IEEE Transactions on Device and Materials Reliability, Vol. 4, No. 4, pp. 650-657

Reliability of Pressure-Sensitive Adhesive Tapes for Heat Sink Attachment in Air-Cooled Electronic Assemblies

Valérie Eveloy, Peter Rodgers, and Michael G. Pecht
University of Maryland
College Park, MD 20742


This study investigates the reliability of commercially available pressure-sensitive adhesive (PSA) tapes used for electronic component-to-heat sink attachment. It is found that creep can affect the PSA reliability. Therefore, creep is experimentally characterized using isothermal, constant load, double lap shear measurements in conditions representative of vertically oriented heat sink applications. PSA joint life predictions are derived from the accelerated creep characteristics using a secondary creep model. The creep resistance of a laminated silicone/aluminum/acrylic PSA tape is found to be significantly lower than that of a single-layer acrylic tape. This suggests that the potential impact of tape creep on joint reliability should be carefully evaluated as a function of tape chemistry/construction and application environment. Furthermore, the sensitivity of PSA creep characteristics to both operating temperature and heat sink weight highlights the need for thermally optimized, least-weight heat sink designs.

Index Terms: - Air-cooling, creep, heat sink, pressure-sensitive adhesive, reliability prediction, thermal interface material.

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