Traditionally, metals have been used for thermal management applications, due to their inherently high thermal conductivity. But plastics – injection moulded components or custom extruded profiles – offer many advantages over metals, including:
• Low weight
• Chemical and corrosion resistance
• Electrical insulation
• Rapid manufacturing process
• Complex geometries
• Application specific property modification
• Pigmenting potential
• Possibility to combine parts in a single operation
• Potential cost reductions
• Elimination of processing steps
Standard plastics possess very low levels of thermal conductivity and are thought of as thermal insulators, rather than conductors. So if you want to exploit the benefits of plastics in thermal management situations, then the thermal conductivity level of your standard base plastics needs to be increased.
Which is what KONDUCT does for you.
KONDUCT high thermal conductivity additives can be incorporated into a wide range of plastics, from commodity to high performance materials. They are offered as electrically insulating or conductive options, and bespoke solutions can be developed to meet your specific thermal management challenges.
One of the first factors we consider is how heat will be transferred in your application. There are three main mechanisms for heat transfer:
RADIATION… transfer away from an emitting source via electromagnetic waves.
CONVECTION… transfer between a solid surface and a surrounding fluid.
CONDUCTION… transfer via molecular collisions and requires physical contact.
Working with you to design for your specific thermal management and control requirements, our technical development team considers all these mechanisms as a whole, along with their effect on your entire system.
Thermally conductive plastics will have lower base thermal conductivity values than commonly used metals. However, when it comes to the thermal management of your application, it is important to consider your system as a whole.
For applications which do not involve forced air cooling (natural convection only), the increased thermal conductivity of a metal can lead to a bottleneck at the component surface, with the convection cooling unable to ‘keep up’. In these situations, the high base thermal conductivity is effectively wasted in the overall thermal management picture. With good design and appropriate conditions, thermally conductive plastic components – formulated with KONDUCT – have been shown to more closely match natural convection cooling, equalling the overall thermal management capabilities of an equivalent metal component. With the right optimisation, performance can even exceed that of an existing metal component.
The thermal conductivity achieved in your final material is almost entirely dependent upon the additive system, so it is vital you get the right formulation and dosage for your application. We take many factors into account:
• Particle geometry/aspect ratio
• Particle size
• Electrical conductivity
• Addition rate
So you can be sure the design and utilisation of your KONDUCT additive is optimised to delivery the properties you need.
The time lapse video below illustrates the significantly faster heat heat flow across a KONDUCT thermally conductive plastic (bottom) compared with a standard plastic (top).
It is important for you to be able to evidence the perfomance of your finished material, which is why we rigorously test and measure.
We use the laser flash method (ASTM E-1461, DIN EN 821 and DIN 30905) to accurately report thermal conductivity of planar samples in both the through-plane and in-plane orientations.
We thrive on challenges and are proud of our reputation as a company that can succeed where others have failed. Whether you have a new application or need help with an existing product, we would be delighted to hear from you.