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Optimizing the design of nanostructures for improved thermal conduction within confined spaces

Jianlong Kou12, Huiguo Qian1, Hangjun Lu1, Yang Liu3, Yousheng Xu1, Fengmin Wu1* and Jintu Fan2*

Author Affiliations

1 College of Mathematics, Physics and Information Engineering, Zhejiang Normal University, Jinhua 321004, PR China

2 Institute of Textiles and Clothing, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Kowloon, Hong Kong, PR China

3 Department of Mechanical Engineering, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Kowloon, Hong Kong, PR China

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Nanoscale Research Letters 2011, 6:422  doi:10.1186/1556-276X-6-422

Published: 14 June 2011


Maintaining constant temperature is of particular importance to the normal operation of electronic devices. Aiming at the question, this paper proposes an optimum design of nanostructures made of high thermal conductive nanomaterials to provide outstanding heat dissipation from the confined interior (possibly nanosized) to the micro-spaces of electronic devices. The design incorporates a carbon nanocone for conducting heat from the interior to the exterior of a miniature electronic device, with the optimum diameter, D0, of the nanocone satisfying the relationship: D02(x) ∝ x1/2 where x is the position along the length direction of the carbon nanocone. Branched structure made of single-walled carbon nanotubes (CNTs) are shown to be particularly suitable for the purpose. It was found that the total thermal resistance of a branched structure reaches a minimum when the diameter ratio, β* satisfies the relationship: β* = γ-0.25bN-1/k*, where γ is ratio of length, b = 0.3 to approximately 0.4 on the single-walled CNTs, b = 0.6 to approximately 0.8 on the multiwalled CNTs, k* = 2 and N is the bifurcation number (N = 2, 3, 4 ...). The findings of this research provide a blueprint in designing miniaturized electronic devices with outstanding heat dissipation.

PACS numbers: 44.10.+i, 44.05.+e, 66.70.-f, 61.48.De