LONDON The U.K. Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) is supporting a new initiative to develop high temperature electronics packaging solutions for down-well and aero engine applications.
The UPTEMP project has been formed with support from a £192,000 grant from the DTI's Technology Programme and will investigate methods which will enable the installation of electronic power and control systems in high temperature environments in order to improve the accuracy of critical measurements and reduce the cost of cabling from remote and hostile locations. Typical environments will include down-hole petroleum/gas/geothermal applications as well as turbine engines for aircraft propulsion and power generation.
This requirement has posed a challenge to the traditional limit of 125°C for high temperature exposure of electronics systems. Operating temperatures above 200°C – which are typical of these types of application – in combination with high pressures, vibrations and potentially corrosive environments mean that different semiconductors, passive components, circuit boards and assembly processes will be needed to fulfil the target performance specifications.
The project brings together Oxford University's Materials Department, a high temperature electronics research centre which is funded directly by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), with a consortium of end-users.
The consortium consists of Sondex Wireline (representing down-well applications), Vibro-Meter UK (representing aero engine applications), electronics module manufacturer Micro Circuit Engineering and materials suppliers Thermastrate and Gwent Electronic Materials.
The UPTEMP project aims to demonstrate electronic packaging/assembly materials and processes for long term operation at temperatures up to 250°C on a representative circuit used in down-hole and aero engine applications. The project programme includes reliability analysis of the materials and processes.