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A “hairy” polymer/3D-foam hybrid for flexible high performance thermal gap filling applications in harsh environments

Loeblein, M., Jing, L., Liu, M., Cheah, J. J. W., Tsang, S. H., Teo, E. H. T.
RSC advances 2017 v.7 no.62 pp. 39292-39298
electronics, oil and gas industry, packaging materials, temperature, thermal conductivity, vibration
Thermal management in harsh environment electronics (i.e. automotive, avionics, oil and gas industry) has become a latent problem. Due to the more stringent requirements of the materials, such as higher operating temperatures, ability to operate under exposure to vibration and shock, and over larger gaps with complex paths, and increased demands in terms of reliability, the solutions adopted for consumer electronics cannot be directly translated into these applications and the current materials and approaches used are reaching their limits. Herein we present a new polymer/3D-foam composite that can fill large gaps and retain a thermal conductivity of 62–86 W m⁻¹ K⁻¹, while providing strong mechanical support with a strong restorative force (i.e. can withstand vibration). At the same time, it is demonstrated to have a superior surface conformity to usual gap fillers and is able to remain stable up to temperatures as high as 330 °C, which is ∼180 °C higher than current conventional packaging materials.