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INTHERM Report Summary

Project ID: 639495
Funded under: H2020-EU.1.1.

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - INTHERM (Design, manufacturing and control of INterfaces in THERMally conductive polymer nanocomposites)

Reporting period: 2015-03-01 to 2016-08-31

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

INTHERM project addresses the design, manufacturing and control of interfaces in thermally conductive polymer/graphene nanocomposites. In particular, the strong reduction of thermal resistance associated to the contacts between conductive particles in a percolating network throughout the polymer matrix is targeted, to overcome the present bottleneck for heat transfer in nanocomposites.
The project includes the investigation of novel chemical modifications of nanoparticles to behave as thermal bridges between adjacent particles, advanced characterization methods for particle/particle interfaces and controlled processing methods for the preparations of nanocomposites with superior thermal conductivity.
The results of this project will contribute to the fundamental understanding of heat transfer in complex solids, while success in mastering interfacial properties would open the way to a new generation of advanced materials coupling high thermal conductivity with low density, ease of processing, toughness and corrosion resistance.

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

In the first reporting period (month 1 to month 18) selection of nanoparticles was carried out and different strategies for their functionalization were developed, through both covalent and non-covalent modifications [ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces 2016, 8, 24909−24917]. Experimental activites in nanoparticles functionalization were carried out in parallel with computational modelling to calculate thermal conductances of model functional interfaces. Meanwhile, a new method for the measurement of heat transfer on supported individual nanoparticles was developed via Scanning Thermal Microscopy. This method allowed to demonstrate experimentally for the first time the strong dependance of heat transfer properties over the nanoflakes on the structural defectiveness in graphene related materials [M. Carbon 109 (2016) 390-401]. A strong increase of thermal conductivity of nanoparticles was observed upon the high temperature annealing, leading to a reduction in structural defectiveness in the nanoflakes. Such an improved heat transfer performance was directly reflected in their polymer nanocomposites, with a two- to three-fold increase in thermal conductivity observed upon high temperature annealing of graphene related materials [Polymer 102 (2016) 292-300].

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

Research carried out in INTHERM is expected to generate impact on the thermally conductive polymer composites research field, in term of new solutions for the manufacturing of high performance (nano)composites. Several application field may benefit of the results form INTHERM, including heat exchanger for low temperature heat recovery, heat dissipators in flexible electronic devices and heat exchanger for harsh corrosive environments.
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