Thermal Pads: Thermal Gap Filler Pads, Thermally Conductive Pads, Thermal Interface Pads
Stockwell Elastomerics is a leading manufacturer of thermally conductive pads. Thermal conductive pads are cut from materials such as thermal tapes, thermal coated fabrics, thermally conductive silicone (TC100), and thermally conductive silicone sponge (R-10404). These thermal pads are firm compared to gap fillers or gap filler pads. The thermal interface materials offered by Stockwell Elastomerics are designed to remove the heat generated by electronic devices to the ambient environment. Thermal management is a critical component in ensuring the reliability and proper operation of electronic and electromechanical equipment.
Thermal Gap Filler Pads
Gap fillers or gap filler pad materials are thermally conductive pads that have a dough-like consistency. These very soft gap fillers are designed to conform to and fill in between inconsistent surfaces as well as fill microscopic voids on contact surfaces. As an example, the surface of a heat generating microprocessor and a heat sink will never mate perfectly. The air gaps between the surfaces will prohibit good heat transfer. By filling these gaps with thermally conductive materials, the heat generated by the microprocessor can be properly managed, which in turn will aid in performance and reliability. Due to the cost of gap fillers, Stockwell takes extra effort to optimize the yield and minimize waste.
The cellular materials carried by Stockwell Elastomerics have thermally insulating properties. Similar to a double paned window, the small pockets of air in the cells inhibit heat transfer. The most common products used for insulating pads are silicone foam products; these are UL 94-V0 rated and have an operating temperature of 392°F (200°C).
Thermal Gap Filler Pads Used with Thermal Heat Sinks
Gap fillers have gained popularity because they are now available in various levels of softness, conductivity, and a wide range of thicknesses. Gap filler pads increase the heat transfer efficiency of a heat sink by removing voids or air pockets that act as thermal insulation between a heat source and the sink. The soft silicone gel with ceramic particles fills in the voids, creating a conductive path that makes intimate contact between surfaces. Thermal gap filler pads are most commonly used in the electronics industry but can be used in many other applications. Typical heat sinks are aluminum finned plates, chassis or housings.
The thicker, softer gap filler can be laid directly over components or features on PCBs such as pins. Clamping the gap filler pad between the heat sink and board allows the thermal gap filler pad to conform around components and press against the board to create the intimate contact that optimizes heat sink efficiency.
Thermal Gap Filler Pads Replace Thermal Grease
Customers are now choosing very soft and thin gap filling pads to replace thermal greases and phase change materials. These thin thermal gap filler pads are made from silicone gel technology in combination with a thermal medium (usually ceramic). The silicone gel and cermamics are mixed, cast and cured to a soft, comformable pad with a dough-like texture. These pads have an inherent tack that aids placement during assembly. Thin gap filler pads with scrim support are available, speeding up assembly without creating the mess associated with thermal grease. Thermal pads are also more stable than phase change products and have higher operating temperatures.
In summary, while thermal grease material is less expensive, thermal gap filler pads have advantages in function and assembly time, so the overall cost to use thermal gap filler pads can be lower.
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Contact Us for further assistance with thermal pads, including thermally conductive pads, conductive thermal pads, thermal interface pads and thermal gap filler pads.