Journal of Materials Science

, Volume 54, Issue 13, pp 10041–10054 | Cite as

Size-controlled graphite nanoplatelets: thermal conductivity enhancers for epoxy resin

  • Zhonghao Xing
  • Wen Sun
  • Lida Wang
  • Zhengqing Yang
  • Suilin Wang
  • Guichang LiuEmail author


Graphite nanoplatelets (GNPs) are outstanding thermal conductive fillers due to their unique crystal structure which consists of layered graphene formed by sp2-hybridized carbon atoms, but their preparation process is time-consuming. Herein, a high-efficiency and low-cost method is developed to prepare GNPs with controlled size without destroying their crystal structure. GNPs with an average size around 20 μm are obtained by a facile nitric acid treatment within 0.5 h, and 1–5 μm GNPs are produced by controlling ultrasonic time within 6 h in cheap commercial detergent. In addition, thermal network is fabricated by combining ~ 20 μm GNPs with 1–5 μm GNPs in epoxy. The existing researches have qualitatively demonstrated that hybrid carbon fillers with obvious size differences can enhance the thermal conductivity of epoxy through size synergistic effects, but rare quantitative studies pay attention to optimize size synergistic effects. This work demonstrates that different degrees of size synergistic effects can be achieved by tuning the size of small-sized GNPs, the proportion of different sized GNPs and the content of hybrid fillers. The results show that when the hybrid filler loading is 20 wt% and the ratio of ~ 20 μm GNPs to 1.82 μm GNPs is 17:3, the composite produces the optimal size synergistic effect and thermal conductivity reaches 1.33 W/m K, increased by 739% over neat epoxy. This composite has promising application in the thermal management areas due to its high thermal conductivity and economic competitiveness.



This work was supported by the General Financial Grant from the China Postdoctoral Science Foundation (No. 2017M610177; 2018T011222); the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 21703026, 51671047); Beijing Scholars Program (No. 022); the Opening Project of Material Corrosion and Protection Key Laboratory of Sichuan Province (No. 2017CL16); and Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities (No. DUT16RC (3)106).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Chemical EngineeringDalian University of TechnologyDalianPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.Key Lab for Materials Modification by Laser, Ion and Electron Beams of Education MinistryDalian University of TechnologyDalianPeople’s Republic of China
  3. 3.Material Corrosion and Protection Key Laboratory of Sichuan ProvinceSichuan University of Science & EngineeringZigongPeople’s Republic of China
  4. 4.School of Environment and Energy EngineeringBeijing University of Civil Engineering and ArchitectureBeijingPeople’s Republic of China

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