Browsing all articles tagged with polymer Archives | nanotechnologies.qc.ca
Mar
12

A polymer material that could dissipate heat

Most polymers — materials made of long, chain-like molecules — are very good insulators for both heat and electricity. But an MIT team has found a way to transform the most widely used polymer, polyethylene, into a material that conducts heat just as well as most metals, yet remains an electrical insulator.

thermoconductive polymer

The illustration to the left displays the tangled nature of the polymer filaments, with heat-stopping voids indicated as dark blobs. When drawn and heated into a thin thread (illustration to the right), the molecules line up and the voids are compressed, making the material a good conductor (illustrations courtesy of Gang Chen).

The new process causes the polymer to conduct heat very efficiently in just one direction, unlike metals, which conduct equally well in all directions. This may make the new material especially useful for applications where it is important to draw heat away from an object, such as a computer processor chip. The work is described in a paper published in Nature Nanotechnology.

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