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Improved heat dissipation for carbon fibre composites

Potential applications in advanced mobility, mobile electronic devices and wearables.

20th May 2021

Innovation in Textiles
 |  Tokyo


Toray Industries has developed a high thermal conductivity technology that lifts the heat-dissipating properties of carbon fibre-reinforced plastic (CFRP) to that of metals.

There is a real need to boost the heat dissipation of CFRP as a structural material in advanced mobility services to prevent batteries from deteriorating because of heat building up during charging, the company explains.

CFRP is less thermally conductive than aluminium alloys and other metals and this has prompted efforts to enhance heat dissipation by employing external or internal graphite sheets. These sheets, however, can easily fracture, scatter or get damaged.

Over the years, Toray has used proprietary technology to develop and apply highly rigid porous CFRP forming three-dimensional networks with short carbon fibres.

In this latest development, the company created a heat-conductive layer employing a porous CFRP support that safeguards the graphite sheets. Laminating a CFRP prepreg onto the thermally conductive layer enabled the company to attain a thermal conductivity above that of metals, which would be impossible with regular CFRP, without compromising the mechanical properties and quality of the material.

Prepregs are sheet-like intermediate materials made by impregnating fibres with resins commonly used in aircraft fuselages, main and tail wings, and other primary structural components, as well as golf club shafts, fishing rods, tennis racket frames and other sports equipment.

Toray has made it possible to determine the thickness and lamination positions of the graphite sheets forming the thermal conduction paths enabling flexible thermal management designs.

The company anticipates that CFRP applications employing the technology will include advanced mobility, mobile electronic devices, and wearables demanding lightness and heat dissipation.

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