There is a growing demand for thermal management of components, devices and systems in established and emerging areas such as electronics, LED lighting and battery technology/e-powertrain. Metals are traditionally utilised here for applications such as heat sinks, housings and covers, but there are drawbacks and limitations to their use and alternative materials offering new design advantages are increasingly sought after.
Thermally conductive plastics for moulding/extrusion are a potential candidate which, if designed and utilised correctly, can operate successfully in this arena, offering comparative or enhanced thermal performance as well as many other traditional advantages of plastics.
Polymers are typically classed as electrically insulating materials and are often used for insulation applications in electrical devices. However, there are many applications which call for the traditional benefits of polymers over, for example, metals (low weight, no corrosion etc) whilst also requiring specific levels of electrical conductivity.
There are several methods available to impart varying degrees of electrical conductivity to polymers, depending upon the specific requirements of the application.