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Thermal Management

Choosing the Best Thermal Management Solutions

 

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A thermal management system involves controlling temperature through technology. This technology is based on thermodynamics and heat transfer.

The system will be a specific area of focus, component, or set of components. This can apply across a range of industries, with different, specialist thermal management requirements.

Whether in consumer electronics or high-end aerospace technology, printed wiring board assemblies for today’s increasingly complex electronics present design engineers with an ever-growing need for improved, cost-effective thermal management. Many industry trends, such as cost reduction pressures, reduced footprints, and reduced weight, are counterbalanced by the need for higher circuit density to provide increased functionality to support more user “features.” The end result is an increase in heat generated—a growing need for improved, cost-effective thermal management. Typical applications include:

  • Defense & Aerospace
  • High brightness LED’s
  • Automotive Electronics
  • Power Converters
  • Chemical & Process Industry instrumentation
  • Telecommunications Infrastructure
  • Cell phones & feature-rich consumer electronics
  • High power RF combiner/splitters & power amplifiers
  • Semiconductor chip packaging
  • Server backplanes

Gallon Electric, as a specialist supplier of thermal management solutions, we understand how thermal management supports safety and efficiency in a broad range of applications and industries.

Thermal Management in Electronics

Electronic devices and circuits will generate excess heat. To ensure the safety of these devices and circuits, and to protect them against failure, they require thermal management systems.

A key part of this thermal management is the material that makes up vital electronic components. These components provide the insulation which supports reliability and efficiency while making sure electronics systems meet the ongoing demand for faster performance.

Mica has a high resistance and stability, making it suitably durable for power electronics systems.

Gallon Electric sells mica tubes for use as capacitors and resistors, and in various shapes as other electronic components.

Thermal Management for Batteries

In the automotive and aerospace industries, thermal management is necessary for protecting and insulating batteries.

All vehicles, including electric vehicles, require batteries that are fire-resistant and crash-safe. Consequently, they must have the right kind of protection, which manages heat transfer but also offers a suitably robust barrier to sudden impact or extreme conditions.

Battery thermal management systems for vehicles must include heating for cold climates, insulation for extreme weather, and ventilation.

Another thermal management requirement is for preventing thermal runaway, which can result from chemical reactions that generate excessive heat, causing a positive feedback cycle.

Specialist battery insulation manufactured from mica laminates is, therefore, a critical part of thermal management systems.

Similar battery insulation applies to aircraft, along with insulation for flight recorders, and thermal management in the form of heat shields for ducts and reverse thrust mechanisms.

The Importance of Heat Transfer

Heat transfer is how industrial and mechanical processes, buildings and structures, and even our own bodies, help regulate temperature.

There are three processes involved in heat transfer:

  • Conduction is where heat travels through a solid material;
  • Convection involves heat transfer from less dense materials rising, and cooler, denser materials sinking, due to gravity; and
  • Radiation is where heat travels via light, which can either be visible or non-visible.

With the human body, for example, we can cool ourselves down either by convection, where the surrounding air is cooler than our skin; radiation, where heat radiates across space, so we can remove it through ventilation; and perspiration, which is the body’s own thermal management mechanism.

Any thermal management system is defined by specific parameters, and some can be more complex than others. The content of the system will determine its effectiveness in transferring energy, work, and mass.

The main variable in a thermal management system is temperature. This is its energy level; and where energy levels in the system rise, so the temperature levels of the materials used in the system will rise too.

The problem thermal management systems must solve is the gap between the system’s specifications and its requirements. Filling this gap involves different strategies, from heating and cooling to heat removal, temperature cycling and temperature uniformity.

Thermal Management Design Options

The number of approaches and possible solutions to reduce temperature through heat removal from active devices is almost endless. This remains an active area for development across all application areas and the tools available to designers will continue to evolve. While Arlon does not participate in all of these areas, this section covers some basic approaches, highlighting some common tools with a brief summary of their advantages & disadvantages.

Tools for increasing Convection

  • Active Cooling – Forced Air, Conditioned Air
  • Water Cooled, Vapor Cooled, direct, indirect

While active systems, such as cooling fans, may be extremely effective in heat removal, they add additional design & power requirements, increase costs, and add to devise size & weight. They also add to potential reliability concerns as failures of these systems typically result in device failures.

