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Capstone Engineering Project To Design An Apparatus Testing The Thermal Impedance and Apparent Thermal Conductivity of Different Thermal Interface Materials
The goal of this project is to present the results of an undergraduate capstone engineering project to design a cost-effective TIM (thermal interface material) testing apparatus alternative to more expensive, commercially available testing units. The TIM tester will follow the ASTM standard D5470-12 for testing the thermal properties of different mediums of TIMs and will be used by the university to further research the properties of TIMs. Thermal interface material is a thermal couple catalyst that is widely used in electronics to reduce air pockets that are normally present between the central processing unit and heat sinks due to rough and uneven mating surfaces. TIM has a higher thermal conductivity than air and therefore can lower the contact resistance at the interface of interest to prevent overheating of the system. To test the specified thermal properties of the TIM, it will be placed between a hot and cold meter bar, each laced with at least two thermocouples. The temperature gradients in each meter bar and the TIM’s thickness will be measured to determine its thermal impedance and conductivity through fundamental heat transfer analysis. Final deliverables of the capstone project will include a functional TIM tester and a written user guide for students to use including instructions on calibration and uncertainty analysis of the tester.