Wide range continuously tunable and fast thermal switching based on compressible graphene composite foams

TT Du and ZX Xiong and L Delgado and WZ Liao and J Peoples and R Kantharaj and PR Chowdhury and A Marconnet and XL Ruan, NATURE COMMUNICATIONS, 12, 4915 (2021).

DOI: 10.1038/s41467-021-25083-8

Thermal switches have gained intense interest recently for enabling dynamic thermal management of electronic devices and batteries that need to function at dramatically varied ambient or operating conditions. However, current approaches have limitations such as the lack of continuous tunability, low switching ratio, low speed, and not being scalable. Here, a continuously tunable, wide-range, and fast thermal switching approach is proposed and demonstrated using compressible graphene composite foams. Large (similar to 8x) continuous tuning of the thermal resistance is achieved from the uncompressed to the fully compressed state. Environmental chamber experiments show that our variable thermal resistor can precisely stabilize the operating temperature of a heat generating device while the ambient temperature varies continuously by similar to 10 degrees C or the heat generation rate varies by a factor of 2.7. This thermal device is promising for dynamic control of operating temperatures in battery thermal management, space conditioning, vehicle thermal comfort, and thermal energy storage.

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