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Alternatives to silpads

Q. We are in the automotive electronics industry. We anodize our aluminum to isolate electrical conductivity, and allow thermal conductivity. It is our desire to stop anodizing but still have the same "zero" electrical conductivity, and maximum thermal conductivity.

Jim Allan
automotive - Portland, Oregon, USA

A. Hi Jim. You haven't told us what kind of parts you are anodizing, or where in the auto they are used (so we know what kind of temperature and corrosion resistance you need), nor why you want to stop anodizing (a proposed solution might be worse rather than better if we don't know what it is you are trying to avoid).

There are some paints and presumably some ceramic sprays that will offer some degree of electrical resistivity, but please spend a few more words describing your situation.

Ted Mooney,
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha - Pine Beach, New Jersey


Thanks for helping me to clarify my problem:

1. These items are used inside and outside the vehicle.

2. They allow for the transfer of heat from devices operating within a range of 10 to 65 watts.

3. These units must pass a hard anodization process with a thickness of 1.5 mils, clear or black.

4. Some of our products use a chromate finish instead of anodizing, but this is for the exterior of the heatsink only. The interior of the device, which is where the electronics are located must be completely isolated from the devices which are physically bolted to the interior of the housing. 5. We have used Berquist silpads for the isolation, but if there is a better, more efficient way to get zero electrical conductivity and maximum thermal conductivity, we would be very interested in sampling these products.

Jim Allan [returning]
- Portland, Oregon, USA

A. Hi again Jim. Not sure if it's more practical or less practical than your current approach, but it is possible to selectively mix chromating & anodizing, such that the one face is anodized and the rest is chromate conversion coated. It might also be that an anodizing thickness less than 1.5 mils can still deliver sufficient electrical insulation.

Luck & Regards,

Ted Mooney,
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha - Pine Beach, New Jersey

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