Polymer Engineering and Science, Vol.61, No.5, 1415-1426, 2021
Synergistic enhancement of thermal conductivity by addition of graphene nanoplatelets to three-dimensional boron nitride scaffolds for polyamide 6 composites
Three-dimensional boron nitride/graphene nanoplatelets (3D-BN-GNP) scaffolds were fabricated using an ice-templating method and polyamide 6 (PA6)-based composites were prepared by vacuum impregnation of caprolactam monomers into the scaffolds, followed by polymerization. The BN sheets in the PA6/3D-BN and PA6/3D-BN-GNP composites display a predominant parallel alignment along the ice-crystal formation constructing thermally conductive paths. The addition of few GNPs assists the dispersion of BN sheets in the PA6/3D-BN-GNP composites and repair the broken thermal paths caused by local agglomeration of the BN sheets. Consequently, GNPs play a morphology-promoted synergistic role in the enhancement of the thermal conductivity of the PA6/3D-BN-GNP composites. The PA6/3D-BN-GNP composite prepared with 23.40 wt% BN sheets and 2.60 wt% GNPs exhibits the highest thermal conductivity of 2.80 W m(-1) K-1, which is 833% and 33% higher than the values recorded for the pure PA6 and the PA6/3D-BN composite at BN loading of 26.18 wt%, respectively. Infrared imaging analysis revealed that the surface of the PA6/3D-BN-GNP composite has a fast response to heating and cooling, suggesting the potential of the composites in thermal management applications.