Density-tunable lightweight polymer composites with dual-functional ability of efficient EMI shielding and heat dissipation†
Lightweight dual-functional materials with high EMI shielding performance and thermal conductivity are of great importance in modern cutting-edge applications, such as mobile electronics, automotive, aerospace, and military. Unfortunately, a clear material solution has not emerged yet. Herein, we demonstrate a simple and effective way to fabricate lightweight metal-based polymer composites with dual-functional ability of excellent EMI shielding effectiveness and thermal conductivity using expandable polymer bead-templated Cu hollow beads. The low-density Cu hollow beads (ρ ∼ 0.44 g cm−3) were fabricated through electroless plating of Cu on the expanded polymer beads with ultralow density (ρ ∼ 0.02 g cm−3). The resulting composites that formed a continuous 3D Cu network with a very small Cu content (∼9.8 vol%) exhibited excellent EMI shielding (110.7 dB at 7 GHz) and thermal conductivity (7.0 W m−1 K−1) with isotropic features. Moreover, the densities of the composites are tunable from 1.28 to 0.59 g cm−3 in accordance with the purpose of their applications. To the best of our knowledge, the resulting composites are the best lightweight dual-functional materials with exceptionally high EMI SE and thermal conductivity performance among synthetic polymer composites.