Purdue University Graduate School

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Non-Newtonian fluid models such as the Bingham and Herschel-Bulkley models are used to characterize the flow behavior of many complex fluids and soft solids. The three parameter Herschel-Bulkley model captures the yield stress behavior and the nonlinear power law behavior. In this thesis, the semi-analytical solution of Herschel-Bulkley fluids provided by Covey and Stanmore is used to experimentally characterize the squeeze flow behavior. A ‘Squeeze Flow and Thermal Resistance Tester’ was custom designed to perform velocity controlled squeeze flow experiments. The tester has an additional capability of performing thermal resistance characterization adhering to the ASTM-D5470 standard. A novel framework is described for characterizing the three Herschel-Bulkley parameters (τy, n and ηHB) using the developed tester.

Thermal Interface Materials (TIMs) are used to efficiently dissipate heat from a heat generating component to a heat sink in an electronic package. Thermal grease is a type of TIM comprising of a base material (e.g. polymer) loaded with highly conducting filler particles (e.g, boron nitride, alumina or sometimes conducting metals such as aluminum or silver). These greases are expected to exhibit Herschel-Bulkley flow behavior. Hence, thermal greases are used as candidate materials for squeeze flow characterization. In addition to the flow characterization, the thermal resistance across these thermal greases are also characterized using the custom designed tester. Characterization of mechanical and thermal behavior of TIMs is crucial to predicting their long-term reliability.

The effect of in-situ isothermal baking duration and test temperature on flow behavior is studied. The increase in duration of isothermal baking at test temperature of 55◦C showed that the material tends to stiffen with baking duration. The increase in test temperature from 5◦C to 100◦C resulted in a decrease in the power law index n and viscosity ηHB.

Finally, a numerical simulation strategy for performing squeeze flow simulations is described. The characterized flow parameters from the squeeze flow experiments were used as input material parameters for a dynamic mesh-based numerical simulation of squeeze flow between parallel surfaces. The results of the experimental force response and numerical simulation results were compared and found to be in close agreement. In order to simulate flow of thermal greases in a package undergoing deformation, a non-flat test setup was fabricated and squeeze experiments were performed. Numerical simulations were subsequently performed for the non-flat surface using material parameters extracted from previous experiments and the results were compared. The results from both experiments and numerical simulations showed that the force response of thermal greases under non-flat surfaces was significantly higher than the planar case.


Degree Type

  • Doctor of Philosophy


  • Mechanical Engineering

Campus location

  • West Lafayette

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Ganesh Subbarayan

Additional Committee Member 2

Amy Marconnet

Additional Committee Member 3

Justin Weibel

Additional Committee Member 4

Chelsea Davis