Measuring the Thermal Conductivity of Nanomaterials
Nanomaterials offer unique electrical properties, extraordinary strength and great efficiency in heat conduction. Application areas for nanomaterials include electronics, optics, medicine and architecture – offering tremendous potential for ground-breaking discovery. The effective thermal conductivity is often considered a critical performance attribute of the material.
Trident Instrument with MTPS
The Modified Transient Plane Source (MTPS) method developed by C-Therm provides the optimal choice for researchers in characterization the thermal conductivity of nanomaterials. Such materials are expensive and time-consuming to produce in the development phase. With the MTPS’ 18mm sensor, researchers are not required to produce the larger volumes of sample material typical for traditional methods. Additionally, the method’s simplicity allows researchers to quickly and easily characterize their samples. There is no need for regression analysis. The single-sided method additionally enables for the thermal mapping of the samples performance in better understanding of the dispersion of nanomaterials in the polymer matrices.
Haydale Composites Solutions Ltd.
The C-Therm TCi has been a key piece of testing equipment at Haydale, providing fast and accurate thermal conductivity measurements for our product development of nanocomposites. Having this capability has allowed a better understanding of the dispersion of nanomaterials in polymer matrices through thermal mapping sample surfaces. The support and customer service from C-Therm has been excellent over the years, we look forward to dealing with them again in the near future.”
Stuart Sykes, Haydale Composites Solutions Ltd. (Sector: Nanocomposites)
Dispersion and Thermal Conductivity of Carbon Nanotube Composites
Recent work, performed by Florida State University and Texas Tech University, leveraged the TCi’s capabilities to help investigate different methods used to shorten carbon nanotubes (CNTs) for improved dispersion with maintained thermal conductivity. Single walled CNT’s were mechanically cut to produce short and open-ended fullerene pipes. A seprate sample set was then acid-oxidized to shorten the CNTs.
Shortened nanotubes were found to improve dispersion into polymer matrices, and resulting in higher thermal conductivity.
Mechanically chopped CNTs performed significantly better than acid oxidized samples, which resulted in degraded CNTs and an overall lower thermal conductivity of the resin composite.
Hybrid nanocellulose/carbon nanotube/natural rubber nanocomposites with a continuous three-dimensional conductive network
Abstract from original publication: In this study, the hybrid effect of nanocellulose/carbon nanotube (NCC/CNT) reinforcement on natural rubber (NR) nanocomposites was investigated. To this end, three series of NR nanocomposites were prepared: NCC/NR, CNT/NR and NCC/CNT/NR. First, the nanocomposites morphology and the filler–rubber interactions were studied using scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and the swelling behavior in toluene, respectively. The results showed that the presence of NCC improved the NCC/CNT hybrid filler dispersion forming a 3D network, while the presence of CNT increased the filler–matrix interaction. The curing results also confirmed that the degree of crosslinking increased when hybrid fillers were used, but the curing time was not modified. In addition, it was observed that using a NCC/CNT hybrid system led to superior mechanical properties, dynamic mechanical properties and thermal conductivity than each material used separately. When 10 phr hybrid filler (with a filler ratio of 1) was added to NR, the tensile strength, modulus at 300% elongation (M300), storage modulus at 10% strain and thermal conductivity were all increased by 57%, 137%, 120%, and 30%, respectively. The results also showed that the NR nanocomposites properties can be controlled by tuning the NCC/CNT filler ratio. 
Thermal conductivity, heat diffusivity, and heat capacity of the nanocomposites were determined using a C-ThermTCi thermal conductivity analyzer. The samples were pre-pared in cylinders of 25.4 mm in diameter and 12.5 mm in thickness. Thermal conductivity measurements were performed at least five times for each compound to report average values.