Thermal Interface Materials 2021-2031: Technologies, Markets and Opportunities: IDTechEx

Emerging demands for TIM exceed 870,000 tonnes by 2031

Thermal Interface Materials 2021-2031: Technologies, Markets and Opportunities

Material demands, benchmarking, market trends and drivers for emerging markets: 5G, electric vehicles, data centers, LEDs and consumer electronics

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Thermal interface materials (TIMs) are a key component in a multitude of electronic and energy storage devices. Essentially, if heat is generated and needs to be transferred (e.g., to a heat sink) then a TIM is typically needed. The form and composition of TIMs varies greatly across applications and markets with most large material suppliers also manufacturing TIMs. There are several industries that are starting to emerge and/or focus more on thermal management and the requirement for TIMs, leading to new and extremely large potential markets.
This new report from IDTechEx considers the forms and compositions of TIMs, benchmarks commercial products, and details new advanced material. It also analyses current TIM applications in emerging markets as well as the key drivers and requirements in these areas, such as electric vehicle batteries, data centers, LEDs, 4G & 5G infrastructure, smartphones, tablets and laptops. In addition, 10-year granular market forecasts are given for each of these segments in terms of application area and tonnage. Below we briefly discuss a couple of the most exciting markets for TIMs in the next decade.
Many emerging industries require TIMs and will impact the landscape of demand. Source: Thermal Interface Materials 2021-2031
Electric Vehicle Batteries
It is without a doubt that electric vehicles (EVs) are the future of transportation. The EV market continued its growth in 2020 despite the impact of COVID-19 on the automotive industry as a whole. Not only is the EV market set to grow rapidly over the next 10 years, but within this, there is a trend towards higher energy density, faster charging, longer lifetimes and fire safety, all of which require effective thermal management and materials to support this. There is no consensus on battery design for electric vehicles with a variety of cell formats, thermal management strategies and pack designs, each of which influence the TIM quantity and utilisation. IDTechEx has extensive research into the design of EV batteries, with a comprehensive model database covering the market shares of different cell formats, energy densities, and much more. In this report, we cover the demand for EV batteries across multiple vehicle segments (cars, buses, trucks, vans & two-wheelers), automotive teardowns of TIM utilisation, analysis of trends and drivers towards specific TIM formats.
There are many EV segments, all of which are increasing and with it, the demand for TIMs. Source: Thermal Interface Materials 2021-2031
5G Infrastructure and Smartphones
As most will be aware, 5G is the next generation of telecommunications network, taking over from 4G/LTE. 5G promises extreme download and upload rates with super-low latency. These features have the potential to enable various wonderous applications such as autonomous vehicles, virtual/ augmented reality and other internet of things technologies. The majority of the 5G network to date is in the sub-6 GHz frequency band, however the mmWave network is the one that has the potential to achieve the feats mentioned above. The mmWave network also presents the majority of the challenges, signal propagation is poor and can be easily blocked, which leads to the use of many small cells in a dense network to create the necessary coverage. These small cells are also much more compact leading to a greater density of electronic components and hence heat dissipation challenges. Historic air conditioning will not be suitable for these compact and frequent mmWave antennas, therefore there will be an increased requirement for high-performance TIMs to enable effective passive thermal management.
Smartphones are also seeing challenges with 5G; in such a compact package, dissipating heat from the new generation of 5G chips and the multiple 5G antenna presents a significant challenge with many manufacturers increasing their TIM utilisation and combining it with options like vapour chambers.
The increased requirements for TIMs in both 5G infrastructure and smartphones combined with the huge deployment and sales figures leads to a big market for TIMs. This report highlights and discusses the thermal challenges around 5G infrastructure and smartphones, the solutions from current designs in the form of teardowns or use-cases and progression for the future with granular market forecasts for station size and frequency, and smartphones.
In addition to the topics discussed above, this report from IDTechEx also covers the TIM markets for data centers, LEDs, 4G infrastructure, tablets and laptops with analysis of challenges, teardowns, drivers and granular market forecasts.
