Advanced Materials Report

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Thermal Interface Materials 2016-2026: Status, Opportunities, Market Forecasts

Technology benchmarking and market appraisal highlighting opportunities for polymeric and metallic thermal materials

Overheating is the most critical issue in the computer industry. It limits further miniaturisation, power, performance and reliability. The escalation of power densities in electronic devices has made efficient heat removal a crucial issue for progress in information, communication, energy harvesting, energy storage and lighting technologies. As long as electronic systems aren't monolithic, but are built from a wide range of materials such as metals, polymers, ceramics and semiconductors, there will be a need for thermal interface materials.
The contact area between high power, heat generating components and heat sinks can be as low as 3%, due to the micro-scale surface roughness. Thermal interface materials are required to enhance the contact between the surfaces, and decrease thermal interfacial resistance, and increase heat conduction across the interface.
Proper selection of Thermal Interface Materials is crucial for the device efficiency. Instead of sophisticated cooling technique, it is often better to invest in the interface material. Without good thermal contact, the use of expensive thermally conducting materials for the components is a waste.
The most appropriate choice of thermal interface material has been shown to:
  • Reduce total cost of ownership
  • Eliminate of the need for liquid cooling
  • Reduce system cooling power consumption
  • Reduce building power consumption
  • Increase operational lifetime
The geographic breakdown of sales of thermal interface materials, included in Thermal Interface Materials 2016-2026, demonstrates this is truly a global industry:
Breakdown of TIM sales by region
Source: IDTechEx
Innovation in this industry is driven forward by:
  • Faster computers: With electronic systems becoming faster, hotter, more compact, and portable, the need for better TIMs in consumer and industrial computing will continue.
  • Greener lighting: LEDs are replacing traditional lighting in more applications, for lower energy and higher brightness, especially in the automotive industry.
  • Electrification of transport: Heat management is of very high importance in electric vehicles, which have large energy storage systems. As vehicles incorporate more and more electrics and electronics, thermal management will become increasingly important.
  • Better connectivity: As a wider-reaching and more comprehensive wireless network is built, and higher reliability is expected, more, better quality TIM is being used in telecommunications equipment.
Thermal Interface Materials 2016-2026 includes a technology appraisal of the ten key technologies:
1. Pressure-Sensitive Adhesive Tapes
2. Thermal Adhesives
3. Thermal Greases
4. Thermal Gels, Pastes and Liquids
5. Elastomeric Pads
6. Phase Change Materials
7. Graphite
8. Solders and Phase Change Metals
9. Compressible Interface Materials
10. Liquid Metals
The technologies and chemistries are described and compared, and performance data from a wide selection of commercially available products is benchmarked.
There are many current and growing opportunities for these technologies to be used in the following markets:
  • LED lighting
  • Photovoltaics
  • Lasers
  • Telecommunications equipment
  • Automotive electronics
  • Industrial computing
  • Defence and aerospace electronics
  • Consumer and mobile handheld electronics
  • Medical electronics
  • Wireless sensor networks
  • PCB testing equipment
The importance and uses of TIMs in these industries, the materials used most frequently and the market size is presented.
The state of the market in 2016, a geographic breakdown of the market, and forecasts to 2026, are separated by TIM type and by application. These have been compiled after an extensive interview program with thermal interface material manufacturers making a variety of materials, and many different applications, and using financial data published by public companies. Thermal Interface Materials 2016-2026 includes profiles of 31 companies working in this industry.
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Table of Contents
1.1.Potential benefits of using TIMs
1.2.Drivers for the improvement of TIMs
1.3.Properties of Thermal Interface Materials
1.4.Research Aims
1.5.Uses for thermal interface materials
1.6.Key requirements by application
1.7.Materials by Application
1.8.Market Share by TIM type in 2016
1.9.Market Share by Application in 2016
1.10.Forecast by TIM type
1.11.Forecast by Application
1.12.Factors affecting adoption
1.13.Opportunities for developments
1.14.Growing Markets
2.1.Schematics to show the role of Thermal Interface Materials
