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Electronic Thermal Management through Icepak

Electronic Thermal Management through Icepak
by Pawan Fangaria on 08-03-2014 at 8:30 pm

Last week my daughter was playing some games on my Google Nexus smartphone for a while when one of my friends called. When I picked up the phone, I couldn’t imagine it was so hot. There is no doubt; every electronic device today emits an order of magnitude higher heat than what it used to at most a decade ago. There is so much emphasis on reliability of semiconductor and electronic devices from the standpoint of electrical function, electro-migration, power, performance, noise and the like. Can we say that it’s enough on reliability without the consideration of temperature and cooling solutions? In my view, the way heat generation is rising in electronic devices; there will be a point when temperature will take the prime spot of consideration in designing any SoC or electronic device. It needs an integrated solution from chip to package to system level.

Although I’ve talked about Ansys’sreliability solutions for semiconductor designs and systems in the past, I haven’t specifically talked about their thermal solution for complete electronic systems. Today, I came across this less than 3 minutes video, specifically focused on Ansys’s thermal solution which provides fast and accurate thermal results for electronic cooling applications. It was impressive, so I thought about writing for this.

Ansys Icepak provides easy-to-use GUI which combines electrical and mechanical CAD for designing electrical as well as mechanical systems that are appropriate for cooling required for generated heat. It can accurately mesh any geometry and represent true shapes of electronic components – IC die, package, PCB or complete system. For CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics) simulation it uses Ansys Fluent as the solver engine which is among the most accurate and fast engines available for the purpose. The complete performance of a product can be simulated in a workbench environment by using Ansys mechanical and electromagnetic simulation solutions.

TheIcepak can be used to simulate and evaluate electronic devices in various segments including consumer, computer, defense and space technology. The above image shows a complete computer system with chassis which is evaluated for appropriate heat-sink placement, fan and blower selection, cold plate selection, appropriate sizing for airflow circulation and so on. The IC layout is evaluated for heat generation and thermal consideration. Appropriate decisions are made for active and passive cooling systems.

The above image shows the analysis at PCB level where consideration of components that inject heat into the board takes place. The corresponding power and temperature maps are studied. With the help of Ansys SIwave and electromagnetic analysis, the effect of current flow in the region can be examined efficiently. In the above image, the SIwave DC current analysis (on the left) is coupled with the Icepak thermal analysis (on the right).

Ansys provides a complete suite of tools for thermal solution at chip, 3DIC package and complete system level. The RedHawk and Totem provide IR drop, EM and thermal simulation and analysis at the chip level. The Sentinel-TI can provide complete thermal profile of a 3DIC package along with the distribution at each die level. And the Icepak can do a complete analysis and provide cooling solutions at the system level.

Ansys, along with its Icepak and other tools at the chip and package levels, provides a complete comprehensive solution for thermal management and cooling of complete electronic systems that is based on a robust and powerful CFD simulation.

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