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Table of Contents
1.1.Introduction to Thermal Interface Materials (TIM)
1.2.Properties of Thermal Interface Materials
1.3.Thermal Conductivity Comparison of TIM Formats
1.4.TIM Utilizing Advanced Carbon Materials
1.5.Commercial Benchmark for EV Battery TIMs
1.6.TIM for EV Battery Packs: Forecast by Vehicle Segment
1.7.TIM Forecast for Data Centers
1.8.TIM Forecast for 4G/LTE Base Stations
1.9.5G Station Deployment Forecast
1.10.TIM Forecast for 5G Stations
1.11.Trends in Smartphone Thermal Material Utilization
1.12.Thermal Material Forecast for Consumer Electronics
1.13.TIM Forecast Totals: Area
1.14.TIM Forecast Totals: Tonnage
1.15.Company Profiles
2.1.1.Introduction to Thermal Interface Materials (TIM)
2.1.2.Key Factors in System Level Performance
2.1.3.Thermal Conductivity vs Thermal Resistance
2.1.4.Bill of Materials and the Importance of Longevity
2.2.TIM Form and Material Overview
2.2.1.TIM Considerations
2.2.2.Thermal Interface Material by Physical Form
2.2.3.Assessment and Considerations of Liquid Products
2.2.4.Eight Types of Thermal Interface Material
2.2.5.Properties of Thermal Interface Materials Gap Pads
2.2.7.Advantages and Disadvantages of Elastomeric Pads
2.2.8.Thermal Conductivity of Commercial TIM Pads Thermal Gels/ Gap Fillers
2.2.10.Comparison of Thermal Gels with Greases
2.2.11.Gels vs Potting
2.2.12.Thermal Conductivity of Commercial Gels and Pastes Thermal Greases
2.2.14.Problems with Thermal Greases
2.2.15.Thermal Greases
2.2.16.Viscosity of Thermal Greases
2.2.17.Thermal Conductivity of Greases
2.2.18.Technical Data on Thermal Greases
2.2.19.The Effect of Filler and Loading on Thermal Conductivity Phase Change Materials (PCMs)
2.2.21.Phase Change Materials (PCMs)
2.2.22.PCM Categories and Pros and Cons
2.2.23.Phase Change Materials - Overview
2.2.24.Operating Temperature Range of Commercial PCMs Adhesive Tapes
2.2.26.Thermal Conductivity of Commercial Tapes Potting/ Encapsulants
2.2.28.Thermal Conductivity of Commercial Encapsulants Liquid Metals
2.2.30.PC Enthusiasts
2.2.31.LM TIM: Sony PS5 and ASUS
2.2.32.LM TIM: Players
2.2.33.Thermal Bridge - a New Approach
2.2.34.Thin film evaporation for microelectronics Solders and Electrically Conducive Adhesives
2.2.36.Types of Joining Materials
2.2.37.Structure of Electrically Conductive Adhesives
2.2.38.SWOT Analysis of ECAs Compared to Solders
2.2.39.Common Material Choices for ECAs
2.2.40.Thermal Conductivity Comparison of TIM Formats
2.2.41.Property Comparison of TIM Formats
2.3.Advanced Materials
2.3.1.Advanced Materials for TIM: Introduction
2.3.2.Achieving Through-plane Alignment
2.3.3.Summary of TIM Utilizing Advanced Carbon Materials
2.3.4.Thermal Conductivity Comparison of TIMs
2.3.5.TIM Combined with EMI Shielding Properties
2.3.7.Graphite Overview
2.3.8.Graphite Sheets: Through-plane Limitations
2.3.9.Graphite Sheets: Interfacing with Heat Source and Disrupting Alignment
2.3.10.Panasonic: Pyrolytic Graphite Sheet (PGS)
2.3.11.Progressions in Vertical Graphite
2.3.12.Vertical Graphite with Additives
