Silane regulates thermal conductivity of composites on molecular level
A research team from the Institute of Solid State Physics, Hefei Institutes of Physical Science has conducted a study on thermal conductivity of composites. They found that thermal conductivity (TC) of Poly(vinyl alcohol)/boron nitride composite film could be regulated on the molecular level by covalent coupling.
TC enhancement of polymer-based packaging composites is of great significance for thermal management of electronics. Interface between fillers and polymer matrix is the bottleneck of the heat transfer in the composite material.
Covalent bonding offers permanent attachments between fillers and polymers, effectively constraining the corresponding scattering of phonons, thus decreasing interfacial thermal resistance. However, the introduced molecules wrapped on the surrounding of fillers can possibly act as thermal barriers. Thus, clarifying the effect of silane coupling agents (SCAs) on the TC of the composite is of importance.
To tackle the problem, the team systematically investigated the effect of three kinds of SCAs on TC of poly(vinyl alcohol)/functionalized boron nitride (PVA/fBN).
The results showed that SCAs molecules with short side chain, i.e. Vinyl triethoxysilane and tetraethyl orthosilicate, increased the TC of composite polymer, with maximum value of 1.636 W/m·K, which was 337.3% of that of PVA/ fBN.
In contrast, 3-glycidoxypropyltrimethoxy silane with long side chain decreased the TC to 54.4% of that of PVA/ fBN.
Integrated with atomistic simulations, it can be concluded that the number of hydrolyzable Si-O-R of SCAs molecules affectes the TC of PVA-fBN composite through controlling the self-condensation degree of SCAs. The long side chain of SCAs enhances the disorder of the vicinal molecular structure, limiting the phonon transferring.
The revealed intrinsic relationship between TC of the composite and molecular structure of SCAs would provide a new perspective to understand the covalent bonding regulated TC of the polymer/filler system.
This study will guide thermal management material design on the molecular level, further supporting the development of advanced electronics.