The German chemicals major Wacker Chemie AG opened a global competence centre for thermal interface materials in Shanghai, China on September 16. The new laboratory is located at the company’s China headquarters in Shangai’s Caohejing High-Tech Park. It will conduct fundamental research to develop novel silicone-based thermal interface products and solutions for the electrical vehicle market as well as for consumer electronics and telecommunication industries.
As the company explained, thermal interface materials (TIM) have been one of the fastest growing segments of the materials market globally over the past decade, with an average compound annual growth rate of over 6%. Widely used in personal computers, consumer electronics, automotive and telecommunication industries, the demand for silicone-based TIMs is expected to grow continuously, as power density is rising exponentially and thermal management systems become increasingly important.
Electronic devices and batteries generate a great deal of heat that impacts their functionality and service life and can lead to serious faults, making efficient thermal management increasingly essential. “For improved thermal management of components, the industry is increasingly turning to heat-dissipation materials”, said Mr. Christian Gimber, head of Engineering Silicones at Wacker’s silicone division. “Our thermally conductive silicones can be processed very efficiently, and they also meet the stringent and rising safety and reliability requirements imposed by the electronics and automotive industries.”
The company’s new R&D lab in Shanghai will focus on the development of silicone-based thermal interface materials and novel applications. Mr. Gimber explained that with the new lab, Wacker will be able to significantly improve its capability of fundamental research for such materials and come up with tailor-made products for the company’s customers around the world.
The TIM competence centre shares existing resources, such as analytics and the e-mobility lab of the site. Experts will conduct fundamental research aimed at overcoming technical hurdles with regard to performance, processability and cost-effectiveness and leverage Wacker’s proprietary technology to work on new material designs. The facility will develop customized products and solutions with locally available raw materials for the Chinese market, as well as supporting other labs in the company’s worldwide network, such as labs in Germany and South Korea, when creating new formulations.
According to Mr. Paul Lindblad, President of Wacker Greater China, China’s range of TIM applications is quite remarkable and one of the most comprehensive in the world. He pointed out that with the company operating a major TIM research facility in the country, their Chinese customers will be able to benefit from a faster response time.