Keywords: thermal risk management, finite element method, thermal simulation, optimization, harsh environment, enhanced performance, aerospace applications, materials
This article gives an overview of how at Watt & Well we manage the temperature of PCBs, the thermal simulation at ambient conditions and the application for PCB design at vacuum conditions.
1. Manage the temperature of your PCB
Once your schematic and layout are finished, one question frequently arises: What is going to be the temperature of your board? Are your circuits capable to withstand your mission profile? Watt & Well can answer those at ease, using a finite element software called TRM™.
Using this tool, our engineers can obtain a complete thermal analysis of a PCB, try different heatsinks (with or without forced convection) and optimize your circuit to get your product within the specified margins.
At Watt & Well, we take thermal management seriously!
3D Model of a Mofset Power Board
Thermal cartography of the board
2. Thermal simulation at ambient conditions
TRM™ has a built-in interface with Altium, which allows Watt & Well to get a fast, first model ready for the first iteration. Once this step is done, a comparison of the simulation and a laboratory test with a thermal camera is used for calibration. We can now perform a second iteration in which we do a fine-tuning of hot spot dissipation and heat transfer coefficient with the board environment. Our model is ready for further analysis and optimization:
Thermal Image of a Flyback Converter
TRM Simulation of the Flyback Converter
Thermal simulation workflow
3. Application for PCB Design at vacuum conditions
Aerospace projects are submitted to both rough thermal and outer space conditions. As this situation is hard to imitate in laboratory conditions, Watt & Well uses thermal simulation to understand the circuit behavior in vacuum and iterate towards optimized equipment. Once this forecast is successful, Watt & Well will commit a product capable to make it through this harsh environment:
Previous design of the Power Board
Current of the Power Board