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SBIR Phase I: High thermal conductivity continuous fiber reinforced 3D printing materials

Award Information
Agency: National Science Foundation
Branch: N/A
Contract: 1940285
Agency Tracking Number: 1940285
Amount: $225,000.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Solicitation Topic Code: M
Solicitation Number: N/A
Solicitation Year: 2019
Award Year: 2020
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2020-01-01
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2020-12-31
Small Business Information
878 Peachtree Street NE Unit 414, Atlanta, GA, 30309
DUNS: 080949561
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Thomas Bougher
 (336) 391-9634
Business Contact
 Thomas Bougher
Phone: (512) 471-3170
Research Institution
The broader impact/commercial potential of this Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I project is to develop thermally conductive 3D printing materials for cooling of high-performance electronic devices. As electronic devices become more compact and energy-dense, there is a growing challenge of overheating, resulting in poor performance and device failure. This problem is particularly relevant to transportation and energy-related technologies increasingly reliant on high-performance electronic components, such as electric motors, battery packs, power electronics, and high-performance processors. This project will develop a new additive manufacturing composite material with thermal conductivity 1000x higher than standard plastics, enabling lightweight, corrosion-resistant, and high-performance heat transfer technologies. Moreover, the materials enable 3D printing on low-cost desktop Fused Deposition Modeling printers without significant hardware modifications, drastically reducing the complexity and cost of printing high performance components. By creating a transformational material for use on a broadly accepted additive manufacturing technology platforms, this project will help create a new market for advanced heat transfer technologies that can significantly increase the performance of electronic devices. This Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I project will result in the development of plastic composite materials with higher effective thermal conductivity than aluminum and the ability to be printed on low cost 3D printers. Thermally conductive plastic composites are traditionally composed of base polymer and a high content of thermally conductive filler particles, resulting in poor mechanical properties, high viscosity, high cost and processing difficulties (including inability to 3D print reliably), and a maximum thermal conductivity of ~30 W/m-K (nearly an order of magnitude lower than aluminum). Metals conduct heat well, but are heavy, expensive to manufacture into complex shapes, and can be susceptible to corrosion and fouling when interacting with fluids. This project is proposing a new composite system consisting of a core-shell structure with a core of continuous high thermal conductivity continuous fiber and a shell of a composite thermally conductive matrix. Utilizing 3D printing, this material can be printed into complex shapes to produce new heat transfer parts such as heat sinks, heat exchangers, liquid coldplates and other technologies with thermal performance exceeding metals. This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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