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BE CAE, ITALY

THERMAL CHARACTERIZATION
OF AN ELECTRONIC DEVICE
WITH A CUSTOM APP

By distributing high-fidelity multiphysics models as custom simulation apps,
engineers at BE CAE & Test leverage their expertise and streamline the consulting process.

by GIUSEPPE PETRONE

Simulation consultants are using             ð THERMAL                                   FIGURE 1. Top: Geometric details and
             custom applications as an       CHARACTERIZATION OF A                       materials used in the SMD. Bottom: Side view
             effective way to communicate    SURFACE-MOUNT DEVICE                        of the frame, die, solder, pin, and ribbon.
             their work to clients. Instead
of delivering a static report, they can      Whether devices use or convert energy,      FIGURE 2. Highlighted regions of the SMD
now deploy a product that contains the       they must properly manage heat so           depicting the boundary conditions used in the
intricacy of an unabridged mathematical      that they continue to operate in a          multiphysics model.
model, with the clarity and usability        designated temperature range. An SMD
of an app. This lets clients run their       is an example of one electronic system
simulations independently. At BE CAE         that clients ask us to model. We make
& Test, we have created such an app to       use of COMSOL Multiphysics® software
simulate a surface-mount device (SMD).       to investigate these systems due to the
                                             wide range of physics that can be taken
ð SIMULATION                                 into account and the ease with which
APPLICATIONS FOR                             one can couple them.
ENHANCED ENGINEERING
COMMUNICATION                                   In our SMD model, the parts we're
                                             mainly interested in are the copper
In simulation consulting, apps               frame, lead-free solder layer, and the
are the next step in engineering             silicon die (see Figure 1).
communication: They're a streamlined
way to communicate and work with                The material of the solder layer and
clients. With a custom application, a        silicon die, the thickness of the solder
client can access a complete simulation      layer, and the dissipated thermal power
through a user-friendly interface.           each have the potential to impact the
Using an app is advantageous for             maximum junction temperatures and
both the simulation specialist and           junction-to-case thermal resistance. In
the client, as the client receives an        our model, we investigate the effect
easy-to-use tool with which they can         of varying these parameters on heat
independently investigate their system,      distribution, as it ultimately affects the
and the numerical expert is able to
dedicate more time to the detail of          FIGURE 3. From left to right: 3D geometry, mesh, and simulation results from
the simulation rather than running           COMSOL Multiphysics® software.
computations for the client.

    In this example, which describes the
characterization of an SMD, the client
has access to the numerical model
through the app and can modify a few
parameters and material choices.

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