Marketing Piece for Thermally Conductive Materials

Porticos, Inc. remains on the leading edge of the design of plastic housings for electronics applications. The housings are usually molded of a highly thermally insulative plastic such as ABS or PC. However, when the device is a heat generating application, the insulated housing can have hot spots and can cause the device internally to reach undesirable elevated temperatures. In this case, it would be advantageous to have a plastic material that is thermally conductive. The heat will be distributed to the housing and convectively cooled to the ambient air. With the ever increasing need for electronics to produce power in a smaller space, the advanced thermally conductive plastic, CoolPoly™ made by Celanese, may alleviate the heat problems.

Traditional plastics soften with temperature and can deform under load more readily with elevated temperatures. By conducting and dispersing the heat more uniformly, the thermally conductive plastics will stay cooler and maintain their shape and load capability. In addition, the need for active cooling may be obviated.

Figure 1. Example of housing designed of thermally conductive plastic

Compared to alternative material housings such as metal and ceramics, the thermally conductive plastic can be molded cost effectively, weigh less and have other added benefits associated with injection molding such as complex shape, component consolidation and high volume production. However, in production, it is important to work with an injection molder that is familiar with the material so that the molding process parameters are properly controlled to prevent molding issues; most prevalent being the proper molding temperatures.

CoolPoly™ is available with thermal conductivities in the range of 2-10 W/mK and beyond, depending on the grade. By comparison, the thermal conductivity of typical ABS and PC have a range of .15 – .25 W/mK. This magnitude increase may make a significant difference in the overall thermal management of a product design.   To the feel, the difference is dramatic. Holding a part made of this product feels cool to the touch, as the heat is taken from your hand. Furthermore CoolPoly™ is available with electrical conductivity or electrical isolation to meet a wide variety of applications. More information can be found at www.celanese.com/coolpoly.

Celanese Principal Engineer, Len Poole, remarked on the working relationship with Porticos. “While collaborating on a development project, Celanese found Porticos to be innovative and agile when facing challenges, and unafraid to use our cutting edge processes and materials to arrive at the best solution for their customer.”

According to Michelle Demers, a Project Lead at Porticos, “Celanese was very helpful in suggesting different CoolPoly compounds to balance the parameters between strength and thermal conductivity.​  Datasheets were provided, and sample materials were made available for purchase to mold product for comparison.  During the molding process, Celanese played an integral role with expertise and knowledge to adjust the process parameters for the best material flow, part fill and part formation.  I was impressed with Celanese for their overall support for our application.”

Ref. Celanese website: www.celanese.com/coolpoly