Rapid thermoforming ceramics are expected to be used in electronic products

Published Date: 2022-10-12 14:50:44 Views: 264

Rapid thermoforming ceramics are expected to be used in electronic products, with high heat dissipation efficiency and thinner and lighter than metals

Researchers at Northeastern University have developed an all-ceramic material that can be die-cast into complex parts, according to a paper recently published in the journal Advanced Materials. The industry breakthrough could transform the design and manufacture of heat-dissipating electronics, including cell phones and other radio components.

The new ceramic material can be molded to accommodate cell phones and other heat-dissipating electronics. Image source: Northeastern University

In July 2021, researchers are testing an experimental ceramic compound. Ceramics are prone to rupture or even explode due to thermal shock when subjected to extreme thermal changes and mechanical stress. When the ceramic was sprayed with a blowtorch, it deformed. After a few trials, the researchers realized that they could control its deformation. So they started compression molding the ceramic material and found the process to be very fast.

The underlying microstructure allows the all-ceramic to rapidly transfer heat during the molding process, enabling efficient heat flow. The ceramics can be formed into delicate geometries and exhibit excellent mechanical strength and thermal conductivity at room temperature, the researchers said. This thermoformed ceramic is a new frontier of materials.

This new product has the potential to bring two industry improvements. The first is its efficiency as a thermal conductor that can cool high-density electronics. Typically, cell phones and other electronics are fitted with a heavy layer of aluminum, which is necessary to absorb heat from the device. The new material is less than a millimeter thick and can be shaped into the desired cooling surface.

“This phononic crystal-based ceramic allows heat to flow without electron transport. It doesn’t interfere with radio frequencies in cell phones and other systems,” said Randall Erbe, an associate professor of mechanical and industrial engineering at Northeastern.

Another improvement is that it can be shape-matched directly to electrical components. The researchers demonstrated the ceramic’s non-Newtonian behavior by liquefying a clump of ceramic slurry through vibrations, reorganizing the material’s structure into a moldable ceramic.