Date of Award


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Chemical Engineering (MS)

College, School or Department Name

Department of Chemical Engineering


Julia Ann King


Tamara R Olson


Adding conductive carbon fillers to insulating thermoplastic resins increases composite electrical and thermal conductivity. Often, as much of a single type of carbon filler is added to achieve the desired conductivity, while still allowing the material to be molded into a bipolar plate for a fuel cell. In this study, varying amounts of three different carbons (carbon black, synthetic graphite particles, and carbon fiber) were added to Vectra A950RX Liquid Crystal Polymer. The in-plane thermal conductivity of the resulting single filler composites were tested. The results showed that adding synthetic graphite particles caused the largest increase in the in-plane thermal conductivity of the composite.

The composites were modeled using ellipsoidal inclusion problems to predict the effective in-plane thermal conductivities at varying volume fractions with only physical property data of constituents. The synthetic graphite and carbon black were modeled using the average field approximation with ellipsoidal inclusions and the model showed good agreement with the experimental data. The carbon fiber polymer composite was modeled using an assemblage of coated ellipsoids and the model showed good agreement with the experimental data.