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Thermal Management

Thermal Management Graphite for effective thermal management

Adding graphite to polymer compounds is an excellent cost-effective way to boost thermal conductivity while maintaining a good balance of mechanical performance and processability.

The use of polymers to achieve thermal conductivity offers substantial advantages compared to standard metal-based technologies in terms of:

  • Weight reduction
  • Corrosion resistance
  • Design flexibility
  • Manufacturing cost reduction

Automotive thermal management applications include headlamp heat-sinks, battery pack temperature regulation and thermal interface materials such as greases, adhesives and sealants. Thermal management is also crucial in household appliance polymers.

Polymers typically exhibit a low thermal conductivity of around 0.2W/m.K while the conductivity of metals ranges from 15W/m.K for steel and up to 400W/m.K for copper and silver.

In-plane thermal conductivity of polyamide compounds compared to steel and aluminum

Since polymers are inherently thermally insulating, conductive fillers have to be added in order to provide the required thermal conductivity.

Graphite-based fillers are known to be the most effective conductive additives for polymer applications that do not require insulation. Adding graphite to polymer compounds is an excellent cost-effective solution for boosting thermal conductivity while maintaining a good balance of mechanical performance and processability.

Specific graphite grades increase thermal conductivity in the desired direction

The different requirements of each application must be taken into consideration when selecting the additives that are used in the compound. Graphite is a flaky material characterized by anisotropic thermal conductivity. Depending on the application requirements, Imerys can specify a specific graphite to increase thermal conductivity in the desired direction.

Heat sinks require high in plane conductivity while pipe applications require high through plane conductivity

Thermal conductivity of propylene compounds loaded with two different grades of graphite. Different graphites give different anisotropy.

Timrex C-Therm for excellent thermal conductivity at lower loadings

Imerys’ Timrex C-Therm grades are high aspect ratio graphites which are suitable for both through-plane and in-plane injection-molding applications.

Timrex C-Therm:

  • Provides weight savings due to the lower loading needed to meet compound thermal conductivity requirements
  • Can be used with other fiber-reinforced materials to enhance mechanical properties

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For document downloads and enquiries about our Graphite and Carbon solutions, please visit the Imerys Graphite & Carbon website.

Plastics