Thermal conductivity, thermal diffusivity, and volumetric heat capacity of silicone elastomer nanocomposites: Effect of temperature and MWCNT and nano-graphite loadings

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Silicone elastomer (SiR) nanocomposites were prepared using multiwalled carbon nanotubes (MWCNT) and nano-graphite (NG). The morphology of the SiR nanocomposites has been studied using scanning electron microscopy and high-resolution transmission electron microscopy techniques. Detailed analysis of the morphology reveals a uniform distribution of the MWCNT and NG filler particles in the silicone matrix. On increasing the filler loading, a continuous network structure is formed and aggregation takes place. The effect of the MWCNT and NG loadings on the thermal properties of the silicone elastomer has been investigated. The thermal properties of the SiR nanocomposites were measured by a thermal properties analyzer based on the transient hot-wire method. Studies also suggest that incorporation of nanoparticles improves the thermal conductivity of SiR nanocomposites. The thermal conductivity of SiR nanocomposites increased from 0.200 W/(m K) to 0.440 W/(m K) and to 0.310 W/(m K) for 6 wt% MWCNT and NG loadings, respectively. Because of the positive temperature coefficient and the conductive nature of the nanoparticles, the thermal conductivity of the material increased on increasing the temperature. The thermal diffusivity and the volumetric heat capacity of the SiR nanocomposites were measured. The thermal diffusivity of the SiR nanocomposites increased from 0.1194 mm2/s to 0.3209 mm2/s and to 0.2050 mm2/s for 6 wt% MWCNT and NG loadings, respectively. This indicates that the temperature response becomes faster with MWCNT and NG loadings. The volumetric heat capacity of the silicone elastomer nanocomposites decreased from 1.80 MJ/(m3K) to 1.34 MJ/(m3K) and to 1.40 MJ/(m3K) for 6 wt% MWCNT and NG loadings, respectively. Thus, MWCNT particles are more effective in increasing the thermal conductivity and diffusivity of the SiR nanocomposites, when compared to NG fillers at any loading.

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