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Heat Sink - o - de Mayo by Matt Stevenson, Sunstone Engineer
As electronics get smaller, faster and more powerful the heat generation of these components grow in a variety of ways. In terms of a PCB, heat can be generated, reflected or increased from several different factors. Some of the more common factors are power consumption, emissivity, materials, internal heat conduction and external heat conduction. Heat, if not dissipated quickly and effectively, can result in overheating and a number of failure modes in an electronic design.
The main materials used in PCBs (copper and epoxy laminates) work very well from an electrical performance standpoint but leave a lot to be desired in terms of heat dissipation. There are ways that the layout and design of the PCB can help mitigate heat issues and give you a more forgiving design. Here are a few of the considerations that can be implemented during the design phase to help.
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