Simple fact #1: electronic components get hot. Simple fact #2: electronic components are heat sensitive and without proper design heat exposure can be a common failure mechanism. So with this in mind, we have to beg the question: what sort of design options exist that allow me to protect my electronics from thermal failure?
Of course there are endless answers to the question posed above, however, we would like to focus on a few specific polymer adhesive solutions. Namely thermally conductive epoxy, silicone and polyurethane potting materials.
1. Thermally Conductive Epoxy
Epoxies make excellent potting compounds when the application calls for a rigid and hard-surfaced encapsulant. Epoxies such as VeckTC-ET can be highly loaded with thermally conductive filler materials and can display levels of thermal conductivity between 1 and 4 W/mK, depending on the filler material and loading levels. Thermally conductive filler materials are generally metals or metal oxides chosen for their high levels of thermal conductivity and electrical resistivity.
2. Thermally Conductive Silicone
Silicone potting compounds display a combination of high termal conductivity and high temperature performance. Certain silicone systems can withstand temperatures up to 315C (600F), maintaining performance properties even at such high temperatures. Silicones can also be crafted as greases, such as VeckTC-SG, providing increased thermal transfer between material interfaces, such as a heat sink interface.
3. Thermally Conductive Polyurethane
While polyurethanes can't allow for the same levels of filler loading as other thermal transfer products, polyurethanes provide additional physical and protective properties that make them the choice system for many applications. Polyurethanes can be crafted as compliant, flexible and durable materials that provide both thermal conductivity and protection against physical forces. VecktTC-U for example is designed for use with sensitive components and exhibits low levels of shrinkage and high levels of flexibility, in addition to thermal transfer properties.