The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II project will further develop and demonstrate an innovative class of composite ultra-high thermal conductivity materials for solid state electronics thermal management applications. There exists a growing need for high thermal conductivity materials that exhibit greatly increased isotropic thermal conductivity and lower density compared to existing thermal conductivity materials and composites. Materials with these characteristics do not presently exist, but are enabling for many other future applications. Under the Phase II effort, the P2SI Team will develop these materials and characterize the fundamental structure-property-processing relationships to enable manufacturing scale-up and commercialization.
The P2SI concept is for an "Engineered Material" where the processing behavior and the resulting macroscopic performance (thermal conductivity) is a unique function of the composite architecture. Building the proposed ultra-high isotropic thermal conductivity materials from a multi-scale constituent level represents a leap in technology that was first developed from the fundamental level and validated in the Phase I program. The impacts of this research are twofold: providing a foundation for a new technology in materials science research; and utilizing these fundamental findings to develop and engineer enabling materials to meet growing needs in industry for thermal management applications.
This SBIR Phase II project was focused on the development of an isotropic high thermal conductivity electrically insulating material with manufacturing versatility to yield net shape parts. Ultimately the material system developed was a high temperature polyimide hybrid matrix resin system for molding or as a prepreg material form that was suitable for laminating with polyimide matrix structural composites for aerospace applications. The following key research accomplishments in the Phase II/IIB project were achieved and enabled the successful commercialization of the polyimide hybrid composite material form: Composition-Property modeling established for multi-constituent hybrid composite materials using DOE and statistical analysis enabling optimization of the material system for best balance of processing and performance characteristics. Development of processing methodologies that enabled high volume fraction hybrid composites to be processed using conventional roll coating equipment. The Phase II/IIB SBIR project has resulted in the successful commercialization of a high temperature hybrid composite thermal management dielectric material. Development of composition-processing-property data and relationships has resulted in a material with high isotropic thermal conductivity, very good processing characteristics and high mechanical integrity at use temperatures greater than 300°C. The market entry for the product has been the aerospace industry but there are clearly applications for thermal management in high temperature power electronics that will benefit from the electrical insulation characteristics as well as the processing and use temperature of the hybrid composite materials.