Enhanced thermal conductivity of epoxy composites filled with tetrapod-shaped ZnO†
Epoxy composites with ZnO powders characterized by different structures as inclusion are prepared and their thermal properties are studied. The experimental results demonstrate that the epoxy resins filled by tetrapod-shaped ZnO (T-ZnO) whiskers have the superior thermal transport property in comparison to ZnO micron particles (ZnO MPs). The thermal conductivity of ZnO/epoxy and T-ZnO/epoxy composites in different mass fraction (10, 20, 30, 40, 50 wt%) are respectively investigated and the suitable models are compared to explain the enhancement effect of thermal conductivity. The thermal conductivity of T-ZnO/epoxy composites with 50 wt% filler reaches 4.38 W m−1 K−1, approximately 1816% enhancement as compared to neat epoxy. In contrast, the same mass fraction of ZnO MPs are incorporated into epoxy matrix showed less improvement on thermal conduction properties. This is because T-ZnO whiskers act as a thermal conductance bridge in the epoxy matrix. In addition, the other thermal properties of T-ZnO/epoxy composites are also improved. Furthermore, the T-ZnO/epoxy composite also presents a much reduced coefficient of thermal expansion (∼28.1 ppm K−1) and increased glass transition temperature (215.7 °C). This strategy meets the requirement for the rapid development of advanced electronic packaging.