Tom Mulholland, PhD Candidate, University of Wisconsin – Madison
Although thermoplastics have traditionally been ignored as heat transfer materials, filled thermally conductive plastics fabricated in complex geometries can serve as low-cost, geometrically complicated heat exchangers, along with other thermal applications such as heat sinks. Thermally conductive, 3D printed heat exchangers can have a significant impact on power generation technology at many scales, with advantages in allowing distributed, on-site manufacturing on multiple, independent machines, and the virtual elimination of scrap. This can command significant cost savings compared to traditional, machined metal heat exchangers. This presentation examines compounds of polyamide 6 with copper fiber and sphere fillers produced in a co-rotating twin screw extruder. The thermal conductivity is measured and related to the filler content, shape, and orientation.