Thermal interface material (TIM) between the die and the heat spreader or between the heat spreader and the heat sink in any electronic package plays a very important role in the thermal management of electronic cooling. Due to increased power and power density high-performance TIMs are sought every day. Phase change materials (PCM) seem to be very good alternative to traditionally used thermal greases because of various reasons. These phase change materials also have the advantage of being reworked easily without damaging the die.
Typically these phase change materials are polymer based and are particle laden to enhance their thermal conductivity. The thermal conductivity of these materials is relatively well understood than their contact resistance. Current work focuses on explicitly measuring the contact resistance and the thermal conductivity of a particular phase change TIM and some silicon-based greases. Effect of various parameters, which can affect the contact resistance of theses TIMs and Greases, are also captured. The steady state measurements of the thermal conductivity and the contact resistance was done on an interface tester.
In general the work on the contact resistance of fluid-like polymer based TIM, such as thermal grease or phase change polymer has been experimental in the past. A semi-analytical model, which captures the various parameters affecting the contact resistance of two class of materials; the phase change and the thermal grease is also developed in this paper. This model fits very well with the experimental data.