Thermally Conductive, Carbon Foam Material for Constructing Silicon-Based Tracking Detectors
The next generation of silicon-based detectors for tracking charged-particles in high energy physics experiments must meet demanding requirements to limit material and stability, often in the presence of substantial heat loads and high radiation fields. In particular, a continuing advancement is needed in carbon-based composite material technology to minimize support-structure mass without sacrificing detector stability. This project involves a new design approach at the innermost detector layers, using specially-processed carbon foam for mounting and supporting pixels. The resulting thermally-enhanced, very-low-density carbon foam material will be ideally suited for transporting pixel electronic heat to an embedded cooling tube. In Phase I, test articles with a 600 fold increase in thermal conductivity over virgin foam will be produced, and cooling tests at the Large Hadron Collider will be conducted. In Phase II, further carbon enhancements will involve the addition of carbon nano-tubes to the foam structure. Commercial Applications and other Benefits as described by the awardee: The new carbon foam should have applicability to high-temperature heat exchangers for military and commercial aircraft, replacing Inconel and Hastelloy X fins. In addition, the carbon foam should serve as a replacement for honeycomb core materials in physics detectors where a lightweight thermally-conductive material is needed.
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