First Advisor

Gerald Recktenwald

Date of Publication

Spring 5-26-2015

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.) in Mechanical Engineering


Mechanical and Materials Engineering




Thermal interface materials -- Testing, Reliability (Engineering), Thermal stresses, Microprocessors -- Thermal properties



Physical Description

1 online resource (viii, 51 pages)


As electronic packages and their thermal solutions become more complex the reliability margins in the thermal solutions diminish and become less tolerant to errors in reliability predictions. The current method of thermally stress testing thermal solutions can be over or under predicting end of life thermal performance. Benefits of accurate testing and modeling are improved silicon yield in manufacturing, improved performance, lower cost thermal solutions, and shortened test times.

The current method of thermally stress testing is to place the entire unit in an elevated isothermal temperature and periodically measure thermal performance. Isothermally aging is not an accurate representation of how the unit will be used by the customer and does not capture the thermal gradients and mechanical stresses due to different coefficients of thermal expansion of the materials used in the thermal solution.

A new testing system, CITRAM which is an acronym for Constant Interface Temperature Reliability Method, has been developed that uses an electronic test board. The approach captures the thermal and mechanical stresses accurately and improves test time by 20-30% as a result of automation. Through this study a difference in the two methods has been identified and the new CITRAM method should be adopted as current practice.


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