Tools for increasing Conduction

  • Heat Sinks, Heat Spreaders, Heat Risers & Heavy Metal Backplates
  • Thermal Vias (PTH used to leverage thermal conductivity of copper)
  • Thermal Coins (Inserts of metal conductors in PCB cut-outs under active components to improve heat transfer)
  • Thermal Interface Materials, Thermally Conductive Adhesives, Gap Fillers, Grease, etc.
  • Thermally Conductive Printed Circuit Board Materials

Each of these tools brings its own advantages & disadvantages. Heat-sinks and backplates add cost and weight to a system. Design & optimization of these systems requires a consideration of the metallurgy (usually copper, brass, or aluminum) to balance heat transfer requirements with material thermal conductivity, heat capacity, density, machinability, processing requirements, and costs. Thermal vias can be extremely cost-effective, but there are practical limits in the area covered. Heat transfer in thermal vias is limited to thru-plane heat transfer and can cause reliability concerns if the PTH’s fail due to stresses from thermal expansion. Thermal coins are potentially more cost-effective than a large heat-sink and potentially more reliable than thermal vias, but they add to assembly complexity and costs. Thermal interface materials can be either electrically conductive or electrically insulating and cover a wide variety of materials, such as thermal pastes, greases, phase change materials, tapes, bonding plies, and prepregs. Their primary advantage is that they can displace air gaps & reduce impedance to heat flow at interfaces. Some types of materials can also offer thermal-mechanical de-coupling to minimize stresses from thermal expansion and to reduce vibration-related failures or joint failures and improve reliability through thermal cycling.

 

Thermal-Management Challenges

Upgrades in data-center architecture and systems are making things denser. We’re sometimes doubling, tripling, or even quadrupling the amount of data running through the same form factor, which of course heats up the components and the interiors of data-center systems. Heat wears components out more quickly, requiring most customers to cool their systems more effectively. As the insides of systems become more crowded, there’s limited space for heat to dissipate.

Traditional Solutions

Typically, the industry has used three types of heat-management solutions for cooling components. One option is to use direct metal contact with a heat sink. The designer uses a metal slug between the device and the heat sink. This method provides some cooling, but it usually relies on forced airflow, which is increasingly problematic because there’s more heat generated and less space between the device and the heat sink in which air can flow.

Another option is thermoelastic interface materials (TIMs), or gap pads. TIM materials are spongy, rubberized materials that act as a conduit between a hot module and a cold plate. TIMs are elastic, so they can do a better job than some direct metal contacts in terms of contacting with the module and conducting heat away from it and into the heat sink.

However, one of the pains points some customers are experiencing with gap pads is that over time, the material hardens and tends to degrade in performance. In addition, TIMs may require high levels of compression to get the thermal transfer performance demanded by some customers. In effect, the TIM is squeezed against the optical module, which requires external compression hardware. This is a more complex design, and since the TIM’s elasticity degrades over time, the gap pads need to be replaced periodically.

Finally, some designers use a riding heat sink bonded to a thermal gap pad. With this approach, the designer is primarily considering ganged cages under one heat sink, and the gap pad helps with thermal transfer between individual cages and the heat sink. This solution can have the same drawbacks as a gap pad alone, requiring compression hardware and needing periodic replacement.

Some Cooling Methods in the Thermal Management Industry

Conduction Cooling: Heat transfer from a hotter part to a cooler part by direct contact. Commonly used methods in conduction cooling are conduction in chip carriers, conduction in PCBs, usage of heat frames and thermal conduction modules.

Air cooling via natural convection and radiation: Natural convection is based on the fluid motion caused by the density differences in a fluid due to a temperature difference. The higher the fluid flow rate, the higher is the heat transfer rate. The fluid velocities associated with natural convection currents are naturally low, and thus natural convection cooling is limited to low-power electronic systems.

Air cooling via forced convection: Forced convection includes the addition of an air mover to blow the air through the surrounding electronic components to increase the fluid flow rate which, in turn, increases the heat transfer rate. Forced convection is up to 10 times more effective than natural convection.

Liquid cooling: Because liquids have much higher thermal conductivity rates than gases, liquid cooling is far more effective than gas cooling. However, due to the possibility of leakage, corrosion, extra weight, and condensation, liquid cooling is preferred for applications that involve power densities that are too high for safe dissipation by air cooling. 

Immersion cooling: High-power electronic components can be cooled effectively by immersing them in a dielectric liquid and taking advantage of the very high heat transfer coefficients associated with boiling.

New Thermal Management Technology

Engineers at TE Connectivity recently developed a new solution to thermal management that leverages the strengths of gap pads while overcoming their limitations by creating a metal, mechanical version of a gap pad. Since the design uses a copper-based material, it’s resistant to compression and therefore doesn’t have to be replaced. In addition, the metal material delivers superior thermal resistance and thermal transfer values. Furthermore, it doesn’t normally rely on external compression hardware to make good contact with the optical module

This type of solution is well-suited for applications with limited or no airflow, or where customers use fixed heat-sink solutions such as gang heat sinks or liquid cooling.

Such a device can reduce the overall complexity in a line card or similar application. That’s because in the intended use cases, the thermal bridge doesn’t require additional compression hardware around the gap pad as is usually required for gap-pad compression. It’s composed of multiple plates integrated with springs to give them the ability to adjust to distances between the heat-transfer device and optical module.

Overall, the thermal performance is superior to most gap pads or metal-to-metal heat sinks because it conducts heat more efficiently. There’s one millimeter of travel built into the heat-transfer device; thus, it can make contact more closely with optical modules. In addition, it can conduct heat better because it’s a metal solution.

