SUBJECT: M.S. Thesis Presentation
BY: Barbara Giffin
TIME: Thursday, November 18, 2021, 1:00 p.m.
PLACE:, Virtual
TITLE: Ultra-Thin Flexible Thermal Ground Plane Modeling and Experimental Examination
COMMITTEE: Dr. G.P. Peterson, Chair (ME)
Dr. Yogendra Joshi (ME)
Dr. Zhuomin Zhang (ME)
Dr. Peter Loutzenhiser (ME)


Electronic industry increasing thermal loads necessitate updated, more adequate thermal management techniques. Thermal Ground Planes (TGPs) use phase change to achieve high conductivities and effectively spread heat over their flat geometries. Multiple configurations are possible for these TGPs, as their internal structures may be as simple or complex as necessary to achieve the desired heat transport capacity. Kelvin Thermal is a startup business located in Boulder, Colorado that manufactures multiple TGP geometries for various applications, especially for the electronics industry. They currently use basic, hand-calculation tools to design and examine new configurations. They also manufacture and test TGPs to better understand their full capabilities. The objective of this effort is to develop a TGP design tool for Kelvin Thermal. This design tool calculates important parameters in a timely fashion, providing a re-usable tool for design and taking the place of hand calculations. Multiple input variables and configuration parameters provide flexibility, allowing engineers to compare the functionality of different designs for each application. Comparing design tool results to measured test results, also obtained in this effort, provides insight into model accuracy and useful adjustment factors. Adjustment factors provide additional design tool functionality, accounting for heat losses and assumptions. With these adjustment factors, the design tool calculates both theoretical best-case results as well as sensible estimates, both of which provide useful information to a design engineer. Final versions of the model correlate well with measured conductivities with a difference of 3.4%, and measured temperatures when adjusted for emissivity with a difference of 1%.