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By Mark Swanson on  6/20/2018

Graphite Gaskets for Thermal Management

Graphite Gaskets for Thermal Management

Graphite gaskets are die cut from thermal interface materials (TIMs) with strong thermal conductivity. Graphite also resists thermal shock, damage that occurs with rapid changes in temperature. Across planar surfaces like printed circuit boards (PCBs), graphite dissipates heat evenly and rapidly. Graphite’s mechanical properties increase with temperature, but die cut graphite gaskets resist cold, too. 

Graphite is flexible and can be produced without fillers or binders that impart rigidity. Flexible graphite gaskets are die cut from expanded sheets or foil-core materials in a range of thicknesses. Thin, lightweight TIMs made of graphite sheets are ideal for heat spreading applications where space is limited. Graphite gaskets also support the use of pressure-sensitive adhesives (PSAs) for ease-of-installation. 

By understanding how graphite sheets are supplied, die cut, and used, engineers can determine whether this TIM is the right choice for thermal management. Let’s take a closer look. 

Flexible Graphite Sheets and Die Cut Gaskets

Graphite gaskets are die cut from thin, lightweight sheets that are made of natural or synthetic materials. In pure form, natural flake graphite is free of fibers, binders, and other additives that are used to impart or enhance specific material properties. Synthetic graphite is more porous and less dense than natural graphite, which has a more crystalline structure.   

Die cut graphite gaskets are also supplied as expanded sheet materials that contain a foil reinforcement. These sandwich-like structures bond the metal foil between two graphite sheets but still support precision die cutting for fast, efficient parts production. Some graphite sheet materials are reinforced with a tanged metal plate or metal mesh instead. 

Graphite Gasket Applications 

Graphite gaskets are used in electrical, electronic, and mechanical applications that require a combination of reliable electrical grounding and strong thermal conductivity. Examples include mobile computers, handheld devices, power supplies, and power conversion equipment. Flexible graphite gaskets are also used in high-performance computers, telecommunications switching hardware, and electronic displays. 

In the lighting industry, graphite gaskets are made of expanded sheet materials with low levels of outgassing, a condition that releases volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that can cause clouding and reduced brightness. In the automotive industry, graphite gaskets that incorporate metal foils are used with chip on-board LEDs for engines. These TIMs can be supplied on assembly-ready rolls, too.

Find Thermal Management Solutions from JBC

Are graphite gaskets the right thermal interface materials for your application? The Sales Team at JBC Technologies is ready to answer your questions. To get started, contact us.


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