Self-constructed nanostructured metallic networks enable high thermal conductivity in epoxy composites

A team of researchers directed by Prof. Theodorian Borca-Tasciuc has demonstrated that the poor thermal conductivity of epoxies can be increased by more than one hundred times. The secret was to add metallic nanoparticles that self-assemble and then sinter together into tiny wires and local networks that span over distances much larger than the original diameter of the nanoparticles.

“High thermal conductivity composites are critical for applications where thermal management plays a major role, such as thermal energy storage systems, solar power generation systems, LED housings, and packaging for the electronics industries.” said Kamyar Pashayi, PhD candidate in MANE and the first author of the research article published in the Journal of Applied Physics.

“Keeping the processing temperatures as low as possible is critical to save energy and prevent damage to sensitive components. For instance, electronic device packaging is normally performed below 200°C and our material is synthesized at only 150°C.” said Hafez Raeisi Fard, PhD student and co-author of the article.

“The small size of the nanoparticles and their chemical coating are essential in promoting the assembly process and in reducing the sintering temperature of the self-constructed nanostructured metallic network. We can now apply what we learn from this proof of concept experiment to other material systems relevant for specific applications” – said Theodorian Borca-Tasciuc.

Original Journal article:

http://scitation.aip.org/getpdf/servlet/GetPDFServlet?filetype=pdf&id=JA...

More information is available at Prof. Borca’s website:

http://nanotec.meche.rpi.edu/

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