Electronic Upgrade for APL Thermal Rod Tester

A unique APL thermal rod tester is routinely used to measure unit area thermal resistance and thermal conductivity of various thermal interface materials (TIMs) for AREA consortium members. Sample TIM bondlines of accurately controlled thickness are fabricated between aluminum rods. A steady-state heat flow is established through the TIM bondline by holding a fixed rod temperature above the bond and a 5°C reduced rod temperature below with a Peltier cooler. This workhorse instrument was recently upgraded with a new control computer, new digital source meters, and platinum resistance temperature detectors (RTDs). The newly refreshed apparatus provides a one-sigma measurement uncertainty of 3% in the range of 30 to 130°Cmm2/W. Consortium member companies are welcome suggest thermal interface materials for evaluation.

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