ULTRA-THIN FLEXIBLE THERMAL GROUND PLANE MODELING AND EXPERIMENTAL EXAMINATION
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The increasing thermal loads in the electronics industry necessitate continued advancement in current thermal management techniques. Thermal Ground Planes (TGPs) use phase change to achieve high thermal conductivities and effectively spread heat over their flat geometries. Multiple configurations are possible for these TGPs, as their internal structures may be as simple or complex as necessary to achieve the desired heat transport capacity. Kelvin Thermal is a startup business located in Boulder, Colorado that manufactures multiple TGP geometries for various applications, especially for the electronics industry. They currently use basic, hand-calculation tools to design and examine new configurations. They also manufacture and test TGPs to better understand their full capabilities. The objective of this effort is to develop a TGP “design tool” for Kelvin Thermal. This design tool would be used to calculate important parameters in a timely fashion, providing a re-usable tool for design and taking the place of hand calculations. Multiple input variables and configuration parameters will provide flexibility, allowing engineers to compare the functionality of different designs for each application. Comparing design tool results to measured test results, also obtained in this effort, provides insight into model accuracy and useful adjustment factors. The adjustment factors provide additional design tool functionality, accounting for heat losses and assumptions. With these adjustment factors, the design tool can be used to calculate both the theoretical best-case results as well as sensible estimates, both of which provide useful information to the design engineer. Final versions of the model correlate well with measured conductivities with a difference of 3.7%, and measured temperatures when adjusted for emissivity with a difference of less than 1%.