2.3.13.Graphite Pastes
2.3.14.Thermal Conductivity Comparison of Graphite TIMs
2.3.15.Carbon Fiber
2.3.16.Carbon Fiber as a TIM: Introduction
2.3.17.Carbon Fiber as a TIM in Smartphones
2.3.18.Magnetic Alignment of Carbon Fiber TIMs
2.3.19.Other Routes to CF Alignment in a TIM
2.3.20.Carbon Fiber with Other Conductive Additives
2.3.21.Carbon Nanotubes (CNT)
2.3.22.Introduction to Carbon Nanotubes (CNT)
2.3.23.Challenges with VACNT as TIM
2.3.24.Transferring VACNT Arrays
2.3.25.Notable CNT TIM Examples from Commercial Players: Carbice
2.3.26.Notable CNT TIM Examples from Commercial Players: Fujitsu
2.3.27.Notable CNT TIM Examples from Commercial Players: Zeon
2.3.28.Notable CNT TIM Examples from Commercial Players: Hitachi Zosen
2.3.30.Graphene in Thermal Management: Application Roadmap
2.3.31.Graphene Heat Spreaders: Commercial Success
2.3.32.Graphene Heat Spreaders: Performance
2.3.33.Graphene Heat Spreaders: Suppliers Multiply
2.3.34.Graphene as a Thermal Paste Additive
2.3.35.Graphene as an Additive to Thermal Interface Pads
2.3.36.Ceramic Advancements
2.3.37.Ceramic Trends: Spherical Variants
2.3.38.Denka: Functional Fine Particles for Thermal Management
2.3.40.Showa Denko: Transition from Flake to Spherical Type Filler
2.3.41.Boron Nitride Nanostructures
2.3.42.Introduction to Nano Boron Nitride
2.3.43.BNNT Players and Prices
2.3.44.BNNT Property Variations
2.3.45.BN Nanostructures in TIMs
3.1.Dispensing TIMs Introduction
3.2.Challenges for Dispensing TIM
3.3.Low-volume Dispensing Methods
3.4.High-volume Dispensing Methods
3.5.Compatibility of Meter, Mix, Dispense (MMD) System
3.6.TIM Dispensing Equipment Suppliers
4.1.Henkel Acquires Bergquist
4.2.Parker Acquires Lord
4.3.DuPont Acquires Laird
5.1.Eliminating the TIM
5.2.Why the Drive to Eliminate the TIM?
5.3.Has TIM Been Eliminated in any EV Inverter Modules?
6.1.Introduction to Thermal Management for EVs
6.2.Battery Thermal Management - Hot and Cold
6.3.Active vs Passive Cooling
6.4.Analysis of Battery Cooling Methods
6.5.Emerging Routes - Immersion cooling
6.6.Emerging Routes - Phase Change Materials
6.7.Global Trends in OEM Cooling Methodologies
6.8.Thermal Management - Pack and Module Overview
6.9.TIM Application - Pack and Modules
6.10.TIM Application - Cell Format
6.11.Dow Battery Pack Materials
6.12.Henkel Battery Pack Materials
6.13.DuPont Battery Pack Materials
6.14.Key Properties for TIMs in EVs
6.15.Gap Pads in EV Batteries
6.16.Switching to Gap Fillers from Pads
6.17.Material Options and Market Comparison
6.18.The Silicone Dilemma for the Automotive Industry
6.19.Silicone Alternatives
6.20.Main Players and Considerations
6.21.Main Players and Recent Announcements
6.22.EV Use-case: Audi e-tron
6.23.EV Use-case: Chevrolet Bolt
6.24.EV Use-case: Fiat 500e
6.25.EV Use-case: MG ZS EV
6.26.EV Use-case: Nissan Leaf
6.27.EV Use-case: Smart Fortwo (Mercedes)
6.28.EV Use-case: Tesla Model 3/Y
6.29.EV Use-cases: Tesla, Chevrolet, Hyundai
6.30.Tesla Eliminating the Battery Module
6.31.EV Use-case Summary
6.32.Commercial Benchmark for EV Battery TIMs
6.33.Battery and TIM Demand Trends
