Graphene thermal conductivity

Thermal transport in graphene is a thriving area of research, thanks to graphene's extraordinary heat conductivity properties and its potential for use in thermal management applications.

The measured thermal conductivity of graphene is in the range 3000 - 5000 W/mK at room temperature, an exceptional figure compared with the thermal conductivity of pyrolytic graphite of approximately 2000 W⋅m−1⋅K−1 at room temperature. There are, however, other researches that estimate that this number is exaggerated, and that the in-plane thermal conductivity of graphene at room temperature is about 2000–4000 W⋅m−1⋅K1 for freely suspended samples. This number is still among the highest of any known material.

Graphene is considered an excellent heat conductor, and several studies have found it to have unlimited potential for heat conduction based on the size of the sample, contradicting the law of thermal conduction (Fourier’s law) in the micrometer scale. In both computer simulations and experiments, the researchers found that the larger the segment of graphene, the more heat it could transfer. Theoretically, graphene could absorb an unlimited amount of heat.

The thermal conductivity increases logarithmically, and researchers believe that this might be due to the stable bonding pattern as well as being a 2D material. As graphene is considerably more resistant to tearing than steel and is also lightweight and flexible, its conductivity could have some attractive real-world applications.

But what exactly is thermal conductivity?

Heat conduction (or thermal conduction) is the movement of heat from one object to another, that has a different temperature, through physical contact. Heat can be transferred in three ways: conduction, convection and radiation. Heat conduction is very common and can easily be found in our everyday activities - like warming a person’s hand on a hot-water bottle, and more. Heat flows from the object with the higher temperature to the colder one.

Thermal transfer takes place at the molecular level, when heat energy is absorbed by a surface and causes microscopic collisions of particles and movement of electrons within that body. In the process, they collide with each other and transfer the energy to their “neighbor”, a process that will go on as long as heat is being added.



The process of heat conduction mainly depends on the temperature gradient (the temperature difference between the bodies), the path length and the properties of the materials involved. Not all substances are good heat conductors - metals, for example, are considered good conductors as they quickly transfer heat, but materials like wood or paper are viewed as poor conductors of heat. Materials that are poor conductors of heat are referred to as insulators.

How can graphene’s exciting thermal conduction properties be put to use?

Some of the potential applications for graphene-enabled thermal management include electronics, which could greatly benefit from graphene's ability to dissipate heat and optimize electronic function. In micro- and nano-electronics, heat is often a limiting factor for smaller and more efficient components. Therefore, graphene and similar materials with exceptional thermal conductivity may hold an enormous potential for this kind of applications.

Graphene’s heat conductivity can be used in many ways, including thermal interface materials (TIM), heat spreaders, thermal greases (thin layers usually between a heat source such as a microprocessor and a heat sink), graphene-based nanocomposites, and more.

Latest Graphene Thermal Conductivity news

Graphene-ceramic composite with impressive properties may be useful for aerospace, sensors and more

Aug 11, 2017

A collaboration work by Purdue, the Chinese Lanzhou University and Harbin Institute of Technology, and the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory has yielded a lightweight, flame-resistant and super-elastic composite shown to combine high strength with electrical conductivity and thermal insulation, suggesting potential applications from buildings to aerospace.

Graphene composite shows impressive properties image

The composite material is made of interconnected cells of graphene sandwiched between ceramic layers. The graphene scaffold, referred to as an aerogel, is chemically bonded with ceramic layers using a process called atomic layer deposition. The team explained that graphene would ordinarily degrade when exposed to high temperature, but the ceramic imparts high heat tolerance and flame-resistance, properties that might be useful as a heat shield for aircraft. The light weight, high-strength and shock-absorbing properties could make the composite a good substrate material for flexible electronic devices. Because it has high electrical conductivity and yet is an excellent thermal insulator, it might be used as a flame-retardant, thermally insulating coating, as well as sensors and devices that convert heat into electricity, said associate professor in the School of Industrial Engineering at Purdue University.

Graphene Flagship research teams prepare to test graphene's potential for aerospace applications

Jul 08, 2017

The Graphene Flagship has announced preparations for two new experiments in collaboration with the European Space Agency (ESA), to test the viability of graphene for space applications. Both experiments will launch between 6-17th November 2017, testing graphene in zero-gravity conditions to determine its potential in space applications.

Graphene Flagship aerospace experiments image

One of the two experiments (named GrapheneX) will be fully student-led, by a team of Graphene Flagship graduate students from Delft Technical University in the Netherlands. The team will use microgravity conditions in the ZARM Drop Tower (Bremen, Germany) to test graphene for light sails. By shining laser light on suspended graphene-membranes from Flagship partner Graphenea, the experiment will test how much thrust can be generated, which could lead to a new way of propelling satellites in space using light from lasers or the sun.

Graphene Handbook

Chinese company develops clothes made of unique graphene fibers

Jun 06, 2017

A Chinese company called Shanghai Kyorene New Material Technology has reportedly developed a graphene fiber, that has been used to produce clothes, sports wear and underwear products. One company that states it uses these fibers in actual commercial products is Armor Guys, a U.S-based glove maker.

Chinese graphene textile products image

The technology is said to make graphene completely integrated with high polymer materials under room temperature, and adds special function to ordinary textile products like antibacterial, ultraviolet-proof, anti-static and heat preservation effects.

Will graphene help with NASA's mission to get close to the sun?

May 30, 2017

NASA is getting set to announce its first mission to fly directly into the sun’s atmosphere during an event on Wednesday, May 31, 2017. The mission, Solar Probe Plus, is scheduled to launch in the summer of 2018.

Placed in orbit within four million miles of the sun’s surface, facing heat and radiation unlike any spacecraft in history, the vessel will explore the sun’s outer atmosphere and make observations that may answer questions that have long since plagued researchers.

China-based company completes biomass graphene production line

May 11, 2017

The China-based Shandong Longju New Materials Technology announced that it has completed the installation and commissioning of a pilot biomass graphene production line and has put it into operation.

According to the reports, the facility uses corncob waste to make few-layer biomass graphene (citing Ningbo Institute of Materials Technology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences' test results). The production line’s annual capacity is said to be five tons and is expected to increase to 300 tons.

Versarien - Think you know graphene? Think again!Versarien - Think you know graphene? Think again!