Graphene nanoplatelet-silica hybrid epoxy composites as electrical insulation with enhanced thermal conductivity
Journal article, 2018
The efficient management of heat is a key issue when considering the performance of electrical devices. To reduce the probability of their failure an effective heat dissipation should be ensured. The thermal conductivity of pure epoxy is low and can be improved through the addition of fillers. Graphene has been considered as an adequate filler, due to its excellent thermal conductivity. However, graphene-based composites also show a high electrical conductivity, which limits their application as an electrical insulation considerably. The presented work shows that it is possible to enhance thermal conductivity through the incorporation of a new class of hybrid filler, namely a masterbatch of graphene nanoplatelets (GNPs) and a standard filler like silica. This unique structural design combines the advantages of both, GNPs and silica powder, resulting in composites that not only show high thermal conductivity, but also preserve electrical insulation functionality. A modified processing method leads to the improvement of thermal conductivity. GNPs-silica hybrid epoxy composites with only 2 wt% of GNPs reached 1.54 W/mK, whereas the volume resistivity remained at the level of 1015 Ω cm. The unique scientific aspect, namely temperature dependence of thermal conductivity, was studied. The presented novel hybrid composites show great potential in applications requiring electrical insulation with enhanced thermal conductivity in high voltage devices. POLYM. COMPOS., 39:E1682–E1691, 2018.