Thermal Run Away
A major cause of fires and failure of electronic equipment.

All electrical fixtures and equipment generate heat. The equipment dissipate the heat by either Convection, Conduction or Radiation . All three heat dissipation mechanisms have a natural tendency to seek thermal equilibrium where the heat generated is exactly equal to the heat dissipated. Heat is one of the primary causes of electronic and electrical equipment failure.

Some products are designed to maintain temperature using only the natural heat dissipation mechanisms. Other products incorporate temperature controls that automatically shut down the equipment whenever the temperature exceeds a predetermined level. The temperature controls range in complexity from a simple thermal cut out switches to sophisticated computer control systems. Thermal analysis and verification should be an integral part of a products design. All products, equipment & systems should be able to maintain temperature over its intended operational temperature range and duty cycle.

Thermal Runaway occurs when the equipment continues to generate heat faster than it can be dissipated. The temperature will continue to rise until the equipment fails or a fire breaks out. There are many causes for Thermal Runaway including defective design, improper installation and control system failure.

The Electric Blanket is an example of an extremely dangerous product that is susceptible to Thermal Runaway. The electric blanket causes many fires each year. A new blanket with no component failures, can be set on fire in a couple of hours by simply wrapping it in the bedclothes.

Rigorous thermal analysis and testing is an absolute minimum requirement to assure the safety and reliability of electrical and electronic equipment. If you are concerned about Thermal Runaway -- Call Us!

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For Help or more information, call John Bass at 952/544-5377.


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Bass Associates Inc.
13533 Larkin Drive, Minnetonka, MN 55305
Phone: 952/544-

Copyright 1998 Bass Associates Inc. Last modified: June 25, 2015