Nanocomposite carpets

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Industrial scale production of aligned carbon nanotube/glass composite carpets.

The invention involves a technique to modify the structural features of nanotubes, making them suitable for thermal interface materials for heat sinks, thermal/gas/electrical sensors, high performance brake pads and molecular filters. The Oxford invention uses well established and highly versatile low cost techniques with minimum modifications. It permits in-situ chemical functionalisation to tailor speciality nanocomposite materials for future technological applications. The resultant ceramic composite material is a strong uniform carpet able to transfer heat efficiently and rapidly via the aligned carbon nanotube (CNT) embedded in its structure.

Proven method

The production of aligned, multi-walled CNT/ceramic composite carpets using sol-gel processing involves:

  • an array of aligned CNT, produced by chemical vapour deposition

  • filling the interstitial spaces of the CNT with a ceramic matrix material using sol-gel processing and induced wetting of the CNTs

  • sintering the CNT ceramic matrix material to form the composite material

Technical performance

  • the alignment of CNTs is confirmed by TEM and SEM

  • raman spectrum of the sintered composites shows little change in the D/G ratio

  • all the fibre toughening mechanisms for conventional fibre reinforced ceramics are observed

  • the thermal diffusivity is measured by a laser flash technique

  • the 15 W/m K thermal conductivity of the composite is three times higher than the phase change thermal interface materials currently used

Readiness for market

The Oxford invention is the subject of an international patent application with 22 claims.

Know-how is available to support the exploitation of the invention and any subsequently produced IP in collaboration with the chosen industrial partner.

The technology readiness level is rated at TRL 3 with tested, usable-sized sheet carpet thicknesses available.

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