2022 journal article

Microporous vertically aligned CNT nanocomposites with tunable properties for use in flexible heat sinks


author keywords: Vertically aligned carbon nanotube; Nanocomposite; Microporous structure; Flexible heat sink; Thermal management
UN Sustainable Development Goal Categories
7. Affordable and Clean Energy (OpenAlex)
Source: Web Of Science
Added: November 7, 2022

Effective thermal management of electronic systems depends on the heat transfer efficiency or the heat dissipation capability and the thermal conductivity of heat sink components, which has a critical impact on the performance of the devices. The rapidly growing field of microelectronics creates an enormous need for next-generation flexible, lightweight heat sinks. In this work, flexible, microporous nanocomposites are fabricated utilizing a unique yet easily tunable processing method, targeting heat-sink applications. The highly porous and low-density nanohybrid structures were fabricated in a unique processing technique using conformally pyrolytic carbon (PyC) coated vertically aligned carbon nanotube (VACNT) arrays and polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) infiltration. Simply by varying the concentration of the PDMS in the VACNT structure, the microporosity can be tuned from 50% to 93%, and at the same time, the density of the structure varies from 0.11 g/cm3 to 0.51 g/cm3. The through-thickness thermal conductivity of the VACNT – PDMS nanocomposites did not vary substantially with increasing PDMS concentration, and the highest performance samples exhibited 14.1 W/mK thermal conductivity. The highly flexible nanocomposite structure also showed excellent mechanical resiliency and exhibited complete recovery from 80% compressive strain. The final heat-sink structure with fins was fabricated by a controlled laser etching technique. Analysis of the flexible VACNT array heat sink showed a significant ∼27% reduction in thermal resistance with an air velocity of 1.5 m/s and about ∼40% improvement in the output performance of a thermoelectric generator (TEG) on which it was mounted. The high thermal conductivity of VACNTs and the large surface area provided by the microporous structure, as well as the laser-etched fins, all together contributed to better thermal management performance.