Enhancement of Thermal Conductivity in Polymer Composites by Maximizing Surface-Contact Area of Polymer-Filler Interface
In this article we discuss in detail the effective approaches to enhance the thermal conductivity in polymer composites. It is shown from numerical simulations that maximizing interfacial area between filler and polymer enhances very significantly the effective thermal conductivity in composites. Our study outlines two main facts. (a) Although the nature of the filler's geometry plays an important role in the effective thermal conductivity, we show that among the different geometries thermal conductivity is high for those geometries for which the ratio of surface-area to volume is high. Thus non-spherical shaped fillers show high thermal conductivity compared to the spherical fillers. (b) For fillers of a particular geometry, by maximizing its surface area without changing the volume fraction of the metallic filler, the effective thermal conductivity increases. Thus, the interfacial area between filler and polymer plays an important role in the enhancement of thermal conductivity. Maximizing interfaces facilitates more routes for heat conduction through the metallic filler. Thus filler material can be transformed to result into more surface such that more interfaces between the filer polymer can be obtained. It is also observed that as this interfacial area increases, increase in effective thermal conductivity follows from linear to the logarithmic growth. It should be noted that to inherit the polymer properties there is a restriction on the upper bound of volume fraction of the fillers. The current study bring out an important step in this direction. Our results are technologically very important in designing composite polymers for better heat conduction, and are very cost-effective. This study also provides a connection between the bulk and the surface area in effectively determination of the thermal conductivity.