Thermal Components

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Etched Surface Features Increase Thermal Capacity

  • Component-Side Heat Sinks in Aluminum and Copper
  • Heat Exchangers
  • Flexible Resistive Heat Elements Clad to Silicon Rubber, Polyamide and Other Insulators
  • Three Dimensional Radiator Plates in Aluminum

Conard produces photo-etched copper and aluminum circuit board heatsinks for commercial and military applications. Component-side heatsinks are photochemically machined, precision drilled, conversion coated, dielectric epoxy coated and silk-screened. Where required, Conard installs detail parts such as brackets, stiffeners and solder terminals as well.

Our heatsinks and other photo etched parts can be found in electronic engine controls, guidance and navigation systems and environmental systems of military and commercial aircraft, weapon systems, some U.S. Navy ships and NASA’s Space Shuttle fleet.

Photochemical etching is a very effective solution for producing heat transfer and dissipation components that are used in applications including LED lighting, chilling systems, RF and microwave power circuits, as well as printed circuit boards.

Flexible heaters are produced from metal-clad insulating substrates into which the resistor heating element pattern is chemically etched. Resistor element alloys include stainless steel, copper and some nickel-copper alloys. Substrates may be may from rubber, silicone or polyamide materials.


FAQ for Etched Thermal Components

Q: What is a heat sink?

A: A heat sink is a radiator that absorbs heat, usually from a printed circuit board assembly, and helps to dissipate the heat away from the electronic components.

Q: What alloys are most often used for heat sinks?

A: Copper is an excellent conductor of heat and is used where weight is less of a consideration. Most aerospace heat sinks are aluminum because it is about 1/3 the weight of the same volume of copper.

Q: Why etch heat sinks?

A: Many heat sinks have very complex internal configurations that would be impractical to CNC punch, costly to tool for stamping, and time consuming for CNC milling, laser cutting or wire EDM. The etching process is indifferent to the complexity of the geometry. In addition, the etching process can easily accommodate surface features on the radiating side of the part to increase surface area and dissipation capacity.

Q: What are flexible heaters?

A: Flexible heaters are resistive heating elements (like the coils on a stove or in a toaster) that are bonded to a flexible insulating material such as rubber, silicone, or polyamide (Kapton®).

Q: Why are they etched?

A: The metal element material, often Inconel, stainless steel or copper, is first bonded to the material. To selectively remove the metal that is not part of the element design, etching is the practical solution. The element foils are often from .001 to .005” thick and would be very difficult to bond without damage after they had been cut out.