High Thermal Conductivity Insulators
Thermal Conductivity is a property of a material that indicates how easily heat travels through it. The higher the thermal conductivity, the more easily heat can be transferred. This property is important in Efficient Thermal Management in Electronics because it affects how quickly the temperature of a material can be raised or lowered. It is determined by the atoms or molecules in the material and their arrangement. Metals tend to have high thermal conductivity because they allow the electrons in them to move freely and transfer heat very quickly. Nonmetallic materials such as polymers and ceramics, on the other hand, have much lower thermal conductivity because their atoms are more rigidly organized.
When selecting materials for thermal insulation, a good way to determine the suitability of a particular product is by its thermal conductivity. This value, which is calculated as a ratio of the material's thickness to its width, provides a figure indicating how well the material will perform. A material with a low thermal conductivity will have a high R-value and will provide effective thermal insulation.
Typical thermal insulation materials are made of various types of glass, wood, wool and foam. The glass and wood products are natural insulators because they contain large volumes of air. Foam insulation contains small pockets of air that help it to perform as an insulator. It is also made of a variety of plastics that provide it with superior insulating properties.
The thermal conductivity of materials can change depending on the temperature at which they are measured, which is why it is important to know what conditions were used when determining a material's thermal conductivity. The values are based on the amount of heat needed to raise the temperature of 1 kg of a material by a given temperature (k or °C).
Conductivity also depends on the type of atoms or molecules in a particular material. Metals have high thermal conductivity because the ions in them are loosely packed, while nonmetallic materials have lower thermal conductivity because their atoms or molecules are more rigidly organized. Other factors that influence the thermal conductivity of a material include its density, surface area, porosity and chemical composition.
Some of the highest thermal conductivity materials are copper and gold. However, these metals are often expensive compared to other conductive materials such as aluminum and nickel. They also corrode under certain conditions, so they aren't suitable for many applications. Aluminum nitride is a relatively inexpensive alternative to these more costly materials. It has a lower melting point than copper and a lower corrosion rate than gold.
The thermal conductivity of a material can also be influenced by the type and concentration of impurities in the sample. This is why it is important to test a material's conductivity under the same conditions as it will be used in the final application. Other characteristics of a thermal material include its resistance to chemicals and water, as well as its strength and stiffness. Xometry manufactures a wide range of materials for thermal and electrical insulation. Our team can help you select the right material for your application. Contact us to learn more about our capabilities or request a quote today.