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I am just curious, what is the dark, almost black material that seems like all microchips are made out of? I did some searching on Google to try and find out, but I can only seem to find the material inside the chip, silicon, which I already knew. I am fairly certain the WHOLE chip isn't made out of silicon anyway.

Thanks!

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  • \$\begingroup\$ What is the part number on the chip? The package material is often encoded into the part number. \$\endgroup\$ – Mark Booth Mar 28 '12 at 16:34
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The black part of a chip is simply a plastic epoxy resin.

Inside an IC

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I can see it being plastic for a good number of chips. But sometimes it feels more metallic in nature. I say this, because it is cold to the touch, feels colder than room temperature. Maybe this one I am holding is the ceramic type? \$\endgroup\$ – renosis Mar 28 '12 at 12:10
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    \$\begingroup\$ Possibly, but the plastic is fairly thermally conductive, and contains some metal too. Can you post a photo of it? \$\endgroup\$ – Rocketmagnet Mar 28 '12 at 12:17
  • \$\begingroup\$ Rocketmagnet, it is at home right now, I can when I get off work. I believe it said Agere AC97 on it. It was from an old modem. I had just gotten a hot-air rework station and I was messing around with it, removing random components from old junk hardware. Here is a link to a picture of the modem \$\endgroup\$ – renosis Mar 28 '12 at 12:35
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    \$\begingroup\$ The picture you used has a 'bug': 100 mils = 2.54 mm. You can spot that a mile away (=6.336*10^7 mils) \$\endgroup\$ – m.Alin May 31 '12 at 17:12
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    \$\begingroup\$ @m.Alin - Haha. Yes, well spotted. Let me see if I can fix that. \$\endgroup\$ – Rocketmagnet Jun 1 '12 at 8:57
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It is a moulded epoxy resin. Interestingly, nearly all the worlds supply comes from only two plants. Specifically, it is o-cresol-formaldehyde novolac epoxy (CNE) according to this paper.

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It's an epoxy resin. Early chips had ceramic packages, but they were expensive, and soon replaced by epoxy. Ceramic packaging is still used for high-reliability devices.

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Plastic/epoxy or ceramic.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Integrated_circuit_packaging

http://www.electroiq.com/articles/ap/print/volume-14/issue-8/features/the-back-end-process/materials-and-methods-for-ic-package-assemblies.html

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  • \$\begingroup\$ What's funny is that the Wikipedia page actually shows a picture of a metal can IC, but doesn't mention anywhere that some IC are canned in metal. \$\endgroup\$ – Rocketmagnet Mar 28 '12 at 12:15
  • \$\begingroup\$ They use ceramic, as well. \$\endgroup\$ – Leon Heller Mar 28 '12 at 14:24
  • \$\begingroup\$ Wikipedia is also wrong calling COB "rare"; it's quite often used for packaging low cost/high volume devices. \$\endgroup\$ – stevenvh Mar 29 '12 at 7:40

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