Northern Illinois University

Baxter Reliability Laboratory

Thermal Analysis

The objective of Infrared (IR) testing is to establish thermal evaluations of a product and to ensure that the product meets or exceeds the thermal design requirements.  The thermal design objectives that are to be satisfied are:

  • Functional Integrity, i.e., maintaining proper operating temperature will not degrade components' performance, and
  • Operational Reliability, i.e., maintaining proper operating temperature in order to extend the life of the components.

To accomplish these objectives, thermal analysis may be done with the help of a thermal imaging camera. The thermal images are used to located the product hot spots and the affected components.  This information along with the components' specified thermal parameters is then used to pinpoint the critical components.  The results are geared to facilitate the following actions. 

  1. Evaluate critical components (ensure junction temperatures < specifications)
  2. Evaluate heat sink solutions
  3. Evaluate airflow solutions
  4. Determine temperature acceleration factors (used in FIT calculations)

Result: Evaluate occurence of critical component(s) whose elevated temperature may result in reduced operational life.