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Improved materials and processes enable nanodiamond cost reductions

14th July 2014

Posted By Paul Boughton

Nanodiamond enhanced polymeric heat sinks for LEDs

Carbodeon, the producer of functionalised nanodiamond materials, can now achieve a 20% increase in polymer thermal performance by using as little as 0.03 wt.% nanodiamond material at 45% thermal filler loading, enabling increased performance at a lower cost than with traditional fillers.

Last October, Carbodeon published its data on thermal fillers showing that the conductivity of polyamide 66 (PA66) based thermal compound could be increased by 25% by replacing 0.1 wt.% of the typically maximum effective level of boron nitride filler (45 wt.%) with the company’s application fine-tuned nanodiamond material. The latest refinements in nanodiamond materials and compound manufacturing allow similar level performance improvements but with 70% less nanodiamond consumption and thus, greatly reduced cost.

The samples were manufactured at the VTT Technical Research Centre in Finland and their thermal performance was analysed by ESK (3M) in Germany.

“The performance improvements achieved are derived from the extremely high thermal conductivity of diamond, our ability to optimise the nanodiamond filler affinity to applied polymers and other thermal fillers and finally, Carbodeon’s improvements in nanodiamond filler agglomeration control,” said Carbodeon CTO Vesa Myllymäki. “With the ability to control all these parameters, the nanotechnology key paradigm of ‘less gives more’ can truly be realised.”

The active surface chemistry inherent in detonation-synthesised nanodiamonds has historically presented difficulties in utilising the potential benefits of the 4-6nm particles, making them prone to agglomeration.  Carbodeon optimises this surface chemistry so that the particles are driven to disperse and to become consistently integrated throughout parent materials, especially polymers.  The much-promised properties of diamond can thus be imparted to other materials with very low, and hence economic, concentrations.

For more demanding requirements, conductivity increases of as much as 100 percent can be achieved using 1.5% nanodiamond materials at 20 percent thermal filler loadings.

“This increase in thermal conductivity is achieved without affecting the electrical insulation or other mechanical properties of the material and with no or very low tool wear, making it an ideal choice for a wide range of electronics and LED applications,” said Vesa Myllymäki.

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