Network Model

[+] Author and Article Information
Pavan Kumar Vaitheeswaran

Department of Mechanical Engineering, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana 47907

Ganesh Subbarayan

Department of Mechanical Engineering, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana, 47907

1Corresponding author.

ASME doi:10.1115/1.4039136 History: Received September 20, 2017; Revised January 12, 2018


Particulate thermal interface materials (TIMs) are commonly used to transport heat from chip to heat sink. While high thermal conductance is achieved by large volume loadings of highly conducting particles in a compliant matrix, small volume loadings of stiff particles will ensure reduced thermal stresses in the brittle silicon device. Developing numerical models to estimate effective thermal and mechanical properties of TIM systems would help optimize TIM performance with respect to these conflicting requirements. Classical models, often based on single particle solutions or regular arrangement of particles, are insufficient as real-life TIM systems contain a distriubtion of particles at high volume fractions, where classical models are invalid. In our earlier work, a computationally efficient random network model was developed to estimate the effective thermal conductivity of TIM systems [1, 2]. This model is extended in this paper to estimate the effective elastic modulus of TIMs. Realistic microstructures are simulated and analyzed using the proposed method. Factors affecting the modulus (volume fraction and particle size distribution) are also studied.

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