Graphite heat transfer material has ‘close to diamond’ thermal conductivity

May 31, 2016 // By Graham Prophet
Graphite heat transfer material has ‘close to diamond’ thermal conductivity
At the PCIM exhibition earlier in May 2016, Panasonic (Panasonic Automotive and Industrial Systems) was demonstrating its range of high-thermal-conductivity thermal interface materials, that it calls LDPGS – Low Density Pyrolytic Graphite Sheet.

This is, as the name suggests, a thin (available in several thicknesses) graphite sheet that you would use as a heat-conducting medium to remove heat from critical components. Representing one more manifestation of the varied properties of carbon this material has a heat conductivity that Panasonic says is five times better than copper, and “approaches” that of diamond. The specified value for its conductivity is up to 1950 W/m K, and the principal manufactured thickness of the 2D carbon matrix is 200 µm (0.2 mm). The material is also compressible.

Despite being formed of graphite, the sheet material handles cleanly, and is an obvious replacement for thermal grease or other intermediary material between a component and a heatsink or a cold-wall mounting. Less obviously, its thermal conductivity is available laterally – you might also use it to conduct heat “sideways” from a heat source; or to even out heat distribution from a hot-spot over a wider area. It is stable in use, and does not suffer any loss of conductivity such as may occur when a grease ‘dries out’; it comes in non-adhesive and self-adhesive forms.

Panasonic has had success in selling the material into the mobile/smart-phone sector, where its minimal thickness has been a key attraction. The company supplies the material as pre-cut forms according to drawings supplied by the user, or in standard sheet sizes. Through its flexibility and ability to be cut in any shape, it allows, Panasonic says, solutions for thermal management challenges where space and weight restrictions are critical and conventional solutions like grease are not feasible.

Panasonic Automotive & Industrial Systems Europe;

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