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The objective of this study was to determine whether fiber type, fiber angle, and filler material affected the in-plane thermal conductivity of thin (7-15 mils thickness) carbon fiber composites. Two sets of samples were tested: low thermal conductivity samples made with polyacrylonitrile-based fibers (k = 6.8 W/m K) in Fiberglast epoxy resin, and high thermal conductivity samples fabricated with coal-pitch-based fibers (k = 620 W/m K) in cyanate ester resin. Samples were fabricated from 0/90 woven cloths and warped to obtain a range of fiber-pattern angles from 25/ -25 to 65/ -65. The filler effect on thermal conductivity was evaluated on additional samples prepared with 10% volume fraction of graphite powder in the matrix. Thermal conductivity of the low thermal conductivity samples was in the range of 15-20 W/m K and showed up to a 15% improvement when the angle of the fibers was varied. High thermal conductivity samples showed thermal conductivities between 60 and 150 W/m K, with an improvement up to 60% when the angle of the fibers relative to the heat flux direction was changed from 0/90 to 25/ -25. The samples with graphite powder did not show any enhancement in thermal performance. As potential alternatives, unidirectional tape and eGraf's Spreadershield foils were also tested, showing good thermal performance.
Journal of Thermophysics and Heat Transfer
author list (cited authors)
Silva, C. A., Marotta, E. E., Schuller, M., Peel, L., & O'Neill, M.