THERMAL TRANSPORT IN POLYMERS
An introduction to polymers and their thermal conductivity is provided, with particular attention paid to recent work that has highlighted the potential to make high thermal conductivity polymers. The thermal conductivity of amorphous polymers is generally low, on the order of 0.1−1.0 W m−1 K−1; however, polymers can be inexpensive to manufacture and they are corrosion resistant and lightweight, which makes them attractive for heat transfer applications. To realize their potential, higher thermal conductivity and higher strength is needed, which can be achieved to some extent by adding fillers to a polymer matrix. A review of the strategies employed to raise the thermal conductivity of polymers is provided along with an introductory review of the physics that intrinsically allows individual polymer molecules to serve as good heat conductors.
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