Manufacturers are continuously looking for ways to develop faster, smarter, or smaller devices to attract consumers. The devices’ electronic components, however, can produce a lot of heat within smaller housings, which can be harmful to the device as well as the user. At Fabri-Tech Components, Inc., we provide innovative thermal management solutions for safe, reliable functionality in electronic applications and more.
What Is Thermal Management?
Thermal management is the process of controlling, distributing, and removing excess heat from electronic devices in order to boost efficiency and safeguard against overheating and component damage. High temperatures affect the transfer of information because electrical circuits operate less effectively in such conditions. Manufacturers utilize various materials and techniques to successfully achieve thermal management, making it applicable for a broad spectrum of uses, primarily in electronic devices that generate high levels of heat.
Thermal Management in Everyday Applications
Manufacturers design all electronics with thermal management considerations. The miniaturization and proliferation of electronic devices have increased the demand for unique solutions. Handheld devices such as cell phones, medical devices, and drones would quickly wear out without modern thermal management methods. Other groundbreaking electronics like solar panels are creating new opportunities for electrical engineers seeking innovative techniques to improve thermal energy regulation.
Thermal Management in Electronic Devices
In electronics, thermal management is necessary for:
- Improving electronic device efficiency
- Preventing damage
- Increasing component life span
- Ensuring consumer safety
Circuits and microchips become less efficient, even dangerous, at high temperatures. Heat also slows the speed of information exchange, decreasing functionality. Thermal management is particularly important for handheld or pocket-sized devices like Smartphones, which should not reach exterior temperatures over 82° F. Medical equipment also relies on proper heat distribution to work safely and reliably.
Thermal Management Techniques
To safeguard against excessive heat, manufacturers may use the following preventative methods:
- Potting and encapsulation. Enveloping a device and filling gaps between components and their housings displaces air, insulates a component, and creates heat transfer to prevent electrical shorts.
- Adhesives. Using adhesives is a common method for allowing heat transfer as they provide minimal thermal resistance.
- Layering. Graphite is highly conductive. Layering graphite with PET can provide necessary insulation and thermal transfer.
- Gap fillers. A combination of Silicones, Boron Oxide, conductive fibers, adhesives’ transfer characteristics with potting materials’ electrothermal advantages, these thermal interfaces are ideal when gaps or spaces need to be filled to optimize performance. high adhesion levels are unnecessary.
Thermal Management Materials
At Fabri-Tech Components, the materials we use for thermal management include:
- Silicone Foam
Graphite works particularly well for thermal management. It has superior performance as compared to aluminum and is much lighter than copper with better a similar efficiency levels.
Thermal Management Design Considerations
Manufacturers must take into account thermal properties, end-use, and other factors when designing for thermal management to skillfully manage heat within devices and ensure proper operation.
What Gap Do You Have to Work Within?
For effective thermal management, customers may have to make adjustments in a device based on spacing requirements.
Heat Dissipation Versus Area
Determine the amount of heat a component will generate and the dissipation area. When you have, for example, a large amount of heat but little room within a device, layering is useful. Remember, however, that you must allocate a free space around the perimeter approximately 20% of the available space for safe borders, leaving room for insulation and preventing shorting.
What Layering Technique Do You Require?
With some applications using multiple as many as seven layers, determine if you will use an adhesive on only a single layer or to create thicker areas then may be needed elsewhere within the part. sandwiched between multiple layers for insulating purposes.
Installation and Application Circumstances Affect Conductance
When screws or metal connectors are present in a device, using an envelope design to prevent electrical shorts by encapsulating the conductive graphite.
How Do You Use the Device?
A device’s application will determine the amount or grade of graphite needed in each portion of the electrical component.
Choose Fabri-Tech for Thermal Management Fabrication
The team at Fabri-Tech Components brings a broad electro-mechanical knowledge base, strong engineering fundamentals, and ISO-certified processes to our protective products and custom assemblies. With attention to customers’ unique roles within their industry, we apply our thermal management fabrication methods to design quality, custom solutions that solve space spacial and heat dissipation problems, no matter how complex.
Our custom designs are cost-effective, and we can achieve faster results than the competition. By carrying a vast inventory and partnering with trusted material suppliers, we ensure a quick turnaround of products and prototypes. With nearly 30 years of bringing thermal management solutions to market, we have developed advantageous add-ons, such as layers, pull tabs, PET layering techniques, protective films, and coated adhesives.
We leverage our multiple sites to give Fabri-Tech Components a worldwide reach. We are proud to help the electronics industry and other sectors advance into the future as we continue to offer innovative solutions to customers across the globe. Contact us to find out more about our thermal management options.