ASSIST is developing novel fiber-based systems to help direct and dissipate heat in wearable electronic systems, specifically for flexible thermoelectric generators (TEGs).
In order to maintain the temperature difference necessary to function properly, conventional TEGs rely on rigid metal heat sinks to increase the surface area available for convective cooling. These bulky, rigid devices are not suitable for use in wearable applications. Currently, there are no flexible, commercially available heatsinks with the necessary thermal conductivities for use in the thermoelectric harvesting application.
ASSIST is developing flexible materials whose thermal conductivities exceed 10W/mK through the use of highly thermally conductive fibers such as milliliter long carbon nanotubes (CNTs) as well as CNT- silver nanoparticle hybrid materials. Novel processing techniques developed in the Center allow us to transform aligned CNT arrays into stable heat sink shaped structures that are very flexile, robust, and demonstrate good thermal properties.