Choosing the Best Thermal Management Solutions 

The consumer needs for electronics in the current world is increasing each day. Companies also try to reduce the cost of production, reduce weight on these electronics and most importantly increase their functionality. In a move to facilitate all that, manufacturers are using high-end circuits and sophisticated technologies to provide increased functionality to support the growing needs.

The end result of such actions is increased heat production, which affects the overall lifespan of electronics and their components. As a solution, there’s a need for improved and cost-effective thermal management systems as well as it is equally important to finding out best supplier for this area. Gallon Electric can be your trusted supplier for thermal management components because of its various product range & quality and it is also focused to reduce your production costs by providing the best price.

Using high performing electronics facilitates the process of producing heat loads that eventually creates excessive junction temperatures. The end results here are premature failure of the electronics or reduced lifespan of the specific devices. That’s why Gallon Electric is trying to provide effective and reliable heat management solutions which can be ordered for your next project. 

Thermal management products offered by Gallon Electric:

Electronics usually overheat because of the resistance against the flow of electrons by the materials used. Managing the heat produced in this case has always been a very serious and important element of electric design.

To increase the performance of electronic devices, prolong their lifespan and improve reliability, manufacturers should order thermal management systems from a reputable global distributor like Gallon Electric.

These heat management systems facilitate the process of transporting heat from critical components of the electronic device to dissipate it to the environment. Engineers are left with the task of using intelligent thermal designs and systems to reduce the chances of heat-related issues and reduce emitted noise in these machines. Additionally, the below systems from Gallon Electric increases the life expectancy of electronic devices, reduces energy consumption and eventually time and cost to the market.

Fans and Blowers

Fans and Blowers are very popular and useful in facilitating heat dissipation from an electronic device. Fans, unlike blowers, have blades that rotate to create a continuous flow of air around the Operating engine of electronic devices. On the other hand, blowers have impellers that create air circulation in a specific direction. Gallon Electric can provide according to your requirements all types of blowers and fans, including centrifugal blowers, positive displacement blowers, and several others. 

Heat sinks

At the surface of every component, heat is lost to the surrounding. This is a clear indication that the rate of heat loss in this component has something to do with the condition of the surface area. A powered device with a large surface area is likely to lose more heat to the surrounding.

One greater way of helping this is to increase the surface area of the Operating systems. To do this, engineers have included a metal heat sink in the device. The engineer can choose whether to attach the heat sink through stamping, casting, or extrusion.

Heat sinks are made from copper or aluminum and its alloys. The material should be made from a good conductor of heat. These materials also have a finned structure to increase the surface area available for heat dissipation to the surrounding environment.

Gallon Electric is one of the global suppliers for industrial manufacturers by providing high-quality aluminum, copper or synthetic diamond cooling sinks as per their product’s requirements.

Temperature sensors and thermostats

Temperature sensors and thermostats are used to measure temperature in different circuits and facilitate the cooling of these devices up to certain set limits, respectively. Thermostats are simply the components that are used to regulate heating in major electronic devices.

Thermistors, on the other hand, are resistors that increase their functionality with the increase in the degrees of temperature in a device. You can order different types of Thermistors from Gallon Electric, including the PTC Thermistors and many others. 

Thermal cutoffs serve as safety devices that disconnect the flow of current in case the electronic has overheated to a certain level. They also interrupt the flow of current in case the machine has malfunctioned or is at risk of overheating and causing more trouble. These devices ensure that the produced heat doesn’t rise to certain dangerous levels and possibly cause fire or an explosion.

Gallon Electric also offers you an opportunity to place bulk orders for different manufacturing needs. This means you can purchase various types of temperature sensors, thermostats, thermocouples at wholesale any time of the day and see your deliveries facilitated within the shortest time possible.

Thermal Interface Products

Electronic assemblers have already realized that different types of thermal interface products like thermal paste, pad, tapes, thermally conductive grease are very useful. Thermal interface products are widely available on Gallon Electric at affordable prices and improved qualities. Choose the best, choose Gallon Electric for your next project. Please contact with us for your inquiry about different types of thermal management components.

What to expect from Gallon Electric?

Gallon Electric can be your trusted supplier of Thermal Management related components and devices because of its best price & quality and we are also committed to ensuring better technical support for you.

With all the risk awaiting you when purchasing Thermal Management related components and devices globally, you definitely want to contract with a genuine and a trusted wholesaler that will help you place orders and see your order delivered. That is exactly what Gallon Electric offers you.

Why Gallon Electric?

Thermal Management related components and devices for the smart and modern industry and business farm.

Gallon Electric can be your trusted supplier for Thermal Management related components and devices because of its best price & quality and we are also committed to ensuring better technical support for you.

Gallon Electric is committed to providing customers with authorized genuine Thermal Management related components and devices with the least risk of counterfeit. We can provide full traceability on the commercial components sold. From sales to shipping Gallon Electric is committed to meeting your requirements for the right product, on time

Gallon Electric can be your trusted supplier for Thermal Management related components and device buying because of its best price & quality and we are also committed to ensuring better technical support for you. Gallon Electric commits to quality products, high service, and timely delivery to our customers.

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