Interfaces between mechanically and thermally dissimilar materials can act as the weakest mechanical link due to differential thermal expansion, and as a bottleneck to heat transfer. Albeit metals, such as Al and Cu, are excellent heat conductors, they are also mechanically stiff and have high coefficients of thermal expansion, thus inducing thermal mismatch stresses at the interface with a heat source. On the other hand, highly compliant materials that can accommodate mismatch stresses, such as polymers and elastomers, are insulators. Because of this orthogonality in mechanical and thermal properties, the thermal conductivity versus elastic modulus materials selection chart is largely unpopulated. Filling the gaps in the landscape of multifunctional material properties requires novel concepts that are based on hybrid multiscale structures. Such novel concepts for micro and nanothermal interface materials can further benefit applications susceptible to interfacial stresses, such as Si‐based high capacity Li+ anodes, in which a 300% volume expansion of lithiated Si causes gradual delamination from the Cu electrode, and Si thin film solar cells integrated on structural elements, in which the substrate tensile strains can induce fragmentation of the brittle photovoltaic film. The competing requirements for high thermal conductivity and low mechanical stiffness are in part
Advanced Engineering Materials – Wiley
Published: Jan 1, 2018
Keywords: ; ; ; ;
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