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But what if you only need small amounts of heat to be dissipated? We recommend opting for vias filled with thermal paste (thermal vias) as this may be sufficient to improve the thermal conductivity of your FR-4 PCBs.
Our IMS pool PCBs offer a great way to dissipate a lot of heat. However, it’s not always the best solution when PCBs need to be more complex than what’s possible with the IMS pool. A possible solution is to split the circuit where the control part is on FR-4 and the illumination part is on IMS. But this isn’t ideal since now you need to add connectors and cables to the assembly. Yet another solution is a multi-layer IMS, but this is expensive and not something we offer as a pooling service.
This led us to explore alternative heat dissipation solutions for ordinary FR-4 PCBs. Heatsink paste appeared to offer a good solution to this problem. Since many of the problems cited involved LEDs that were flashing (rather than being constantly on) less heat needs to be dissipated, thus vias filled with heat-sink paste, called thermal vias, proved to be a perfect solution.
Applying heatsink paste on a standard FR-4 board whether it is single sided, double sided or even a multi-layer offers an ideal solution for applications where heat dissipation is not required constantly. Pulse based applications are, amongst others, flash lights for safely vehicles.
Under these specific components, vias are placed and filled with heatsink paste or thermal conductive and electrical insulated paste. This will allow the heat to dissipate through these vias to the other side of the PCB where it can come into contact with a heatsink for example.
Thermal vias increase the thermal conductivity “through” the PCB. In combination with the heatsink, they are a cost-effective solution for cooling components that are not permanently in operation.
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