Heat is a natural enemy of most electronic products. If uncontrolled, it can reduce efficiency, cause damage and shorten battery life. The challenge is complicated by the fact that electronics generate excess heat while operating. Therefore, thermal management is an essential and ongoing issue for proper device operation.
Removing this generated heat has been traditionally carried out via conduction and convection techniques. However, as devices get smaller and more powerful, this becomes more and more difficult. To improve the efficiencies of these processes, designers are using Phase Change Materials (PCMs) to assist. The concept is simple. The PCMs absorb energy during power-on operation and other pulse or peak usages, keeping the device at a protected and stable temperature. Since PCMs have high energy absorption, a small volume of material is able to store a large amount of energy.
When properly designed into consumer electronic devices, PCMs can stabilize overall temperature of the device and protect it from failure during high demand operations. In addition, PCMs absorb and release this energy for thousands of cycles, making it an ideal solution for this application. And since PCMs can be micro-encapsulated, their reduced size and ability to be incorporated into a variety of materials and substrates creates a versatile option that can be used as a part of many aspects of electronics – chips, components, subcomponents, motherboards and enclosures.
In response to this continued need and higher temperature requests, Microtek’s has created nextek 43°C, a micro-encapsulated PCM powder with a melt point of 43°C and is developing a 57°C for industry demand. The innovation into these higher temperature ranges has allowed our customers to extend their use of PCMs to protect devices from higher temperature demands.
For handheld phones and tablets, there are many advantages for using PCMs including reduce system size, cost, and power requirements. In order to select the appropriate PCM, a good understanding of the system performance and application environment is required. This along with an experienced thermal management partner will allow you to design solutions that ensures the quality and extends the life of your products