6.34.TIM for EV Battery Packs: Forecast by Vehicle Segment
6.35.TIM for EV Battery Packs: Forecast by TIM Type
6.36.Insulating Cell-to-Cell Foams
6.37.Heat Spreaders or Interspersed Cooling Plates
6.38.Summary and Conclusions for TIMs in EV
7.1.Thermal Interface Materials in Data Centers: Introduction
7.2.Introduction to Data Center Equipment: Servers, Switches and Supervisors
7.3.How TIMs Are Used in Servers
7.4.Server Board Layout
7.5.Intel vs AMD for Server Components
7.6.Estimating the TIM Area in Servers
7.7.Determining the Relative Numbers of Data Center Equipment
7.8.How TIMs are Used in Data Center Switches
7.9.Data Center Switch Players
7.10.Average Switch Port Numbers
7.11.How TIMs are Used in Data Center Supervisor Modules
7.12.Estimating the Number of Supervisor Modules in Data Centers
7.13.Estimating the TIM Area in Data Center Switches and Supervisors
7.14.How TIMs are Used in Data Center Power Supplies
7.15.TIM Consumption in Data Center Power Supplies
7.16.TIM Trends in Data Centers
7.17.Data Center Server Unit Forecast
7.18.Switch and Supervisor Modules Forecast
7.19.Server, Switch, Supervisor and Power Supply Forecast
7.20.TIM Forecast for Data Centers
8.1.TIM in LEDs for General Lighting
8.2.TIM in LEDs for Automotive
8.3.TIM in LED for Displays
8.4.Total TIM Demand for LEDs
8.5.Total LED TIM Forecasts
9.1.The Anatomy of a Base Station
9.2.Baseband Processing Unit and Remote Radio Head
9.3.Path Evolution from Baseband Unit to Antenna
9.4.The 6 Components of a Baseband Processing Unit
9.5.BBU Part I: TIM Area in the Main Control Board
9.6.BBU Parts II & III: TIM Area in the Baseband Processing Board & the Transmission Extension Board
9.7.BBU Parts IV & V: TIM Area in Radio Interface Board & Satellite-card Board
9.8.BBU Part VI: TIM Area in the Power Supply Board
9.9.Remote Radio Head (RRH) Unit Components
9.10.RRH Parts: TIM Area in the Main Board
9.11.RRU Parts: TIM Area in PA Board
9.12.BBU and RRH TIM Summary
9.13.BBU TIM Forecasts in 4G/LTE Base Stations
9.14.RRH TIM Forecast in 4G/LTE Base Stations
9.15.Total TIM Area Forecast for 4G/LTE Base Stations
10.1.Next Generation Cellular Communications Network
10.2.Evolution of Mobile Communications
10.3.What Can 5G offer? High Speed, Massive Connection and Low Latency
10.4.Differences Between 4G and 5G
10.5.5G Enables Various Vertical Applications
10.6.Two Types of 5G: Sub-6 GHz and High Frequency
10.7.Sub-6 GHz Will be the First Option for Most Operators
10.8.5G is Live Globally
10.9.Key Players in 5G Technologies
10.10.Global Trends and New Opportunities in 5G
10.11.Thermal Management for 5G
10.12.5G Base Station Types
10.13.5G Station Instalment Forecast (2020-2031) by Station Size (Macro, Micro, Pico & Femto)
10.14.Massive MIMO Requires Active Antennas
10.15.Density of Components in RFFE
10.16.Main Suppliers of 5G Active Antenna Units (AAU)
10.17.Case Study: NEC 5G Radio Unit
10.18.Case Study: Nokia AirScale mMIMO Adaptive Antenna
10.19.Case study: Samsung 5G Access Solution for SK Telecom
10.20.TIM Example: Samsung 5G Access Point
10.21.TIM Example: Samsung Outdoor CPE Unit
