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High Thermal Conductivity Polymer Composites

We worked on a project funded by Intel to develop high thermal conductivity polymer based chassis materials for heat spreading. The challenge in this field is to not only demonstrate high thermal conductivity but to develop an approach that is scalable and low cost, so as to preserve the benefits of using polymers. In the end we developed a scheme for making high thermal conductivity polymer composites out of commercial polyethylene fibers that were sintered together. We also looked at making composites where we would add graphite sheets and buildup a laminated structure. The results turned out very well, and we were able to demonstrate it by making a backing for a tablet. We took infrared camera pictures of the standard backing, which was made from an amorphous polymer, and compared it to our own backing made from our composite approach. The results showed that we could keep the device up to 10 degree Celsius cooler with our composite, when operating the table under the same conditions. Unfortunately funding ran out and we haven’t been able to continue this project, but we are still looking for another opportunity to begin this work again and move the technology to the next level.