2.2.Comparison to Die Attach Technologies
3.1.Causes of Electronic Failure
3.2.Temperature increase in Power Electronic Applications
3.3.Reducing temperature in Power Electronics Applications
3.4.Potential benefits of using TIMs
3.5.Drivers for the improvement of TIMs
3.6.Research Aims
3.7.Key Factors in System Level Performance
4.1.TIM Designation
4.2.Thermal Conductivity vs Thermal Resistance
4.3.Thermal Testing of TIMs
4.4.Three Methods for Testing of TIMs
4.5.Laser Flash Diffusivity
4.6.Hot Disk
4.8.Problems with ASTM D5470
4.9.Life-time Testing
4.10.Adhesion Testing
5.1.Ten Types of Thermal Interface Material
5.2.Definitions of Benchmarking Terms
5.3.Pressure-Sensitive Adhesive Tapes
5.4.Thermal Liquid Adhesives
5.5.Thermal Greases
5.6.Problems with thermal greases
5.7.Viscosity of Thermal Greases
5.8.Technical Data on Thermal Greases
5.9.The effect of filler, matrix and loading on thermal conductivity
5.10.Thermal Gels
5.11.Thermal Pastes
5.12.Technical Data on Gels and Pastes
5.13.Elastomeric pads
5.14.Advantages and Disadvantages of Elastomeric Pads
5.15.Phase Change Materials (PCMs)
5.16.Operating Temperature Range of Commercially Available Phase Change Materials
5.18.Metal TIMs
5.19.Solders or Phase Change Metals
5.20.Which solder?
5.21.Soft Solder vs Hard Solder
5.22.Advantages and Disadvantages of Solders and Phase Change Metals
5.23.Properties of solders
5.24.Compressible Interface Materials
5.25.Liquid Metal
6.1.Factors which influence the choice of TIM
6.2.Operating Pressure
6.4.Properties of Thermal Interface Materials
6.5.Comparison of Thermal Interface Materials
6.6.Bounds on Thermal Conductivity of Commercially Available Thermal Interface Materials
6.7.Maximum Operating Temperature of Commercially Available Thermal Interface Materials
6.8.Efficiencies of fillers
7.1.Heat Spreaders
7.2.Thermal Substrate Technologies
7.3.Immersion Cooling
7.4.Metallic foam heat exchangers - Versarien
8.1.Pyrolytic Graphite Sheet (PGS)
8.2.Nanoparticle-Stabilized Solders - Kings College London
8.3.Nano-structured ceramics - Cambridge Nanotherm
8.4.New Conducting Particle Fillers for Thermal Greases
8.5.Carbon Nanotubes (CNT)
8.6.Carbon nanotubes - Stanford University
8.8.Graphene - XG Science
8.9.Graphene - NanoXplore
8.10.Graphite Nanoplatelet - University of California Riverside
8.11.Nanodiamond filled polymers - Carbodeon
8.12.2D Boron Nitride
8.13.Metal nanoparticle fillers - Inkron
8.14.Nanostructured metal-polymer composites - Chalmers University of Technology
8.15.Silver flake-based conductive adhesives - Showa Denko
9.1.Uses for thermal interface materials
9.2.Key requirements by application
9.3.Materials by Application
9.4.LED Lighting
9.5.Advances in LED lighting
9.6.Effects of increasing the temperature of an LED
9.8.Effect of Temperature on Solar Cell Efficiency
9.9.Concentrated Photovoltaics
9.11.Evolution of laser technology
9.12.Packaging of Laser Diodes to improve Thermal Management
9.13.Solder as the TIM in lasers
9.14.Semiconductor Thermal Packaging
9.15.Targeted applications within Semiconductor Thermal Packaging
9.16.Enterprise Computing
9.17.Personal Computing
9.18.Examples of TIMs in Personal Computing
9.19.Varieties of TIM in Personal Computing
9.20.Mobile Hand-held Devices
9.21.Examples of TIM in Consumer Electronics
9.22.Telecommunications Equipment
9.23.Increasing heat flux from telecommunication equipment
9.24.Defence and Aerospace
9.25.Automotive Electronics
9.26.Medical Electronics
10.1.Silicon Carbide Semiconductors
10.2.TIMs for Silicon Carbide Semiconductors
10.3.GaN Semiconductors
10.4.Wearable Electronics
10.6.Thermoelectric Generators
11.1.Google Trends
11.2.Worldwide Patent Publications
11.3.Scientific Journal Articles
11.4.Key Players
11.5.Thermal Interface Material Manufacturers
13.1.Cost of TIM
13.2.Market Share by TIM type in 2016
13.3.Market Share by Application in 2016
13.4.Geographic Breakdown
14.FORECAST 2016-2026
14.1.Forecast by TIM type
14.2.Market Share by TIM type in 2026
14.3.Forecast by Application
14.4.Market Share by Application in 2026
14.5.Forecast Narrative
14.6.Forecast by TIM Type ($M)
14.7.Forecast by Application Type ($M)
15.1.Factors affecting adoption
15.2.Threats to the Industry
15.3.Global Opportunities
15.4.Opportunities for developments
16.1.Growing Markets
17.1.3M Electronic Materials
17.2.AI Technology
17.3.AIM Specialty Materials
17.4.AOS Thermal
17.6.DK Thermal
17.7.Dow Corning
17.8.Dymax Corporation
17.9.Ellsworth Adhesives
17.11.European Thermodynamics Ltd
17.17.Indium Corporation
17.19.Kitagawa Industries
17.20.Laird Tech
17.22.MA Electronics
17.23.MH&W International
17.26.Parker Chomerics
17.28.Schlegel Electronics Materials
17.31.Universal Science

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Report Statistics

-Forecasts to2026


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