APPLIED Nanotech has introduced a passive thermal management material called CarbAl, for use in hot-running electronics.
CarbAl is a carbon-based material featuring a combination of low density, high thermal diffusivity, and low coefficient of thermal expansion.
According to Applied Nanotech, CarbAl far exceeds the capabilities of conventional thermal management materials, like copper and aluminium. It can be used to remove heat from electronics, eliminating hotspots quickly and affordable.
Applied Nanotech says CarbAl is lighter than aluminium (1.75 g/cm3 compared to 2.7 g/cm3), less expensive than copper, and is approximately three times better at diffusing heat.
Copper does have a slight edge in thermal conductivity compared to CarbAl, with 390 W/mK compared to 350 W/mK. However, CarbAl’s thermal diffusivity is approximately 2.9 cm2/sec compared to 0.84 cm2/sec for aluminium and 1.12 cm2/sec for copper.
CarbAl can be electroplated with nickel boron, gold, nickel, and copper. In addition, soldered copper or aluminium plates can be added for increased strength and stability.
According to the company, the best application of CarbAl contains a dielectric layer and full circuit trace functionality as a PCB replacement with integrated thermal management.