Nano-Sintered High Thermal Conductivity Composites

Period of Performance: 08/15/2011 - 05/14/2012


Phase 1 STTR

Recipient Firm

Creative Electron, Inc.
253 Pawnee St.
San Marcos, CA 92078
Principal Investigator
Firm POC

Research Institution

University of Kentucky
109 Kinkead Hall
Lexington, KY 40506
Institution POC


ABSTRACT: This Phase I STTR project will develop carbon fiber reinforced polymer (CFRP) material systems incorporating metallic nanoparticles with low-temperature sintering properties to render structures with very high transverse thermal conductivity. CFRPs are already used in a myriad of applications requiring high strength-to-weight ratio, but their poor transverse thermal conductivity limits their utility in a number of applications. Resin-rich interfaces through the thickness of a CFRP laminate lead to poor thermal conductivity in the z-direction. To address this issue, the proposed CFRP material systems will take advantage of the melting-point depression of metallic nanoparticles to form metallurgical connections in both the intratow (filament-to-filament) and interlaminar (tow-to-tow) regions of a CFRP at processing temperatures suitable for existing manufacturing processes. The primary objective of this project will be the demonstration of an order of magnitude improvement in transverse thermal conductivity compared to commercial CFRP systems. Laser flash diffusivity measurements and dynamic mechanical analysis will be utilized to determine the efficacy of the approach. BENEFIT: The anticipated benefits/commercial potential of this project is the development of new CFRP materials with high transverse thermal conductivity. The cured and sintered CFRP materials will be attractive for applications ranging from electronics enclosures and heat-sinks to structural components for automobiles, aircraft, and satellites.