Thermal interface materials (TIM) represent an increasingly important role in electronics manufacturing, performance and reliability. The single most frequent failure mode of electronic devices is heat. Thermal interface materials are designed to minimize the impact of heat in electronic systems even as the power and heat generation increases. Below are the typical forms TIM materials are produced in.
Saint-Gobain boron nitride can play an important role in these TIM materials by controlling key properties of BN powder to meet the thermal, electrical and rheological demands of the application.
By controlling key characteristics like particle size and distribution, density, particle shape and purity, Saint-Gobain is able to maximize the inherent material properties of boron nitride that make it valuable to the TIM market. Saint-Gobain Boron Nitride Powder Solutions offers a variety of grades with high thermal conductivity and excellent dielectric properties.
Density is an important factor when working with BN agglomerates. Higher density improves the thermal performance by increasing the number of contact points within the agglomerate, providing an efficient heat transfer path. Higher density also yields stronger agglomerates, improving the energy tolerance of BN agglomerates in maintaining their morphology.
Saint-Gobain Boron Nitride Powder Solutions offers 3 grades of high density agglomerates (HD grades), ranging from 75 µm to 200 µm in median size.
Dispensable gap filler has been growing in popularity due to the push for more and more automation in the manufacturing industry. Application of a thermal interface material (TIM) to an electronic package has been done historically through pads, films and greases. These systems can be effective, but a dispensable system offers the most benefit in an automated process.
Boron nitride (BN) offers a unique solution for this system with its combination of high thermal conductivity, dielectric properties and low coefficient of friction.
Glass fiber/epoxy laminates have been the foundational structural substrate in printed circuit boards for decades. A PCB substrate can be made from paper, glass fiber in woven or nonwoven form, or a composite of paper and glass fiber. These materials can be impregnated with a variety of resins, but epoxy is the most common. This mix is called a prepreg and is where thermally conductive fillers can also be added to the composition. The need for enhanced thermal performance of the prepreg material which is laminated with copper foil has increased as the industry has progressed from single sided PCBs to multilayer PCBs where several layers of prepreg are laminated with copper foil to become a laminate. It is common for 8 to 16 layer boards to be manufactured.
Due to the concentration of energy in these multilayer boards and ever increasing power requirements in electronic components, thermal demands have increased and boron nitride is an excellent option for heat management within the PCB.