Award Winners 2013

Pioneering Measuring System for Characterizing Thermal Interface Materials

Thermal stresses have a significant effect on the service life of electronic systems. Optimized heat management can go a long way in regulating the temperatures of components where thermal effects are critical, thereby lengthening the lifespan of the overall electronic device. New technologies, such as the electric drive in motor vehicles, are changing the demands for heat management. As a result, the heat paths in complex systems must be analyzed and optimized. This includes everything from the heat source to its environment. Frequently the contact surface between tangent solid objects forms a thermal bottleneck. The Steinbeis Transfer Center for Heat Management in Electronics, based at the Baden-Württemberg Cooperative State University (DHBW) in Stuttgart, and Behr GmbH & Co. KG, worked together to develop an innovative, highly precise system for measuring interface materials. Using the system, materials of a defi ned contact pressure or test thickness can be classified in terms of their thermal characteristics.

The battery in an electric vehicle is a practical example of this. In many cases, the temperature of the battery is regulated with a cooling plate. Here, it is crucial that the individual battery cells are thermally coupled well with the cooling plate. This can be achieved with a suitable thermal interface material placed between the battery and the cooling plate. The newly developed device allows researchers to precisely analyze both the thermal characteristics as well as the fl ow properties of the samples under exposure to thermal and mechanical stresses – a first for the industry. The innovative measuring system thus serves as a sound basis for the development and optimization of new materials for the heat management of electronic systems.

Since its founding in 2002, the Steinbeis Transfer Center for Heat Management in Electronics has amassed an extensive pool of expertise in the area of heat management in electronics and Behr GmbH & Co. KG is a systems partner to the international automobile industry. As a leading equipment manufacturer for personal automobiles and commercial vehicles, the company is considered a global specialist and pioneer of vehicle air conditioning and engine cooling. This project gave both project partners a chance to demonstrate how innovative technologies, and consequently a competitive edge, can emerge from the ideal dovetailing of science and industry. In special recognition of its exemplary transfer work, this partnership received the Steinbeis Foundation’s Transfer Award – Lohn Award.

Project Partners

  • Behr GmbH & Co. KG (Stuttgart)
  • Steinbeis Transfer Center for Heat Management in Electronics (Walddorfhäslach)

    Pioneering Measuring System for Characterizing Thermal Interface Materials

    Duration: 5 min.

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