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Development of Aluminum Alloys with Exceptional Thermal Conductivity


GKN Sinter Metals
Natural Sciences and Enigneering Research Council of Canada (NSERC)
Dr. Paul Bishop (Lead), Dalhousie University

Abstract - The global use of electronic systems in vehicles is in a state of rapid expansion. This momentum is largely underpinned by the in-flux of electric and electric-based hybrid drive systems as well as the need for increasingly complex electronics for vehicular control, sensing, lighting, and entertainment. Since heat is liberated as an unavoidable byproduct in the operation of all of these systems, thermal management is of critical concern. Frequently this is accomplished through the use and deployment of aluminum heat sinks that extract the unwanted heat and dissipate it into the surrounding environment. Such devices are generally fabricated from wrought or cast aluminum alloys that have moderate thermal conductivity (80-160 Wm-1K-1) and require extensive machining. As such, traditional heat sinks are expensive to fabricate and must be of a relatively large size (and mass) to ensure adequate heat dissipating capabilities are maintained. The objective of this research is to design aluminum powder metallurgy (PM) alloys and industrial processing strategies that yield near-net-shape products so as to eliminate machining but also exhibit thermal properties that rival those of the cast and wrought aluminum alloys traditionally employed.