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Thermal Conductivities of Some Polymers and Composites

  • Magazine Article
  • 19AERP08_09
Published 2019-08-01by SAE International in United States
Language:
  • English

Assessing the performance of polymers used in structural armor and filament winding applications.

Army Research Laboratory, Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland

Thermoset polymers are good electrical insulators that are used in applications ranging from electronics to composite armor. They are rather poor thermal conductors, however.

For encapsulation of electronic components and devices, there is a huge amount of literature on filled polymers, particularly epoxies. One source provides a recent review of thermal conductivity (Kt) of filled polymers with emphasis on carbon nanotube loading. As an example of a low Kt polymer, a Kt of 0.3 watts per meter per degree kelvin (W/MK) for unfilled polyurethane from an unidentified source has been cited, with higher values for filled resin. Measurements have also been reported on particle-filled polypropylene with a neat resin Kt of 0.27 W/MK. These thermal conductivities are higher than those of most epoxies, and much lower than those of metals and crystalline ceramics.