Volume 10, Number 4 October 4, 2002

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Research could improve fluid dispensing for electronic devices

By Elizabeth Frogley

A chance meeting with a University of Saskatchewan professor convinced Xiongbiao Chen to travel from China to attend graduate school at the U of S.

Xiongbiao Chen

Xiongbiao Chen

Chen, who did his undergraduate and master's studies in China, chose the U of S after hearing about the school from a U of S professor, who later became one of Chen's co-supervisors. With his encouragement, Chen decided to make the move to Saskatchewan.

"Through almost four years here, I found U of S a wonderful place for study and research. The professors here are really helpful and supportive, and students are friendly and sociable," Chen says.

Chen recently completed his PhD in Mechanical Engineering. His thesis was on fluid dispensing for electronics packaging. Fluid dispensing is used in nearly all electronic devices to deliver fluid materials to electronic boards or workpieces where they act as conductors. For example, fluid dispensing is used in the conductors of the motherboards of computers.

Chen researched ways to better control fluid dispensing, and methods for creating models of the electronics system to find out how a proposed fluid dispensing mechanism would work.

"One fundamental requirement of fluid dispensing processes is how to maintain consistency in all aspects of performance, such as the amount of fluid dispensed or the profile of fluid formed on boards or workpieces," Chen says.

Chen says he chose to study fluid dispensing because there is a lot of room for improvement in current fluid dispensing systems.

"For industrial feedback, it is understood that there is still a lot to be desired for achieving the performance consistency," he says.

"Also, from the academic point of view, fluid dispensing is in an interdisciplinary area, involving many subjects. So modelling and control of fluid dispensing have proven to be challenging tasks."

But Chen rose to the challenge, and succeeded in developing models to represent the performance of fluid dispensing processes and control methods to improve the performance of fluid dispensing processes. Both of these discoveries will be helpful to future researchers studying fluid dispensing.

"The models and control methods developed in my study have been verified experimentally as very effective and promising," he says.

So far, part of Chen's research results have been published in two journals and presented at several conferences. His findings have drawn a great deal of attention from the electronics industry, where manufacturers hope to apply the research to their products.

Chen recently received an NSERC (Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council) post-doctoral fellowship to continue his research on fluid dispensing at Queen's University.

For more information, contact communications.office@usask.ca

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