PCB/Electronics: Thermal Management, Cooling and Derating
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PCB/Electronics: Thermal Management, Cooling and Derating

Introduction to the basic concepts of cooling, thermal management and derating, with a focus on PCB development aspects.
4.5 (2 ratings)
Instead of using a simple lifetime average, Udemy calculates a course's star rating by considering a number of different factors such as the number of ratings, the age of ratings, and the likelihood of fraudulent ratings.
37 students enrolled
Created by Marco CATANOSSI
Last updated 8/2017
Current price: $10 Original price: $130 Discount: 92% off
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  • 1.5 hours on-demand video
  • 5 Articles
  • 1 Supplemental Resource
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of Completion
What Will I Learn?
  • Design a PCB/electronic application using comprehensive approach to thermal management, cooling and component derating for reliability.
  • Know what heatsinks are, their most important aspects and how to choose them for a proper thermal management and cooling.
  • Undersand and choose heat sink mounting techniques and thermal interface materials.
  • Understand the use of fans in thermal management and cooling, their impact on heat sinks thermal resistance and parameters.
  • Master thermal aspects with respect to PCB routing and design (copper plane, vias and similar) and parameters influencing it.
  • Understand re-rating and de-rating of electronics components (derating power, voltage, currents, fan out, and so on).
  • Master the reliability aspects of thermal management, cooling and derating, especially with respect to electrical and thermal stress factors.
  • Analyse, calculate, and design the hardware thermal control of a PCB.
  • Cool components in PCB design using a proper approach.
  • Understand the most used cooling techniques and all the parameters influencing it.
View Curriculum
  • Knowledge of the basic electronic concepts, like current, voltage, power and Ohm's law.
  • Knowledge of common electronic components (transistors, capacitors, and other devices of widespread use) and basic PCB concepts.

This course is about cooling, thermal management and derating in PCB design.

After introducing the basic definitions, it provides a clear and logical path to a complete design of thermal aspects.

- It starts with calculating the dissipated power for different types of components, and understanding whether the thermal equilibrium is optimal or we need a thermal management strategy.

- Then it introduces heat sinks, which is by far the most used cooling approach, talking about their features, mounting techniques, parameters and so on.

- Than it speaks about thermal interface materials, used to couple heat sinks to integrated circuits, their types and characteristics.

- It also speaks about the forced air cooling technique, introducing how to calculate a fan performance and its impact on the heat sink thermal resistance.

- Then it explains PCB related aspects for thermal management, of particular relevance when the used devices have exposed pads.

At the end of these group of lessons, you will be able to understand the need for thermal management and provide your design with a comprehensive strategy mastering all the related aspects and variables influencing it (like altitude, spreading resistance, etc. )

Then the course dedicate an entire section to a related and very important aspect: derating.

It explain the concept of re-rating and de-rating, its impact on electronic devices reliability and expected life (MTBF, Mean Time Between Failure, nowadays often used instead of MTTF, Mean Time To Failure), and it shows how the most used electronic components are derated and which parameters are reduced.

The course is enriched with exercises and real life examples, using real devices datasheets to show where parameters are gathered and how they are used.

At the end of the course you will have a broader understanding of the thermal/cooling management and derating aspects, and you will able to design a PCB that is able to manage the dissipated power (and related temperature rise), and properly choose components parameters based on the right derating considerations.  

Therefore, you will be able to design a PCB that stands thermal and electrical stresses and that actually works and last in the real world environment.

Who is the target audience?
  • Students interested in electronics, embedded systems and PCB design.
  • Students who want to understande the most important cooling techniques and basics.
  • Students who are interested in electronics reliability against thermal and electrinic stress.
  • Persons interested in derating and its impact in enhancing a device expected life.
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Curriculum For This Course
30 Lectures
1 Lecture 03:20

In this lesson we introduce the teacher, all the course sections and what you will be able to do at the end of the course.

Preview 03:20
5 Lectures 22:38

In this lesson you will learn the basic concepts and definitions, among which, thermal resistance, junction temperature, the electrical analogy, ambient temperature, airflow and power dissipation. 

Preview 03:31

Electrical Analogy
4 questions

In this section we will see how to calculate the dissipated power in simple components like transistors and resistors, and in more complex digital devices,
where we have to consider factors like the I/O switching power and ODT
power factor.

Power Dissipation Calculation

Power Dissipation
2 questions

In this lesson, we will apply what we have learned form the previous lesson to a SRAM digital chip Cypress CY7C1381D, whose dissipated power will be calculated as an example, using the device datasheet.

Example: SRAM Power Consumption Calculation

Dissipated Power Calculation
5 questions

I this lesson we will see the most used temperature ranges, and we will have a quick glance at the JEDEC standard and its use, in order to be able to perform reliable comparison between thermal performance of different components.

Temperature Specifications

Junction Temperature
3 questions

In this lesson we will see the peculiarities of one of the most used and more affected by the power dissipation performance devices, the linear regulators. We will see hot to calculate the dissipated power in the worst case scenario, using the data available in the datasheet.  

As an example, we will see the Low Drop Out Linear Regulator Microchip TC1264.

Preview 04:42

Linear Regulators
4 questions
1 Lecture 06:29

In this lesson we will talk about heat sinks, how to calculate when hey are necessary, which performance is required and how to choose them for a specific device, once given the ambient temperature, the Junction to Case thermal resistance, the dissipated power and the maximum Junction Temperature allowed by the chip manufacturer.

