Application of Phase Change Materials to Thermal Control of Electronic Modules: A Computational Study

[+] Author and Article Information
D. Pal

Motorola, Inc., 1475 W. Shure Drive, Mail Drop 3G6, Arlington Heights, IL 60004

Y. K. Joshi

CALCE Electronic Packaging Research Center, University of Maryland at College Park, College Park, MD

J. Electron. Packag 119(1), 40-50 (Mar 01, 1997) (11 pages) doi:10.1115/1.2792199 History: Received January 01, 1996; Revised October 01, 1996; Online November 06, 2007


A computational model is developed to predict the performance of phase change materials(PCMs) for passive thermal control of electronic modules during transient power variations or following an active cooling system failure. Two different ways of incorporating PCM in the module are considered. One is to place a laminate of PCM outside the multichip module, and the other is to place the PCM laminate between the substrate and the cold plate. Two different types of PCMs are considered. One is n-Eicosene, which is an organic paraffin, and the other one is a eutectic alloy of Bi/Pb/Sn/In. Computations are performed in three dimensions using a finite volume method. A single domain fixed grid enthalpy porosity method is used to model the effects of phase change. Effects of natural convection on the performance of PCM are also examined. Results are presented in the form of time-wise variations of maximum module temperature, isotherm contours, velocity vectors, and melt front locations. Effects of PCM laminate thickness and power levels are studied to assess the amount of PCM required for a particular power level. The results show that the PCMs are an effective option for passive cooling of high density electronic modules for transient periods.

Copyright © 1997 by The American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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