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The Role of Natural Graphite in the Thermal Management of Automotive Packaging
Keywords: Thermal , Electronics , Graphite
Flexible natural graphite materials, under the GRAFOIL® trademark, have a long history in automotive and internal combustion applications as head, exhaust and throttle body gaskets and heat shields, where their high temperature capability (~ 500°C), inertness, good sealability, light weight and excellent thermal conductivity are attractive properties. Recent advances in the material science of natural graphite have extended the use of these materials into automotive fuel cells, as bipolar flow field plates and gas diffusion layers, and also into electronic thermal management, as heat spreaders, thermal interface materials and heat sinks. This paper will introduce the new eGRAF® line of electronic thermal management materials and discuss their unique properties and value in the thermal management of automotive packaging. eGRAF® natural graphite materials are characterized by their light weight (< 2 g/cm3), high in plane thermal conductivity (up to ~ 600 W/mK), low through thickness thermal conductivity (< 5W/mK) and excellent conformability. These materials have moved from the R&D phase in 2002 into a variety of commercial applications today. In particular natural graphite heat spreaders have enabled some unique cooling solutions in plasma display panels, notebook computers and cell-phones where traditional fans, heat sinks, heat pipes and heat spreaders could not be used. Success in these consumer electronic applications, have led to their consideration in the more rigorous automotive electronics cooling applications. These include cooling of electronic control units, high power LED’s as alternatives to metal-core printed circuit boards, and hot spot mitigation in headlights. eGRAF and GRAFOIL are registered trademarks of Advanced Energy Technology Inc. All rights reserved.
Julian Norley, Director of R&D
GrafTech International
Parma, OH

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