We will provide a numerical Example, at the end of which an AAVID Heatsink will be chosen after having checked its datasheet.

When to Use Heat Sinks

Heat sinks
5 questions
2 Lectures 06:24

In this lesson we will introduce thermal interface materials (TIM), which are the materials used between the heat sink and the device. We will explain the different types of TIM, with strengths and weaknesses, and we will provide an example of thermal resistance calculation with the Laird Technologies TPCM585 phase change TIM.

Thermal Interface Materials

Notes to the Thermal Interface Material Lesson

Thermal Interface Materials
3 questions
3 Lectures 05:33

In this lesson we will see the most used techniques to apply an heat sink onto a chip, with strength and weaknesses for each siltation. We will also provide some tips to avoid short circuits between heat sinks and nearby capacitors.

Heat Sinks Mounting Techniques

Note to the Heat Sinks Mounting Techniques Lesson

Mounting Techniques
2 questions

In this lesson you will learn what the Spreading Resistance is, under which circumstances it occurs and how we take into account of these aspects by augmenting the rated heat sink thermal resistance with a safety multiplication factor.

Spreading Thermal Resistance

Spreading Thermal Resistance
3 questions
5 Lectures 11:22

In this section we will introduce the most important fan parameters (CFM, LFM) and how to calculate it. We will use as an example the Datasheet of the fan RS Pro DC Axial Fan.

We will also see a simple rule to derated the fan CFM with respect to the back-pressure.

Fan Parameters

5 questions

In this section we will explain how the use of a fan impact the thermal resistance of heat sinks. We will refer to the impact of the fan used in the previous lesson example, the RS Pro DC Axial Fan, on a heat sink with 9.5 °C/W thermal resistance. 

Effects on Heat Sinks

Effects on Heat Sinks
1 question

In this lesson we will talk about the thermal resistance variation with airflow predicted by the manufacturers and reported under the form of graphs. 

We will see the two most common graphs.

Heat Sink Thermal Graphs

Thermal Graphs
1 question

In this lesson, we will see how altitude impact a heat sink performance, with and without forced air flow/fans, showing a table with derating factors.

Altitude Derating

Altitude Derating
3 questions

In this lesson, we will give you some tips on fan and heat sinks positioning and some other advice.


2 questions
3 Lectures 08:20

In this lesson we will talk about when and why the PCB design represent a critical factor in the thermal management.

Preview 02:45

PCB Thermal Aspects
2 questions

In this section we will explore how manufacturers provide information on a component PCB soldering and placement in order to provide a Thermal Resistance through the PCB of a specified value.

PCB Thermal Resistance Calculation: Software, Graphs and Tables

PCB Thermal Resistance Calculation
2 questions

In this lesson, we will provide some tips on the PCB design and component placement in order to improve the thermal performance.

PCB Design Tips for Thermal Performance

PCB Design Tips for Thermal Performance
3 questions
Summary of the Thermal Management Procedure
1 Lecture 00:47
Steps for Thermal Management
6 Lectures 21:08

In this lesson we will talk about the most influent stress factors and what derating is. We provide an example on a resistor.

Stress Factors

Stress Factors
2 questions

In this lesson we talk about the difference between mechanical and chemical failure, and we introduce two example of direct stress factors derating, which can be applied to every stress factor but power dissipated. The latter indeed, requires one more step before derating, which is called re-rating and it is shown in the next lesson.

Preview 01:47

Need for Derating, Mechanical and Chemical Failures
1 question

Direct Derating
3 questions

In this lesson we will talk about the power dissipation Re-Rating and De-Rating for electronic components. 

We will see how manufacturers provide re-rating information for resistors and semiconductor devices, showing specific datasheets of component from Vishay and ON Semiconductor.

Furthermore, as an example, we will derate a 200W 2N6338 transistor using the graph method with the derating graph and mathematical method with the derating coefficient, both provided by the manufacturer in the device datasheet.

Derating Power Dissipation

Derating Power Dissipation
5 questions

In this lesson, mostly theoretical, we will introduce a formula that describe the relation between failure rate and electrical stress, and we will show how a variation of 15% of the stress voltage, can double the failure rate.

Electrical Stress

Electrical Stress
2 questions

This lesson is quite theoretical, and shows a formula that relates the thermal variations to the failure rate. It shows how a variation a 10°C may double the expected life of a device.

Thermal Stress

Thermal Stress
2 questions

In this lesson, we will provided the recommended derating factors for the most common electronic components, to be used when the component manufacturer does not provide information on this matter.

Specific Component Derating

Specific components derating
4 questions
Congratulation and Thank You!
1 Lecture 00:49

Final lecture! Thank you and good luck!

Greetings and Thank you!
2 More Sections
About the Instructor
4.4 Average rating
24 Reviews
460 Students
4 Courses
Chartered Engineer - MSc - Senior Consultant

Marco Catanossi lives and works in Italy. He has a MSc in electronics engineering and he is an expert in product safety and certifications, helping many companies from different countries to successfully put their product on the market. The Author has also experience as assessors on product safety on behalf of the Court of Justice and he is member of the European Union engineering panel for innovation projects evaluation. Since 2008, Marco has built a consulting business helping manufacturers from different fields (from medical devices to toys and garments) to meet regulatory and technical requirements worldwide. He is a dedicated professional with a high specialization in products safety (including electrical/electronics), a deep insight in product liability and a strong practical approach to product engineering and design.