Synthesis of Thermal Interface Materials Made of Metal Decorated Carbon Nanotubes and Polymers
Okoth, Marion Odul
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This thesis describes the synthesis of a low modulus, thermally conductive thermal interface materials (TIM) using metal decorated nanotubes as fillers. TIMs are very important in electronics because they act as a thermally-conductive medium for thermal transfer between the interface of a heat sink and an electronic package. The performance of an electronic package decreases with increasing operating temperature, hence, there exists a need to create a TIM which has high thermal conduction to reduce the operating temperature. The TIM in this study is made from metal decorated multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWCNT) and Vinnapas?BP 600 polymer. The sample was functionalized using mild oxidative treatment with nitric acid (HNO3) or, with N-Methly-2-Pyrrolidone (NMP). The metals used for this experiment were copper (Cu), tin (Sn), and nickel (Ni). The metal nanoparticles were seeded using functionalized MWCNTs as templates. Once seeded, the nanotubes and polymer composites were made with or without sodium dodecylbenzene sulfonate (SDBS), as a surfactant. Thermal conductivity (k) measurement was carried out using ASTM D-5470 method at room temperature. This setup best models the working conditions of a TIM. The TIM samples made for this study showed promise in their ability to have significant increase in thermal conduction while retaining the polymer?s mechanical properties. The highest k value that was obtained was 0.72 W/m-K for a well dispersed aligned 5 wt percent Ni@MWCNT sample. The Cu samples underperformed both Ni and Sn samples for the same synthesis conditions. This is because Cu nanoparticles were significantly larger than those of Ni and Sn. They were large enough to cause alloy scattering and too large to attach to the nanotubes. Addition of thermally-conductive fillers, such as exfoliated graphite, did not yield better k results as it sunk to the bottom during drying. The use of SDBS greatly increased the k values of the sample by reducing agglomeration. Increasing the amount of metal@MWCNT wt percent in the sample had negative or no effect to the k values. Shear testing on the sample shows it adheres well to the surface when pressure is applied, yet it can be removed with ease.