Applied Nanotech has unveiled the next generation of CarbAl, a passive thermal management material that could effectively replace the aluminum and copper in electronic circuits.
CarbAl is a carbon-based material with a unique combination of low density, high thermal diffusivity, and low coefficient of thermal expansion. According to Applied Nanotech, CarbAl's attributes allow it to exceed the capabilities of conventional thermal management materials, like copper and aluminum. New electroplating and surface coatings have improved its durability and functionality, making it a solution for electronics manufacturers to keep temperature under control.
"Major electronic companies are looking for ways to eliminate heat while also reducing weight and cost," said David Jiang, Ph.D., Director of the Thermal Management Division at Applied Nanotech. "CarbAl sets a new standard for removing heat and eliminating hotspots quickly and affordably. It is lighter than aluminum, more affordable than copper, and is approximately three times better at diffusing heat."
CarbAl is lighter weight and has increased thermal performance compared to competing materials. CarbAl has a density of 1.75 g/cm3 compared to 2.7 g/cm3 for aluminum and 8.9 g/cm3 for copper. While copper has a slightly higher thermal conductivity than CarbAl, 390 W/mK compared to 350 W/mK, CarbAl's thermal diffusivity is approximately 2.9 cm2/sec compared to 0.84 cm2/sec for aluminum and 1.12 cm2/sec for copper. Additionally, CarbAl has a superior CTE and is cost competitive.
Applied Nanotech has incorporated functional surface coatings such as metal plating and dielectric layers into its next generation CarbAl, and can now be electroplated with nickel boron, gold, nickel, and copper. In addition, soldered copper or aluminum plates can be added for increased strength and stability. The ultimate example of CarbAl contains a dielectric layer and full circuit trace functionality as a PCB replacement with integrated thermal management.