Thermal conductivity models for carbon/liquid crystal polymer composites

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Thermally conductive resins are needed for bipolar plates in fuel cells. Currently, the materials used for these bipolar plates often contain a single type of graphite in a thermosetting resin. In this study, varying amounts of four different types of polyacrylonitrile carbon fillers (Ketjenblack carbon black, Thermocarb synthetic graphite, Fortafil 243 carbon fiber, and Panex 30 carbon fiber) were added to a thermoplastic matrix (Vectra A950RX Liquid Crystal Polymer), with the resulting resins tested for through-plane and inplane thermal conductivity. There are two unique contributions of this work. The first contribution is the use of the Nielsen model for the through-plane thermal conductivity as a function of the single filler volume fraction. The model fits the data for all composites well. The second contribution is the development of a new, accurate, empirical model to predict the in-plane thermal conductivity for all resins containing synthetic graphite or carbon fiber. Both of these models will form the basis for the development of new thermal conductivity models for composites with multiple fillers for fuel cell bipolar plate applications. © 2007 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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Journal of Applied Polymer Science