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Preparation of Highly Thermally Conductive Polymer Composite at Low Filler Content via a Self-Assembly Process between Polystyrene Microspheres and Boron Nitride Nanosheets

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journal contribution
posted on 23.05.2017, 00:00 by Xiongwei Wang, Peiyi Wu
Rational distribution and orientation of boron nitride nanosheets (BNNSs) are very significant for a polymer/BNNS composite to obtain a high thermal conductivity at low filler content. In this paper, a high-performance thermal interface material based on exfoliated BNNSs and polystyrene (PS) microspheres was fabricated by latex blending and subsequent compression molding. In this case, BNNSs and PS microspheres first self-assembled to form the complex microspheres via strong electrostatic interactions between them. The as-prepared complex microspheres were further hot-pressed around the glass transition temperature, which brought the selective distribution of BNNSs at the interface of the deformed PS microspheres. As a consequence, a polymer composite with homogeneous dispersion and high in-plane orientation of BNNSs in PS matrix was obtained. Benefitted from this unique structure, the resultant composite exhibits a significant thermal conductivity enhancement of 8.0 W m–1 K–1 at a low filler content of 13.4 vol %. This facile method provides a new strategy to design and fabricate highly thermally conductive composites.