# Simulation Software for PCB Trace Temperature

Discussion in 'Electronics Resources' started by ivan27807, Jan 21, 2013.

1. ### ivan27807 Thread Starter New Member

Jan 21, 2013
1
0
Hi All,

Somebody here who knows a simulation software that is capable of showing copper trace temperature on a pcb?

The simulation should be able to consider the following: PCB laminate material and thickness; trace width (per copper oz); variable ambient temperature (e.g. can be set to +125C and +150C). It should also be able to output voltage drop per given trace length. My input on the trace is only DC power. It would also be great if the simulator can also consider span of time, e.g. plot result of time = 1 hour . . . 100 hour . . . 1000 hour.

My aim is to simulate traces running on a 62 mils thick multilayer burn-in board made of IS410 laminate . The trace is for DC power/supply only.

2. ### thatoneguy AAC Fanatic!

Feb 19, 2009
6,357
718
You have delved into the black art of PCB Thermal Management

There are some online calculators that only look at current, trace width/weight, and inner or outer layer.

Calc 1
Calc 2

To do a complete simulation with components, which also use the traces/power lines for heat sinking, lead resistance, etc, the designer now enters the field of fluid dynamics. Multiple heat sources, varying current, distance from source, all contribute to the temperature rise. Simulation software does exist (specialized CAD I don't know the name of), but it is extremely expensive, and the parameters of every component, connections, thermal coefficients, etc. need to be known. Such software is what has assisted in the shrinking PC Motherboards from 3 ft² to under 1 ft², as well as many other power hungry devices, such as phones.

Calculating heat on one trace is relatively simple, calculating heat for 4 paths in physical proximity on an inner layer is more difficult than designing the circuit itself if one is minimizing the size as much as possible. It is an NP-Complete problem, which means an optimum layout would take years of processing to decide.