Thermal Modeling Approaches for Printed Circuit Boards (PCBs)
Thursday, December 10, 2015

Every electronics assembly includes at least one printed circuit board (PCB) whose primary purpose is to provide electrical connections among chips and connectors. PCBs range in size from a few millimeters across and a fraction of a millimeter thick (such as in a smart watch), to hundreds of millimeters across and several millimeters thick. 

Printed circuit boards include electrically and thermally conductive layers, often made of copper, sandwiched between thicker dielectric layers which are minimally conductive. Because of their physical size, presence of layers of copper traces, and proximity to the main heat dissipating components, PCBs often are an important part of the heat transfer path for the electronics assembly. 

They spread heat away from the components and provide a large heat transfer area for dissipation into the surrounding environment. Therefore it is important to accurately model printed circuit boards in thermal simulations.

This webcast examines the main methodologies for modeling printed circuit boards in thermal simulations of electronic assemblies. The methods vary from fully-detailed models that resolve all the traces to a simplified geometric model with averaged properties. Each method will be described and demonstrated, and the advantages and disadvantages of each approach will be detailed.

Ruben Bons
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