Differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) is a thermal analysis method used to measure the heat flow and temperature associated with the thermal transitions in a material.
The use of thermal sensors with the differential scanning calorimeter is a method used to determine the thermal conductivity of solid materials.
DSC thermal conductivity measurement techniques are widely used due to their simplicity and ability to quickly obtain measurements.
The differential scanning calorimeter (DSC) is an apparatus used to analyze the heat transfer in materials
Polymers are often used in the electronics industry for packaging and interconnection purposes. They are the materials used for manufacturing molded products, encapsulants, circuit boards, wire, and cable insulation. When using polymers, it is common to conduct a thermal analysis to characterize their material properties, behavior, and transitions during various conditions. One such thermal analysis method is called differential scanning calorimetry (DSC), which is used to analyze the heat transfer in polymers. From the measurements obtained from DSC, thermal conductivity can be calculated. In this article, we will explore the DSC method of thermal analysis and discuss traditional thermal conductivity measurement techniques as well as DSC thermal conductivity measurement methods.
Differential Scanning Calorimetry
Differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) is a thermal analysis method used to measure the heat flow and temperature associated with thermal transitions in a material. This thermal conductivity measurement technique identifies the heat capacity changes in the material with temperature.
In DSC, a known mass of the material sample is heated, cooled, or subjected to a controlled temperature. The material’s heat capacity is recorded for the changes in the heat flow during DSC. By conducting DSC, the meltings, phase changes, glass transitions, crystallization, thermal stability, specific heat capacity, purity, and curing associated with the material can be detected. This method is used for comparing the heat flow rate differences between a sample material and known reference materials. From the differences in the heat flow rate, it is easy to determine the variations in composition, purity, oxidation, and crystallization of reference materials and sample materials.
As the polymers used in electronics are vulnerable to transitions, DSC is a common thermal analysis technique used for detecting the properties of polymers in fields such as semiconductors, pharmaceuticals, agriculture, manufacturing, and research and development.
Traditional Thermal Conductivity Measurements
When using material at an elevated temperature, it undergoes transitions. The properties of the material also change with temperature. Thermal conductivity measurements are important properties to consider when materials are to be used in high-temperature environments.
The instruments that are used for thermal conductivity measurements require relatively large samples of the material. To overcome this inconvenience, the traditional technique used is to calculate the thermal conductivity from thermal diffusivity measurements. The thermal diffusivity is measured using commercial measurement techniques and by using the heat capacity values of the material. Then, thermal conductivity can be determined through calculations.
DSC Thermal Conductivity Measurements
There are a few ways to obtain the thermal conductivity of a material through DSC thermal conductivity measurement techniques:
- Place a pure metal on top of the material under test and heat the combination to the melting point of the metal. In this method, the thermal conductivity value obtained is at the melting point of the metal substance.
- Use thermal sensors with a differential scanning calorimeter to determine the thermal conductivity of solid materials. This method of DSC measurement is suitable for obtaining thermal conductivity at a given temperature range. Compared to the first method, this method is complex and requires additional thermal sensors.
There are some DSC measurements reported which use an accessory with a differential scanning calorimeter to measure thermal contact resistance and thermal conductivity. There is no requirement for additional thermal sensors in this setup.
DSC thermal conductivity measurement techniques are widely used due to their simplicity and ability to quickly obtain measurements. Cadence’s suite of design and analysis tools can help engineers understand the properties of the materials used in their electronics.