Thermal conductances of aligned structures and thin films with embedded carbon nanotubes
Doctor of Philosophy
Individual carbon nanotubes (CNTs) have superior thermal conductivity than conventional materials. The applications for CNTs range from heat sinks, thin films to thermal interface materials. However, when CNTs are grouped together in macroscopic quantities and embedded in different media their thermal conductivity changes. Therefore, it is important to determine the thermal conductance changes when CNTs are embedded in different media. In my research, CNTs were embedded in thin films and as aligned structures (fins) in water. Analytical and experimental methods were used to determine the thermal conductances of these aligned structures and thin films. The primary goals of this research were to develop novel analytical methods to determine thermal conductivity and also experimental techniques to determine effectiveness of the embedded CNTs as carriers of heat by thermal conductance evaluation. It is observed that CNTs fins are effective carriers of heat and result in up to 57% decrease in thermal resistance. In the case of CNTs embedded in thin films, it is important to consider non Fourier effects and neglecting non Fourier effects would lead to an underestimation of the thermal conductivity. In addition to the thermal conductivity value, the analysis also provides a way to determine the thermal relaxation time of thin films.