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Thermal conductivity of tunable lamellar aluminum oxide/polymethyl methacrylate hybrid composites

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  09 May 2012

Ran Chen
Department of Chemistry, and Institute for Research in Materials, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, B3H 4R2
Michel B. Johnson
Institute for Research in Materials, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, B3H 4R2
Kevin P. Plucknett
Institute for Research in Materials, and Department of Process Engineering and Applied Science, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, B3H 4R2
Mary Anne White*
Departments of Chemistry, and Physics and Atmospheric Science, and Institute for Research in Materials, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, B3H 4R2
a)Address all correspondence to this author. e-mail:
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We prepared hybrid aluminum oxide (Al2O3)/polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA) composites with tunable lamellae, produced through a two-step synthetic method: fabrication of inorganic scaffolds via ice-templating, followed by organic infiltration polymerization as a substitute for the sublimed ice. The final lamellar hybrid products show anisotropic physical properties. The thermal conductivity in both principal directions was determined for three different samples as a function of temperature (∼3 K–300 K). Typical room temperature thermal conductivities are in the range of 0.5–2.5 W/(m K), depending on the composition and direction. Across the lamellae, the thermal conductivity is well modeled by a linear series of thermal resistors, and along the lamellae it is well represented by parallel thermal resistors of continuous slabs of PMMA and ∼200-μm long slabs of Al2O3, joined by PMMA. From the thermal conductivity perspective, the Al2O3/PMMA composite is a nacre mimic.

Copyright © Materials Research Society 2012

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