10.22.TIM Example: Samsung Indoor CPE Unit
10.23.TIM Forecast for 5G Antenna
10.24.TIM for 5G BBU
10.25.Power Consumption in 5G
10.26.TIM Forecast for Power Supplies
10.27.TIM Properties and Players for 5G Infrastructure
10.28.TIM Suppliers Targeting 5G Applications
10.29.Total TIM Forecast for 5G Stations
11.1.TIM in Smartphones
11.1.1.Overview of Thermal Management Materials Application Areas
11.1.2.Use-case: Samsung Galaxy 3
11.1.3.Use-case: Apple iPhone 5
11.1.4.Use-case: Samsung Galaxy S6
11.1.5.Use-case: Samsung Galaxy S7
11.1.6.Use-case: Samsung Galaxy S6 and S7 TIM Area Estimates
11.1.7.Use-case: Apple iPhone 7
11.1.8.Use-case: Apple iPhone X
11.1.9.Use-case: Samsung Galaxy S9
11.1.10.Galaxy Note 9 Carbon Water Cooling System
11.1.11.Use-case: Oppo R17
11.1.12.Use-case: Samsung Galaxy S10 and S10e
11.1.13.Use-case: LG v50 ThinQ 5G
11.1.14.Use-case: Samsung Galaxy S10 5G
11.1.15.Use-case: Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ 5G
11.1.16.Use-case: LG v60 ThinQ 5G
11.1.17.Use-case: Nubia Red Magic 5G
11.1.18.Use-case: Samsung Galaxy S20 5G
11.1.19.Use-case: Samsung Galaxy S21 5G
11.1.20.Use-case: Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra 5G
11.1.21.Use-case: Huawei Mate 20 X 5G
11.1.22.Use-case: Sony Xperia Pro
11.1.23.Smartphone Thermal Material Estimate Summary
11.1.24.Trends in Smartphone Thermal Material Utilization
11.1.25.Graphitic Heat Spreaders
11.1.26.Emerging Advanced Material Solutions
11.1.27.Insulation Material
11.2.TIM in Laptops
11.2.1.Use-case: ASUS VivoBook K570
11.2.2.Use-case: Clevo P641RE
11.2.3.Use-case: Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon
11.2.4.Use-case: Dell XPS 13
11.2.5.Use-case: MacBook Pro 2019
11.2.6.Use-case: MacBook Pro (2020)
11.2.7.Use-case: MacBook Air (2020)
11.2.8.Laptop Thermal Material Estimate Summary
11.3.TIM in Tablets
11.3.1.Use-case: iPad Pro 2020
11.3.2.Use-case: iPad Air 2020
11.3.3.Use-case: Amazon Kindle Fire 7
11.3.4.Use-case: Microsoft Surface Go 2
11.3.5.Use-case: Samsung Galaxy Tab A7
11.3.6.Tablet Thermal Material Estimate Summary
11.3.7.Consumer Electronics Sales Forecast
11.3.8.Thermal Material Forecast for Consumer Electronics
12.1.TIM Forecast Totals: Area
12.2.TIM Forecast Totals: Tonnage
12.3.TIM: Price Analysis
13.1.Summary of Forecasts
13.2.EV Battery Demand Forecast
13.3.TIM for EV Battery Packs: Forecast by Vehicle Segment
13.4.TIM for EV Battery Packs: Forecast by TIM Type
13.5.Data Center Server, Switch, Supervisor and Power Supply Forecast
13.6.TIM Forecast for Data Centers
13.7.Total LED TIM Forecasts: Area
13.8.Total LED TIM Forecasts: Tonnage
13.9.Total TIM Area Forecast for 4G/LTE Base Stations
13.10.5G Station Instalment Forecast by Station Size (Macro, Micro, Pico & Femto)
13.11.TIM Forecast for 5G Antenna
13.12.TIM for 5G BBU
13.13.TIM Forecast for Power Supplies
13.14.Total TIM Forecast for 5G Stations
13.15.Consumer Electronics Sales Forecast
13.16.Thermal Material Forecast for Consumer Electronics
13.17.TIM Forecast Totals: Area
13.18.TIM Forecast Totals: Tonnage

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