Development and Fabrication of Thermally Conductive Polymer Matrix Composite Foams
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Advancements in the electronics industry have led to miniaturized components with increased computing power, which resulted in serious heat management issue. Under such technological trend, the development of new multifunctional packaging materials with excellent thermal conductivity and electrical resistivity, which can be used for heat dissipation, is becoming increasingly important. A recent research revealed the possibility of using foaming-induced filler alignment to promote the effective thermal conductivity (keff). In this context, this thesis research aims to develop thermally conductive polymer matrix composite (PMC) foams that can provide a solution to the heat management of new electronic devices. First, an analytical model was constructed to confirm the feasibility of foaming-induced keff enhancement. This model considered filler alignment caused by foaming-induced stress field, and calculated the keff using the concept of thermal resistor network. Second, a comprehensive experimental study was conducted to parametrically reveal the dependency of PMCs keff on foam morphological parameters, including filler size, foam expansion ratio, cell size, and cell population density. Low density polyethylene (LDPE)-hexagonal boron nitride (hBN) composites blown by Expancel microspheres were studied as a case example to prove the concept.