11 Myths About Thermal Design (.PDF Download)

June 23, 2017
11 Myths About Thermal Design (.PDF Download)

The electronics industry is driven by a constant demand for smaller and more powerful devices. This means increased power densities and lots more heat being generated within ever-smaller spaces. As a result, the need for effective thermal design has become a vital part of the electronics engineering process.

It’s important that design engineers get the thermal design of their devices right the first time. For many, thermal issues are considered a low priority, primarily because thermal design is seen as a complex challenge—a hassle they could do without. How much of what you know about thermal management is fact vs. fiction, though? To find out, let’s explore 11 of the most common myths associated with thermal design.

1. It’s all about keeping things cool.

Wrong. While most engineers look to reduce the temperature of their products to avoid overheating, at its heart, thermal design is really about ensuring the optimum temperature to keep a device running efficiently. In some cases, this could simply mean ensuring a uniform temperature across all devices to ensure optimum performance. In others—particularly outdoor applications in cold climates—thermal engineers may even be looking to heat their products up!

2. Thermal design needs to be performed by mechanical engineers after electronics engineers finish their design.

While mechanical engineers obviously have a very strong knowledge of physics and thermal dynamics, which can help with temperature flow, the role of thermal design doesn’t have to lay exclusively at their door. At the end of the day, most engineers understand the role of temperature and (with the right tools) can work out if something is getting too hot. If engineers consider thermal issues in the very early stages of their designs, they can significantly reduce the number of costly thermal fixes further down the line.


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