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John O | February 2015

One Millimeter Thick Thermal Groundplane Made of Polymer Gives 100x Greater Thermal Conductivity Than Copper


Kelvin Thermal Technologies and the University of Colorado have executed an exclusive license agreement that will allow the company to develop and market thermal management technologies that could enable the development of ultra-thin and flexible smartphones, wearable electronics and other commercial and military systems. The new technology is a one millimeter thick polymer ground plane encased in a nano-scale wicking structure in which distilled water is alternately vaporized and condensed, as in a more conventional heat pipe, to remove heat from a laser diode, microprocessor, or transceiver. The polymer will be coated with alumina through atomic layer deposition to provide a vapor barrier, which will maintain the water for long-time operation.

 

The technology is impressive for what it will be used for, that is, effective thermal management of large surface areas of electronics.  Think about laying a sheet of this material over a laptop computer PCB, tablet, a weapons system or EW system in a fighter jet or other device with quad core CPU's and you get a sense for what this might do. 

 

The lead story in all this is not so much that Kelvin is commercializing it, as much as DARPA funded it, to the tune of $3.95M dollars to do the research.   As with other recent breakthroughs in thermal management, the University of Colorado team that is doing the research is composed of mechanical and chemical engineers.

coolingZONE readers can get the full scoop at these links:

* CU-Boulder Technology for for thinner electriconics commercialized by Kelvin Thermal of Boulder.

* Novel Thermal Groundplane to Improve Cooling in Electronic Devices

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