Influence of filler type and content on thermal conductivity and mechanical properties of thermoplastic compounds

Nina Wolfsgruber, Andreas Tanda, Vasiliki Maria Archodoulaki, Christoph Burgstaller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Combining thermal conductivity with electrical isolation is a very interesting topic for electronic applications in order to transfer the generated heat. Typical approaches combine thermally conductive fillers with a thermoplastic matrix. The aim of this work was to investigate the influence of different fillers and matrices on the thermal conductivity of the polymer matrix composites. In this study, various inorganic fillers, including aluminum oxide (Al2O3), zinc oxide (ZnO), and boron nitride (BN) with different shapes and sizes, were used in matrix polymers, such as polyamide 6 (PA6), polypropylene (PP), polycarbonate (PC), thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU), and polysulfone (PSU), to produce thermally conductive polymer matrix composites by compounding and injection molding. Using simple mathematical models (e.g., Agari model, Lewis–Nielson model), a first attempt was made to predict thermal conductivity from constituent properties. The materials were characterized by tensile testing, density measurement, and thermal conductivity measurement. Contact angle measurements and the calculated surface energy can be used to evaluate the wetting behavior, which correlates directly with the elastic modulus. Based on the aforementioned evaluations, we found that besides the volume fraction, the particle shape in combination with the intrinsic thermal conductivity of the filler has the greatest influence on the thermal conductivity of the composite.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1094-1105
Number of pages12
JournalPolymer Engineering and Science
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2023


  • Agari model
  • boron nitride
  • Lewis–Nielson model
  • thermal analysis
  • thermal conductivity
  • thermal properties


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