In an effort to improve polymer thermal conductivity (TC), Ultem™ 1000 was compounded with nano-fillers of carbon allotropes. As-received and modified multiwalled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs), vapor grown carbon nanofibers (CNF) and expanded graphite (EG) were investigated. Functionalization of MWCNTs was performed to improve the TC compatibility between the resin and MWCNTs. It was postulated that this may provide an improved interface between the MWCNT and the polymer which would result in enhanced TC. The nano-fillers were mixed with Ultem™ 1000 in the melt and in solution at concentrations ranging from 5 to 40 wt%. Ribbons were extruded from the blends to form samples where the nano-fillers were aligned to some degree in the extrusion direction. Samples were also fabricated by compression molding resulting in random orientation of the nano-fillers. Thermal properties of the samples were evaluated by Differential Scanning Calorimetry (DSC) and Thermal Gravimetric Analyzer (TGA). Tensile properties of aligned samples were determined at room temperature. As expected, increased filler loading led to increased modulus and decreased elongation with respect to the neat polymer. The degree of dispersion and alignment of the nanofillers was determined by high-resolution scanning electron microscopy (HRSEM). HRSEM of the ribbons revealed that the MWCNTs and CNFs were predominantly aligned in the flow direction. The TC of the samples was measured using a Nanoflash™ instrument. Since the MWCNTs and CNF are anisotropic, the TC was expected to be different in the longitudinal (parallel to the nanotube and fiber axis) and transverse (perpendicular to the nanotube and fiber axis) directions. The largest TC improvement was achieved for aligned samples when the measurement was performed in the direction of MWCNT and CNF alignment (i.e. longitudinal axis). Unaligned samples also showed a significant improvement in TC and may be potentially useful in applications when it is not possible to align the nano-filler. The results of this study will be presented.

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