Computers get very hot! The heat loads associated with state-of-the-art semiconductors in embedded applications demand heat sinks with substantial cooling capability. The new Tactilus® heat-sink analysis system by Sensor Products Inc. enables research and design engineers to quickly and precisely test and correct the surface contact and pressure distribution between the heat sink and semiconductor. Even a slight warping of the heat exchange structure or reduction in surface contact area can have a profound effect on cooling efficacy. If the pressure distribution is not uniform, heat conduction will be low, and the electronics may overheat.
With Tactilus®, engineers can visualize actual contact forces and pressure distribution data on the circuit board components. As the mounting screws between the CPU and the heat sink are torqued, Tactilus® maps and measures the changing pressure distribution between the mating surfaces and displays it through its software. The heat sink interface can be tested, manipulated, and repositioned in real-time, speeding the trial and error process and eliminating the need for additional assembly. Tactilus® also provides the pressure data needed for FEA simulation predictions. Unlike conventional transducers, the Tactilus® sensor is flexible and only 0.015-in. thick (0.38 mm), allowing it to be placed between the CPU and heat sink without affecting the assembly. The sensor pad has 625 resistive sensing points arrayed on a 25 × 25 grid. The total sensing area is 2 in. × 2 in. The scan speed is up to 1,000 Hertz, and the operating pressure range is 0 to 100 psi (0 to 7 kg/cm2).
Tactilus® collects and processes sensor data using powerful, easy-to-use, Windows®-based software that performs the following tasks: