Thermal Interface Material (TIM) is a critical component of efficient thermal management in modern electronics and industrial applications. These materials fill gaps and irregularities that can inhibit heat transfer between mating surfaces, allowing components to contact each other more effectively and reduce overall system resistance. There are a number of different options to consider for TIMs including grease, silicone, adhesives and pads. Each type of TIM has its own unique set of characteristics that should be evaluated to ensure they are suited for an application’s specific challenges.
The two key characteristics to look for in a TIM are thermal conductivity and viscosity. The higher the thermal conductivity of a TIM, the better its ability to transfer heat between mating components. The viscosity of a TIM determines how thick or thin it is and its ease of handling. The thinner a TIM is, the easier it is to apply.
Pads and tapes are fabricated to be easy to place and offer a range of size, thickness, and thermal performance options. They also require less force to bond to mating surfaces than pastes and gels. This can reduce the risk of voids or other defects in the assembly process.
Unlike traditional foams and plastics, thermoset and thermoplastic polyimide thermal gap fillers have high thermal conductivity and abrasion resistance while still offering good dielectric strength. They are ideal for a variety of applications including gap filling, cushioning, and protecting against vibration and warping of sensitive devices in challenging environmental conditions.